HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Health care reform ultimately seeks to give our communities true options for getting and staying healthy. Amy Kalili introduces a traditional Hawaiian health practitioner who shows us some plants right in our back yards that can help keep us healthy.
"Laukahi is basically what people consider a weed. If you see it, you will be walking on it," said Ethel Mau Practitioner.
You'll find laukahi growing in cracks in the road and sidewalks in wet areas. "There's a female, which is longer. It looks like a leaf. Then you have a male, which is more round," said Ethel.
This plant has many medicinal uses. "It's an excellent poultice. Whenever you have any wounds, any cuts, any scrapes. It will actually kill the bacteria and that's what you want, and that's why laukahi is always best," said Ethel.
Laukahi can also be used in liquid form. "For high blood pressure you make a tea that will also work," said Ethel.
In addition to the laukahi, you'll need water, a blender, cheesecloth, a flour sifter, and a large bowl. "So basically, I will cut up the leaves into the blender. Cover it with water. And then blend it. Strain it and then you have pure koko, which is the juice," said Ethel.
It is best to drink it immediately but it will keep for a short while in the refrigerator. "It will only last for three days, which means it will keep it's medicinal properties for three days," said Ethel.
Aunty Ethel has been working with La'au Lapa'au for 13 years and shares this knowledge with U.H. Manoa students.
"I always tell people, my students especially, if you go down to the beach always look at what la?au is around you. The only reason is that if anybody gets hurt, you know where to go and look," said Ethel.
While there are valuable plants all around us, it is always important to get guidance from experts like Aunty Ethel. Mahalo nui Aunty!
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