David and I enjoyed our time with Hawaiian Herbalist Kai Kaholokai
from the Kai Malino Wellness Center
. Kai was very informative in explaining that the Hawaiians consider their traditional medicinal plants (La'au Lapa'au) sacred because of their usage by the ancestors and gods as were told in their ancient chants (mele).
Angelica is subject to a minor asthma condition and I was concerned about the VOG affecting her. So I purchased Kai's 'Uhaloa-'Awa-Popolo Elixir for asthma, coughs, colds or flu symptoms. Fortunately, this blend was also labeled with Latin names! Waltheria indica, Piper ethysticum and Solanium nigrum respectively.
Later, when Angelica did develop a cough from the VOG (Vog is volcanic gases, mostly sulfur mixed with oxygen and moisture. Think smog only vog), David went out and purchased Uncle Kimo's Herbal VOG Tea. This tea is developed from old traditions to cleanse the body from VOG symptoms. These ingredients were: 100% Hawaiian Mamaki, Ko'oko'olau, Liko Lehua, Lau-Kahi, Ha'uoi, and 'Awa. No Latin names, no English names. I was lost! The only one I recognized was 'Awa (kava kava). Well we put our faith in the Hawaiian ancestors and brewed up pot after pot of herb tea. Angelica took it faithfully and to no ones surprise it helped!
Even later in the trip, I purchased a book from the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden called Native Hawaiian Plants and couldn't wait to look up these names to see what I had been giving to my daughter! I was happy to learn the herbs were ones I was familiar with: relatives of Nettles, Hibiscus, Vervain and common plantain.