- Honohono or Wandering Jew has properties that are good for injured eyes.
- The youngest, inner leaf of a ti leaf plant is sterile and can be used as an emergency bandage. It looks like a stick pointing up in the center of a ti leaf plant.
- Banana sap from a trunk or a cut leaf has antibiotic properties for cuts (but is not to be used for cuts that are older than a couple of hours because of the way in which it treats infection).
- Even hibiscus buds have medicinal properties for first aid. The crushed bud is useful for cuts/injuries.
- Noni leaf, when used properly, can reduce pain. I even tried a leaf on my husband's shoulder and he noticed a difference the next day. Noni looks like a misshapen bumpy fruit, nature's answer to the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But as strange as it looks, it has amazing healing properties.
These are a few things I learned from a class last month with David Bruce Leonard at Hale Akua Garden Farm.
By the way, this information is not meant as medical advice - but as information on Hawaiian cultural uses of medicinal plants. The Hawaiian term for medicine, including plant medicine, is la'au lāpa'au . See a licensed health care provider for medical treatment. (Yes, this is a legal disclaimer!)
Here's a video from the first class about using turmeric for first aid. There are several more on youtube, just click here for a video list of Hawaiian Plants for First Aid.
The next plant medicine class with the Earth Medicine Institute is tomorrow, Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm. I won't be at this class, but it should be fascinating.
David is something of a plant whisperer. Most of the plant whisperers I know are associated with the community garden or Maui Farmers Union. They are green-thumbed plant whisperers who make plants happy. David is more of a wild plant whisperer, knowing about scruffy or renegade plants that don't grow in neat rows or obey gardening rules.
David is offering two more day long classes after tomorrow:
In the fall, there is an intensive certification program with the Earth Medicine Institute, taking place over four weekends in September and October.