Pseudowintera colorata is a species of woody evergreen flowering trees and shrubs, part of family Winteraceae. The species is endemic to New Zealand. All Winteraceae are magnoliids, associated with the humid Antarctic flora of the southern hemisphere.
Used to treat the skin, bruises and diarrhea.
Pseudowintera colorata has long been used by the indigenous Maori population of New Zealand both internally and externally for many purposes. As far back as 1848, Pseudowintera colorata is documented in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm, or for venereal diseases. “The leaves and tender branches of this shrub are bruised and steeped in water, and the lotion used for ringworm; or the bruised leaves are used as a poultice for chaffing of the skin, or to heal wounds, bruises or cuts”. Infection due to Candida albicans (Maori – Haha, Haka) is documented as once being a major cause of death of Maori babies, due to their being fed an “unsatisfactory diet.”The juice of Pseudowintera colorata leaves were placed straight in the mouth, or alternatively leaves of Pseudowintera colorata were steeped in water to extract the juice and this decoction was in an effort to treat what we now understand as candidiasis (oral thrush).
Early European settlers to New Zealand also used horopito for medicinal purposes. For internal use, leaves were either chewed or prepared as a tea. “The leaves and bark are aromatic and pungent; the former are occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoeic complaints.” A decoction of the leaves was taken for stomach ache and was known as “Maori Painkiller” and “Bushman’s Painkiller.” There are accounts of the bark being used in the 19th century as a substitute for quinine: “The stimulating tonic and astringent properties of which are little inferior to winter’s bark.” A French nun, Mother Aubert, went to live among the Maori at the end of the 19th century, and the native plant remedies she later created became commercially available and widely used throughout the colony of New Zealand. Horopito was one of the two ingredients in her patent medicine, Karana. In a letter to the French Consul dated 2 December 1890, she described it as “superior to Quinquina [quinine] in the treatment of chronic stomach sickness. It has been very useful to me in cases of anaemia of debility, of continuous diarrhoea etc,., etc and in recovery from temperatures”
Although there is no evidence of teratogenicity, as a precaution P. colorata is not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. P. colorata works rapidly against Candida albicans in the digestive tract. For this reason a Herxheimer reaction (to dead Candida cells) is sometimes experienced in the first few days of therapy by those with Candida overgrowth.
None are recorded.