2229 Pole Line Rd., Decorah, IA 52101



Hawaiian Herbs Awapuhi # 2 of 6

This is # 2 of 6 in a series on Hawaiian Herbs. I have often used and appreciated Awapuhi Shampoo. It is interesting to note that it can be added to Kava Root to assist with back pain.

'Awapuhi—Wild ginger
(Zingiber zerumbet)
Also known as wild ginger or shampoo ginger, 'awapuhi was carried to Hawaii by the ancient Polynesian settlers. It now grows commonly in the moist, shady areas of the islands, often carpeting the floor of the rain forests. The herb’s large, cone-like bracts contain an aromatic juice that can be squeezed out and applied to the hair as a shampoo, and it is now used ­commercially for this purpose. Traditional healers pound the rhizomes to extract the juice, which they use to treat stomachaches and ulcers. Hawaiians also use the sliced rhizomes as a flavoring in cooking in the same way many of us use ­commercial ginger. When given a choice, however, Hawaiians prefer the cultivated ginger, which they call 'awapuhi-pake (Chinese ginger), to its wild cousin. They add either form of ginger to other medicines as a flavoring or to enhance another herb’s action. For example, it is added to noni juice to help disguise the bad taste, and to kava root to make it more effective in treating back pain.