Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Rubus spp. Tātarāmoa. Bush lawyer. Main reference.
FAMILY: Rosaceae Rose family
BOTANICAL NAME: Rubus spp. = Rubus cissoides, Rubus australis, Rubus schmidelioides, Rubus squarrosus
MĀORI NAME: TĀTARĀMOA, taramoa, akatātarāmoa; taraheke, tātaraheke, tātarāmoa-turuhunga (R. australis - Best 1908); tātaraheka (southern term - Tunuku Karetai, in Beattie MS 582/E/11, Hocken), tataraihika (Sic. Beattie 1920), tatarahika (Beattie 1994).
COMMON NAME: bush lawyer
DESCRIPTION: Taylor 1847 says taraheke is the '' leafless kind'' [= R.squarrosus ? Ed.]
MEDICINAL: Bark: Decoction taken for severe abdominal pain (purgative). If it doesn't act quickly, decoction of tawhero taken. (Brett's Guide 1883; Goldie 1905).
Bark - boiled, liquid taken as laxative (Bell 1890).
Root bark valuable as remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery (Reed and Brett's 1874).
Leaves: Infusion of the leaves taken in small doses to relieve congestion in the chest, hard cough and even sore throat. 'I have heard that a stiff dose of bush lawyer acts as a laxative' ( W. Miller 1940).
Get a quarter-billy of water. Put a handful or more of leaves and stalks in, and boil for about 15 minutes. Sometimes it is used as a tea. Bushmen are said to use the juice as a beverage. Used for a cough. A few korokio (hebe) leaves are sometimes mixed with the tātarāmoa leaves. Senna leaves may also be used. To ease the pain of stomache ache, chew and swallow some leaves. (P. Smith 1940).
Childbirth, menstruation: Vapour baths (Taylor 1870).
Decoction, with flaxroot, for dysmenorrhoea. Vapour bath after childbirth, with mangeo (Litsea calicaris) and kohutuku (Fuchsia excorticata) to promote lochial discharge (Goldie 1905; Best 1906).
Vapour bath after confinement. Tātarāmoa with mangeao and kōtukutuku (Bennett 1883).
Infusion made of flax (Phormium) root, tātarāmoa root and raupō (Typha orientalis) rhizome boiled together as a cleansing remedy to assist in removal of placenta (M. Withers 1941).

Related pharmacology in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987.
See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.
FOOD: 'There are three varieties of the bramble, the more common one is frequently found in the midst of the forest, its fruit is small, with large seeds, but it has an agreeable flavour, and might be improved by cultivation' (Taylor 1847)
Fruit small but of pleasant flavour (Kirk, in Taylor 1870)
Fruit eaten (Colenso 1869a, 1881; Best 1942)
CONSTRUCTION: Wood used ''for any purpose which requires flexibility'' (Taylor 1855)
FISHING AND HUNTING: Lampreys caught by a trap made of lawyer vines (Otago Daily Times 11/10/1899)
TRADITIONS: Tutekoropaka was chased to New Zealand and brought the okaoka (Urtica spp.), tātaraheka (Rubus spp.), and tūmatakuru (Discaria toumatou). He planted them around his hiding place to enable him to elude his pursuers. Tama, who canoed up and down the West Coast in search of his missing wives, is also blamed for introducing prickly shrubs, jaggy plants and coarse vegetation on that coast. (Hone Taare Tikao, Rāpaki chief, to Beattie. Unpub. Ms 582/I/17, Hocken Archives, Dunedin).
Story of Tama also related in Anderson 1954.