Māori Plant Use

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Plant Use Details 

Acaena anserinifolia. Piripiri. Hutiwai. Bidibid.
FAMILY: Rosaceae Rose family
BOTANICAL NAME: Acaena anserinifolia
MĀORI NAME: PIRIPIRI, HUTIWAI, pirikahu, piriwhetau, huruhuru-o-hine-nui-te-pō, kaiā, kaikaiārure, kaiārurerure, kaikaiā.
COMMON NAME: beta-beta (Lindsay 1868); bidi-bid; cockle button; New Zealand burr; piripiri
MEDICINAL: Leaves - infusion, tea, used by natives and settlers here and in Australia (Kirk, in Taylor 1870).
Infusion used for kidneys, diuretic (O'Carroll 1884).
Leaves - infusion, applied to open wounds, rubbed on contusions. Lotion applied to external genitals (women?) for painful urination (Best 1906).
Used medicinally by South Island Māori (Hooker, in Goldie 1905).
Piriwhetau. Put some leaves and stalks into a billy. Cover with water. For children, boil until the liquid is the colour of weak tea. For adults, boil until the liquid is the colour of strong tea. Used for bladder trouble. Children take a teaspoonful, adults a dessertspoonful twice a day. This medicine is 'well recommended'. (P. Smith 1940).
Acaena sp, is [packed ?] as Hutuwai and is listed as a cure for a wide range of complaints. It seems to be an infusion in chloroform water which contains chloroform in sufficient strength to preserve it (Given 1940)
The leaves, boiled or steeped in hot water, are applied to open wounds or rubbed on contusions. A decoction is used as a tonic, for bladder and stomach complaints and internally for rheumatism. This is highly thought of as a remedy and seems to be the main ingredient of a proprietary medicine which is advertised as curing a great number of complaints. We have no conclusive evidence as to the value of these treatments. (Letter from Director, Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to the Director-General of Health, in response to a query on the medicinal action of Acaena sanguisorbae, and its use by Māori. Botany Division files 22/15/-)
Leaves - boiled, allowed to stand. Liquid drunk cold. Well known tonic and remedy for rheumatism, kidney troubles. Sometimes taken for venereal disease (Adams 1945).
Decoction used for 'hakihaki', the itch (Faulkner 1958).
Infusion of whole plant used for gallstones (MacDonald 1973).
Related pharmacology in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987. See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.
FOOD: Leaves - infusion, tea, used by natives and settlers here and in Australia (Kirk, in Taylor 1870).
Used to feed young babies when mothers could not suckle them (A. Girven 1961, quoted in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper 1987)
Pākehā used piripiri for tea in seasons of scarcity (Karetai to Beattie, MS 582/E/11, Hocken)