Common Names: Horopito, New Zealand pepper tree, pepperwood, red horopito; ramarama; Maori painkiller
Horopito is a New Zealand endemic genus of evergreen shrubs and small trees comprising four species: Pseudowintera axillaris, P.colorata, P traversii, and P insperata.
(2) Horopito leaves have a sharp and distinctive strong peppery taste, hence the common name New Zealand pepper tree.
A main biologically active constituent of Horopito characterised to date, is the bicyclic sesquiterpene dialdehyde, polygodial, found in P colorata.
Apart from polygodial, other sesquiterpene compounds including those found in P axillaris, tannins and essential oil components such as eugenol, probably contribute to Horopito's therapeutic activities.
The indigenous Maori population and early European settlers to New Zealand used Horopito both internally and topically for a range of medicinal purposes.
More recently, herbal medicine practitioners in New Zealand and Australia have used Horopito for digestive and skin conditions.
Horopito was a popular Maori remedy used for ringworm and oral thrush, and antifungal activity against the yeast Candida albicans has been reported for a Horopito extract.
* Forest Herbs Research Ltd: FHRL manages the world's only farm, situated in pristine NZ rainforest, producing certified organic Active Horopito
, (Pseudowintera colorata), an antifungal and antiyeast herb that is unique to New Zealand.