Awapuhi: The Incredible, Edible Plant

Awapuhi: The incredible, edible and everything else plant

The beauty and pungent fragrance of Awapuhi or ginger plant is one that is not easily forgotten. The ginger flower comes in all shape, sizes and colors. From the white delicate petals of the white ginger (‘awapuhi ke’oke’o) whose sweet-smelling aroma can be breathed in from your neighbors patch down the street to the less aromatic pink-coned ‘awapuhi kuahiwi (wild shampoo ginger), the ‘awapuhi is as varied as Hawai’i’s landscapes.

Awapuhi or Ginger plants, though associated with tropical locations, actually originated in India. This prolific plant migrated eastward throughout Polynesia and was brought to Hawai’i by our earliest settlers. Known as one of the original “canoe plants,” every single part of this plant was used in ancient Hawai’i.

The leaves and stalks which are also fragrant, were used in the imu (underground baking oven), to enhance the flavor of the meal being cooked. Early Hawaiians sliced and dried the ginger roots which were pounded into powder form and added into the folds of stored kapa cloth. Cooked and softened ‘awapuhi root was used to help with cavities and tooth aches.

Fresh ginger root was also pounded and used as a medicine for motion sickness (we still use this method today in a ginger-chew form). The ‘awapuhi pake root was ground and strained and mixed with water or drunk as a tea to help with indigestion.

Now, ginger is used in soups, stir fry, desserts, health drinks and anything else you want to add it in!

Of course the most popular use for ‘awapuhi today is as a shampoo. Sometimes while driving through the tropical rainforest areas of Maui you might spy a pale pink bulb of ginger growing wild on the side of the road. It’s not the prettiest of flowers but the thick, slightly sudsy sap is an excellent shampoo and helps to bring out the shine of your hair. Warning: ‘awapuhi is said to be one of the many kinolau (shapes)of the Polynesian God Kane (so no trespassing!).

Lucky for you we have ‘awapuhi in almost all of our products. We make our own White Ginger shampoo, cologne, oil and body wash. Our base lotion’s ingredients also contains a fair amount of ginger too. So indulge yourself in the essence of ‘awapuhi in any luxury product we offer.  Go ahead – you are SO worth it!

A hui hou!

Anty Kalei