Horopito 'The Pepper Tree' - What It Is And How To Use It


What Is Horopito?

You’ve probably been prompted to give this plant a taste at some point in time, the result being a fiery mouthful! Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) has an amazing pepper like taste to its leaves which gives it its common name, the pepper tree. This plant, which is a New Zealand native and one we wild harvest, has beautiful green leaves that are easily identified by the red, rusty coloured spots that cover their surface.


What Is Horopito Good For?

To get all technical horopito has an abundance of volatile oils such as eugenol, polygodial, and tannins, which are astringent. This just means that they are drying, making them extremely helpful for upset digestion and inflammation.

It also means that they can act as a form of pain relief. Horopito helps encourage circulation, so it is extremely helpful in cooler months (or even in some Dunedin summers). It is great for people that are prone to chilblains, poor circulation or varicose veins. 

Another function of this amazing plant is helping support the respiratory system – it can help with coughs and colds by working as an expectorant – bringing up mucus if need be.

How We Use It

We are so lucky to be able to use this powerhouse of a plant in our formulas. We use the horopito leaves in our Anti-Flam Tonic and Fire Cider to help support circulation and reduce inflammation within the body. Our Anti-Flam is a great soother for upset stomachs. The combination of turmeric and horopito helps to settle and reduce inflammation within the digestive tract. 


Traditional Uses Of Horopito

Horopito has been used traditionally by Māori to help with oral health and as a painkiller. If you are looking for a more natural remedy for your oral health, you can use our Fire Cider as a mouth gargle if you have sore teeth or gums!


Horopito was even used topically to help with pain reduction in the form of a poultice. The leaves would be bruised or chewed then applied to wounds or joints to help with the inflammation and pain.

You may have heard of some people use cayenne or ‘hot’ muscle rubs. Horopito works in much the same way. It’s just our New Zealand native version, which makes it even more special!

Have you tried horopito before, let us know? Next time you find some give it a taste!



  • Posted on by George
    Just viewed " Country Calendar" on Horopito so quite intrigued with it.
  • Posted on by Jane Longden
    Well, today while having a lovely walk through some beautiful native Bush, someone said, try this it’s so yummy!! Well, the tip of my tongue was in fire, that stuff is hot, hot hot!!!!

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