Photo: Tim Parkinson
Many of New Zealand’s native plants have unique properties and harakeke is well known for its healing traits. Growing up we had many harakeke plants growing along side a spring fed creek below our property and we would often use the gel produced at the base of the leaves for burns and cuts. The medicinal properties of harakeke were well known to early Māori and I like the idea of using ingredients sourced from our natural environment in a sustainable way.
Over the last few days I have been discovering the different modern day uses of harakeke and have been surprised at the number of companies using harakeke in their products, with many referring to it as the New Zealand Aloe Vera gel. The gel found at the base of the leaves is used in many skincare products, such as those produced by a New Zealand company called Living Nature which I have always been a huge fan of, as they were one of the world’s first companies to produce skincare without the use of synthetic preservatives or parabens, and they are very passionate about New Zealand’s environment!
Many products claim to contain “naturally derived” extracts, but when you look into their ingredients lists the number of chemicals listed can be ridiculous! Living Nature is unique in that it is one of few manufacturers to use 100 percent natural ingredients. Their skincare and cosmetic products are inspired by the incredible healing properties of New Zealand’s native plants and one of their key natural ingredients is harakeke, calling it nature’s super hydrator.
Living Nature grow harakeke on their property in Keri Keri and remove the clear gel produced on the surface of leaves at the base of the mature (grandfather) leaves, ensuring the sustainability of the plant. The gel has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is known for being soothing, cooling, healing and for maintaining skin hydration. It makes a fantastic natural alternative to petrochemically derived synthetic gels.
So there you go, harakeke is one of natures best beauty secrets!