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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

Nowemapa/Kekemapa - November/December 1996 Volume 2 Issue 11

Nature: One of the Greatest Healers

by Linda Mae Kaholokai

LA`AU LAPA`AU

The Hawaiians had great trust in the la`au lapa`au--the healing power of plants. They believed there was a plant on this earth for any disease they might encounter. It did not make sense to them that the creator would put them here without a means to heal themselves. To be healthy they knew there must be harmony in all aspects of their being--body, mind and spirit. In addition to the medicinal plants, the Hawaiians turned to other sources for their healing, for their harmony. One of their greatest sources of healing was nature `ano. They knew healing existed in the sun, the moon, the stars, the ocean, the winds, the stones, the trees, and the flowers.

The Hawaiians often turned to the ocean -kai- for their healing. When a person was sick or weak they would go into the ocean and ask that the ocean take away their illness. They trusted that it could do that for them. Today, research shows that ninety-nine of the elements found in human blood exist in the sea water. The Hawaiians knew that. Bathing and external cleanliness were always very important to the Hawaiians. They were aware, however, that it was as important to be clean internally as it was externally. Therefore, when appropriate, they would mix the sea water with spring water and drink it to cleanse the entire gastro-intestinal tract. As in many traditional healing cultures, Hawaiians believed the root cause of most disease was in the digestive system. Sea water was a form of preventative medicine for them.

Hawaiians also looked to the sun -la- as a source for healing. Today, the sun is feared by many because of the talk of the hole in the ozone and of the harmful rays that are being emitted. To the Hawaiians the sun was a healer. Many skin diseases were healed by simply sitting in the sun. For joint problems and bone fractures, herb’s were applied to the area and the patient told to sit in the sun to heal.

The Hawaiians knew the moon -mahina- held healing power. In Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing from India, it is said that moon has cooling energy. Therefore, the moon deals with diseases of too much heat like inflammation. It is also believed to soothe fiery emotions like anger and irritability.

Hawaiians maintained balance through their connection with the stars -hoku. They knew there was a relative, an ancestor, in every star. It was merely a matter of looking up and receiving.

The winds -makani- offered messages to the Hawaiians to keep them in harmony. They paid attention to the winds and watched for a shift in the winds. They would listen for their name in the wind, and heed the message.

The stones -pohaku- held healing energy to the Hawaiians. Birthing stones are one example. The woman would lean against the stone for support and the stone would assist in alleviating the pain of childbirth.

The flowers -pua- have been a part of the celebration of life on the islands for generations. The Hawaiians have always known the healing power of flowers. Flower lei-making is one of the traditions that has lasted when many others have fallen away. We still have flower leis today because we need them. They provide us with an opportunity to express our aloha.

Hawaiians utilized specific natural areas for healing, and often marked these sports with stones. These "healing spots" were places people could go to become whole again. They may have existed because of healings that had occurred there in the past. Perhaps, it was the physical beauty of the area that was healing.

In the true Hawaiian consciousness, man and nature were one. We have the opportunity today to choose to continue that relationship. We, too, must remember that nature is one of our greatest healers.

Article design & written by:

Kai & Linda Kaholokai
Kai Malino Wellness Center
P.O. Box 833
Kapaau, Hawaii 96755
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Copyright 1996 Hale Pai Pacific American-News Journal
Last modified: February 28, 1998

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