by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
The plants and flowers of Hawaii are a special breed that have been born of this land or migrated here through bird, winds, or man, himself imparting on these islands a sense of magic and wonder. Each oil that has become known as “Hawaiian” has been a gift we impart with when visiting these Sacred and beautiful islands.
Coconut oil: While coconuts grow throughout Hawaii and in tropical locations around the world, the plant didn’t originate here. Instead, coconut plants were first cultivated in two separate places, which makes the coconuts found on islands in the Pacific Ocean different from those found on islands in the Indian Ocean. Because native Hawaiians had their own established food sources before the coconut palm arrived, the coconut was put to other uses than just providing food. Every part of the coconut palm was used, including the trunk, fronds, shells, husks and leaves. Toys, food containers, buttons, musical instruments, roof shingles and brooms were just a few of the things the Hawaiian people made from coconut plants. Native Hawaiians also crafted a coarse rope called “sennit” from the fibers of the coconut husk, which they used to hold their canoes together. Of course, coconut milk, coconut meat and coconut oil also became incorporated into the Hawaiian diet, and visitors can find plenty of dishes featuring the tasty nut.
Kukui nut oil: comes from the Kukui Tree. The nuts are used in leis and necklaces crafted for life’s transitions. The oil from these nuts are a natural moisturizer balanced in both oleic and linoleic fatty acids, and full of antioxidants Vitamins A, C and E. Kukui oil skin health properties are known to help skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dry and chapped skin. It has been used by the early Hawaiians for generations to help soothe and rejuvenate their skin from the effects of sun, wind and other natural elements. It is great for sunburn! Kukui nut oil makes an excellent facial moisturizer as it absorbs quickly into your skin, alleviating the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while softening and moisturizing your skin. Plus, it is highly noncomedogenic so it does not clog pores.
Macadamia nut oil: comes from the Macadamia Tree. These trees were introduced to the islands in 1862. The trees were intended to act as a windbreak for sugar cane, another foreign crop that was introduced earlier in the century. They eventually become synonyms with Hawaii. Macadamias are known for their creamy, meaty flesh. Macadamias can be roasted and eaten on their own or added to a range of food items like cookies and coffees and even pesto. The subtle, nutty flavor of this pure macadamia nut oil is delicious with fish, chicken and vegetable dishes. Excellent as a base for salad dressings. It imparts a delightful buttery flavor to baked goods and is especially good on popcorn.
Hawaiian Sandalwood (Santalum Paniculatum): is called ‘ili-ahi’ in Hawaiian and was considered a sacred, ceremonial plant used, secured and traded by Hawaiian royalty. It grows at higher elevations on the Big Island. Sandalwood is often the base oil in well-known colognes, perfumes and body care products. Exceptionally precious Hawaiian Sandalwood is best used conservatively in simple diffusion or mixed in a carrier oil. Its subtle, yet sweet, rich and woodsy aroma blends well with flowery Jasmine, Orange and similar oils to balance its heavier presence.
Plumeria (Plumeria rubra): Plumeria is a small, flowering tree native to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, though it thrives in tropical locations around the world. It is perhaps best known as the flower commonly used in lei garlands, which are used in ceremonies celebrating life and love, marriage, friendship and more. It has cultural significance in many cultures around the world, especially for Pacific Islands such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji and Samoa. In Polynesian culture, plumeria flowers indicate relationship status for women; those who wear the flower over the right ear are seeking a relationship, while those who wear it over the left are happily taken. The exotic tropics of Hawaii, where you’re greeted by smiling islanders who grace your shoulders with leis woven together with delicate, fragrant plumeria flowers. Plumeria are tropical flowers boasting bright colors and a soft, captivating aroma that seems to dance on the air, transporting your mind and spirit to the islands of Hawaii.
Hawaiian Lavender (Lavandula dentata): Though it is a mystery as to how Lavender migrated to Hawaii, it has been a beloved plant to many on the islands. It is recorded that Queen Liliuokalani had lavender in her gardens at her Washington Place home in Honolulu. Washington Place– a white mansion opposite Hawaii’s State Capitol is the governor’s residence today, but was one of the homes of Queen Liliuokalani, and is currently open to the public.
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides): The sweet nurturing scent of the gardenia flower imparts the therapeutic effects of comfort, self-confidence, trust, love, and peace. The gardenia flower is known to be the most powerful “love attracting” scent. This aphrodisiac has a rich, sweet aroma that draws you deeper and deeper into its petals. The magnificent Hawaiian Gardenia (kiele) flowers are carefully grown organically in the cool Maui upcountry mist on the slopes of Haleakalā. The oil is prepared using the traditional “enfleurage” method. This oil is very pure and powerful used reverently and with gratitude to the ‘āina that provides us with such beautiful gifts of aloha.