Traditional polynesian medicine
The polynesian priests used two types of treatment against disease:
_ The ra’au tahiti : a kind of concotion composed of various plant ingredients like, hibiscus flowers, extracts from banyan trees or other flowering plants. The concoction was bashed in a mortar and pestle and liquefied with spring water or coconut water made it easier to ingest.
_ The taurumi : a vegetable based massage oil was used for external applications.
There are 4 forms of ra’au tahiti : the potion, the syrup (a sweet potion), the purgative and the enema.
Administered orally or by topical application, the traditional polynesian medicine seems to have real curative proprieties however no serious scientific study been noted to validate this.
In 1797, when the missionaries arrived in french Polynesia, healer priests were denounced as shamans and sorcerers and the traditional medicine nearly disappeared completely. Luckily, some resolute tahu’a perpetuated this tradition medicinal in spite of the prohibition that was implemented at the time.
Today, every polynesian family uses a recipe of ra’au passed on from generation to generation. If you take a stroll around the Papeete Market, you will may still find and purchase these ancestral treatments… no prescription required !!