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Hawaiian Healing Practices

Hawaiian Healing Practices

Most of the Native Hawaiians suffer from health-related problems that are associated with Westernization. Hawaiian healing practices are incorporated into health promotional activities and traditional medicine practices on the islands. The majority of these healing practices incorporate put into consideration the fact that the body, mind, and spirit are one. One of these healing practices is La’aulapa’au.

La’aulapa’au is a healing practice that is carried out by experts called kahunas. Kahunas pass the practice from generation to generation. Based on the herb’s healing properties and the patient’s needs, the kahunas gather, prepare, and administer the herbs. It involves the use of animals, plants, and mineral products for healing. It has been found that most of the plants on the islands of Hawaii can heal. Since the beginning of the practice, over 300 different plants have been used. However, several of these plants have been eliminated from the islands due to urban sprawl, deforestation, and expansion on the islands. As a result, only 30 different species of plants are available for use (La et al., 2019). The stems, barks, seeds, roots, leaves, and flowers are used as juice, extract, tea, or coconut leaves, referred to as nui fonds. After the herbs have been gathered, spiritual healing is incorporated through prayer.

Some of the plants used for healing are acceptable, even in Western medicine. The commonly known herbs include olena, noni, mai’a ko, kalo, awa, awapuhi, and aloe vera. Aloe vera is used for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and burns. The root of awapuhi is used to treat stomachache, toothache, headache, bruises, and sprains (Hilgenkamp & Pescaia, 2003). The less commonly used plants, such as mamaki, which has antiviral properties, are also applicable in Western medicine.

Overall, La’aulapa’au is an effective Hawaiian healing practice that can solve most of the health problems Hawaiians face. It is done by experts known as kahunas, who gather, prepare, and administer herbs to patients based on their needs. The practice also incorporates spiritual healing since there are usually prayers after collecting the herbs. When some of the herbs used in La’aulapa’au are used in Western medicine, the health outcomes of patients are likely to be improved.


Hilgenkamp, K., & Pescaia, C. (2003). Traditional Hawaiian Healing and Western Influence. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 1(SI), 34–39.

La, M., Mph, K. K. W., Lee, W. K., & Kamaka, M. (2019). Mala La’au Lapa’au – John A. Burn School of Medicine’s Hawaiian Healing Garden Medical School Hotline Hawaiian Healing Garden. May 2018.


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Hawaiian Healing Practices

Hawaiian Healing Practices

Hawaiian Healing Practices

Alternative Therapies in Nursing

Hawaiian healing practices are briefly addressed in Chapter 24.

Look for information in print or on the web, identify the source by providing a URL or APA reference, and provide an overview/explanation of one of the following Hawaiian healing traditions: Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona and Ho’ponopono, or Ho’olomilomi, or La’aulapa’au (Several students may choose this question to address different areas of interest).

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