photo credit, Hawaii Magazine

We have a lilikoi vine at Hale O Kauka. It’s delightful. I’m sharing here some health benefits for the lilikoi or passion fruit as it’s also known and some ways we incorporate it into our daily diet here on Maui.

High in fiber and low glicemic it is good for diabetics. Its high in vitamin C, beta-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene – all are anti- oxidants that also boost immunity. It has iron which increases haemoglobin in our red blood cells and it’s rich in riboflavin (Vitamin B6) and niacin (Vitamin B3) which are both thyroid regulating.

It also prevents hardening of the arterial walls of the heart (atherosclerosis), keeping our heart flowing.

It is also rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron phosphorous, potassium and sodium. These minerals maintain bone density prevent osteoporosis and relieve anxiety and mild insomnia.

Good for skin, immunity, blood oxygenation, bone and cardiovascular health – this delicious fruit is a welcome addition to our fresh brewed iced tea. We squeeze the fresh juice into our morning cup and trust that the plant medicine is at work within us throughout the day. It can also be used as a jam, to flavor butter and as a welcome tropical flavor on a myriad of other dishes.

The Roosters of Hale O Kauka

red and black rooster on green grass
Photo by Erik Karits on Pexels.com

Ferral chickens aren’t just a thing at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden, they are quit common place on Maui. I recently saw some roosting on the cart return at Target in town and in the evenings you will find many fly up high into the Banyan tree in Lahaina at dusk to roost, just about everywhere you go on island – you will find chickens.

Roosters are a reminder of ones uniqueness, ability to rise up and they are the totem of those who never give up. When a chicken shows up in your life, it is asking you to take the time for some internal evaluation. In other words, the Chicken meaning reminds you that you must scratch the surface of your emotions to see what lies underneath. As a place of meditation and healing, we feel very blessed that the wild and free chickens here on Maui feel very at home in our garden.

We should each ask ourself if we are responding to the circumstances around us from our heart. Or, on the other hand, is our head ruling and allowing things to overwhelm us with fear (chicken’s are associated with being afraid). Whenever we find ourself in this place, Chicken symbolism prompts us to take a step back.

Most of all, we love our chickens because this spirit animal inspires us to make sure that we are grounded. If you observe a chicken (as we do often) you will notice how focused they are on the earth, scratching and pecking around for a bug to snack on. They are very grounding to have in our space.

Funny thing here on Maui, the ferral cats are afraid of the chickens. The chickens are very confident here.

We currently have about four roosters on our property. The old white one, Featherbomb is his name. Two multi colored Roosters, Fancy Pants and his brother, Runner (up) and the newest addition to our micro farm, an all black rooster we call, Mysterious Character. Each of these gentlemen chase around the hens and father various clutches of chicks – their coloring when born is telling of their sire.

Roosters perform a call and response in the early morning hours that we can now identify to each rooster as his own unique call. The responses then come from neighboring farms – with similar sounding calls coming back. We believe these roosters are keeping in touch with their kin on other surrounding area farms in this way. Each family with the same sounding call – responds to let the others know they are still around. Fancy Pants and his brother have a similar call. It is different than Featherbomb or Mysterious Character’s call – they are not brothers. The early morning calls of a rooster (and they don’t reserve this just for morning and they certainly don’t wait for the sun to rise) can be quit ethereal, like calls of a banshee. Sometimes when I am awakened in the night, I have to remind myself what I’m hearing, nothing to be concerned about – just a Rooster, doing his thing.

At Hale O Kauka we have taken in several chicks who hatched with no mother hen around to look after them, keep them warm and show them the ways of a chicken. We built a coup to house these little hens who are now mid-sized poulets and nearly ready to lay eggs. We’ve also added a young hen to the coup who became injured and was in danger of being attacked by other wild chickens on our property – they tend to weed out the weakest in a survival of the fittest demonstration that is not for the faint of heart.

Outside the coup, we frequently are delighted to see a new clutch of free and wild baby chicks peeping behind their mother. We count them and sometimes we name them. Many will not survive in the ferral conditions here but some do and we witness their growth and observe their nature. They have a lot to teach us and they help prepare the land for growing and bring good energy to our space. One of the mother hens, whom our caretaker has been calling Penguin Baby Mamma, because all of her babies are colored like penguins – follows our caretaker around closely all day. She knows that when he is pulling out tree roots or leveling the land to build a gate or a walk path – he will un-earth some tasty centipides, cockroaches, ants or other similarly delicious treats. I think she likes how he scratches in the earth just like her and she really likes the stones and logs he is able to move about uncovering a smorgasborg of her favorite morsels. They have a simbiotic relationship he feeds her as a by product of his work and she takes care of the creepy crawlies that he is not so fond of.

Some guests are bothered by these clucking locals and have complained about the rooster calls – we observe those complaints too. It is interesting to see whose feathers get ruffled in this dance of life we have going on here at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden. The guests come and go, but the roosters and their families are here to stay.

Pitanga Fruit Super Food

We have a small Pitanga Fruit (Surinam Cherry) tree here at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden. This fruit is a low glycemic and low calarie super food. It is similar to a raspberry but a bit more perfumy in flavor although Doug swears it’s reminicent of a bell pepper with less crunch. It has many health benefits and is super cute in a fruit salad.

This fruit is called a “fountain of youth” in Brazil because of its high anti-oxidant content. It’s rumored to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-protazoa and anti-paracytic. It also contains iron, licopene, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, B2, melatonin, magnesium, potasium, vitamin A, camphoral, quercetin and many phenol compounds.

Tea made from the leaves are said to be especially anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. The berry and its leaves are good for the skin, arteries, eyes, immune system and as a support for detox as a natural diuretic. Studies have shown it to be good for maintaining healthy blood pressure as an antihypertensive. The berries and bark have anti astringent properties that if taken regularly are believed to help with gastrointestinal upsets.

If you are visiting us on Maui you can take some leaves to rub on your skin as a natural bug repellent during your stay and request a cup of tea to try. We love this plant and it’s fruit for all of its beauty, health benefits, practical applications and tasty fruit.

Ackee Fruit

We have a rare ackee fruit tree at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden. It is an evergreen tree with an exotic and beautiful fruit. Native to West Africa it is now common in Jamaica and we have one here on Maui. I’m not sure how prevelent it is in the Hawaiian Islands but most of the locals here I find are unfamiliar with it but not all.

The ackee is golden and shaped like a pear when it first forms. It is poisonous at this stage. Once it ripens further it turns a beautiful rose red and splits open revealing three sections each with a dark round seed attached. The seeds are poisonous. But the meat of the fruit inside and attached to the seed is very much edible.

In Jamaica it is frequently prepared as a side dish to accompany fish.

The Ackee fruit is high in fiber, it is a polysaccharide complex carbohydrate which helps regulate blood sugar in the body. We believe the early doctors of Hale O Kauka Healing Garden planted it for use as a medicine to aid those with type 2 diabetes. This fruit also is a protein, similar to nut meat. It contains high levels of C and Zinc as well as folic acid, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphates and other minerals.

Eating this fruit could help improve, digestions, blood sugar levels, improve immunity, increase iron levels in the intestines preventing anemia and help build healthy bones and muscles.

Here is a video of Ackee being prepared by a Jamaican mamma.

Hawaiian Ulu or Breadfruit

We are learning so much about breadfruit here at Hale O Kauka Healing Garden. I’m always interested first to learn why each tree may have been planted in the garden here at the Doctor’s House. Some have medicinal properties and others are just really good for you. Breadfruit is an iconic Hawaiin food.

Like many of the foods in our garden breadfruit is an excellent source of potassium and antioxidants which are good for heart health. The breadfruit has phytochemicals that protect agains heart atherosclerosis and it’s linked to lowering cholesterol levels.

Breadfruit can be cooked whehttps://youtu.be/cgr3eF_-TKcn its picked green and not ripe, when its just fallen off the tree ripe or even when its so ripe it’s squishy.

Unripe preparation, peel and boil – prepare like a potato. My favorite preparation is boiled, then stir fried with grilled onion, salt and coconut milk. Cooked breadfruit can be frozen and used later. I’ve also quartered it, boiled it and poured room temperature coconum milk over, then served and with a bit of sea salt.

Ripe breadfruit can be eaten raw, with siracha or just salt to taste. Or baked like a squash with brown sugar or maple syrup.

Squishy breadfruit smashed up with bananas and cooked in a muffin pan with agave syrup on top makes a delicious and healthy dessert.