Pseudowintera axillaris. Horopito. Lowland pepper tree.
Drimys axillaris, Wintera axillaris
NB - could be referring to related species P. colorata. See note.
"aromatic and stimulant" Taylor 1870
Occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoea (Kirk 1889).
Excellent astringent and stimulating properties; anti-scorbutic (Faulkner 1958).
Leaves - infusion for chest ailments. A tablespoon is difficult to swallow, leaves burning sensation in throat and chest (Collier 1959).
For related pharmacology, see Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987.
Essential oils ; 29 compounds isolated that correspond with those found in P. colorata ( Briggs et al, 1975).
Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987 state that a decoction of the leaves strongly desensitises humans to sweet and possibly bitter taste sensations without affecting sensitivity to salty and sour properties.
The name 'horopito' refers to both P.axillaris and the closely related P. colorata. The medicinal notes probably refer to both species. Horopito is perhaps more commonly used these days for P. colorata - which has blotchy coloured leaves, is more peppery and is more easily recognised. Both species hybridise.