Common name: Shampoo Ginger, Bitter Ginger
Scientific name: Zingiber zerumbet
Where to Find: Rainy mid-elevation environments
Status: Canoe Plant (Polynesian Introduction)
Also known as “bitter ginger”, this plant has been used for centuries as a shampoo and conditioner. The red bulbous flowers are filled with a sudsy liquid that works well as an all natural soap. Although this is its most well known use, ʻawapuhi also has a wide range of medicinal uses. The leaves can be used as a compress to help with bruising and cuts, and mashed ʻawapuhi roots can treat headaches and toothaches. Additionally, the rhizome (root) is edible, and the leaves can be used to flavor meat when cooking in an imu (underground oven).