“Experience the Magic of Ancient Medicine at This Unique Oahu Resort Workshop”

# When we think of medicine, we think of a prescription, a pill, but medicine comes in so many forms

Piʻi Lawson, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner, shares his ancestral knowledge of lā‘au lapa‘au, an ancient practice of using plants for healing purposes. Lawson, who comes from a long line of ancestral weavers and kāhuna lapaʻau, shares his practice with guests of the Four Seasons Resort Oʻahu at Koʻolina.

## Medicine is Correlated to Your Needs

Lawson explains that medicine is correlated to your needs. He emphasizes the importance of listening to your body and understanding what it needs. With a deep connection to nature, Native Hawaiians have turned to plants for centuries to help cure any ailments or for preventative purposes.

## The Power of Plants

Native Hawaiians have been using plants for centuries to help cure ailments or for preventative purposes. Kava, or ʻawa in Hawaiian, was believed to help muscles relax or with insomnia. People were given parts of the kukui plant as a laxative, and the nut was used to help heal ulcers and sores. ʻOlena, or turmeric, was used as an anti-inflammatory.

## Smudge Sticks and Sound Healing Rituals

At the Four Seasons Resort this summer, Lawson is running a weekly workshop where people create their smudge sticks from native plants they pick right on the property. He also offers another workshop, a Muhala Sound Healing Ritual.

## A Focus on Sustainability

Lawson has always enjoyed the tradition of burning sage but wanted to give the practice a sense of place in Hawaii. The mainstream popularity of white sage smudge sticks has caused overharvesting of the plant, negatively impacting the indigenous cultures deeply rooted in the practice.

## Making Your Own Smudge Stick with Lawson

Before even starting to harvest plants, protocol must be followed, including asking for permission from ancestors and spirits. For protocol, a short prayer in Hawaiian is recited that expresses gratitude before foraging for plants.

Lawson and his guests forage for plants, including pohinahina and lauaʻe ferns, recognized by the spores on its fronds. They then wrap the pohinahina cuttings into the fern fronds tightly into a bundle, placing a selenite crystal in the center before fastening the bundle closed with twine.

Guests can take the smudge stick home and wait a few weeks for it to dry out. Once the stick is ready, people can light it and cleanse their own space.

As a native person, Lawson emphasizes the importance of being mindful of other native practitioners and adapting to new things, just as our ancestors did.

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