Mānoa Heritage Center

By Noe Johnson

Join us every Tuesday as we highlight the importance of native plants and how they can be used today. Don’t have a native plant in your yard or on your balcony? We’ll cover how to propagate different plants in a future post! Today we learn from longtime MHC volunteer Noe Johnson, and how she uses ‘ōlena (Hawaiian turmeric).

“I grow my own ‘ōlena. It started from a small piece I got from the garden several years ago. Right now I am using last year’s harvest to help me with pain management. My ‘ōlena is dormant at the moment. Anyway, when I feel my aches are too much, I take a piece of ‘ōlena, skin it, and cut it into smaller pieces. I simply drink it down with water as if I took an Ibuprofen, or two or three. Such an amazing herb, which does take the edge off. There are no side effects that I have experienced. I haven’t turned yellow yet, but I’ve been able to manage my pain consistently. “

‘Ōlena thriving high above Honolulu. Even apartment dwellers can enjoy native plants!

Extra tips from Noe!

Pest Control is easy on a small lanai on the 32nd floor with dish soap, distilled or filtered water and a good spray bottle or two. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is good too, but only if diluted with water.  

A nice mixture of water and dish soap in a spray bottle is helpful to keep bugs at bay with periodic applications.  The tip here is to spritz after sun exposure—in the early evening. 

A more powerful mixture of H2O2 and water can help with pest control, and:

  • treating root rot
  • treating types of fungi
  • pre-treatment of seeds or keiki prior to planting

Maybe I should treat my solutions like a science project and measure out each ingredient, but I don’t. Eyeballing is my method keeping in mind the importance of dilutions of mostly water.  

From time to time, I add store-bought fertilizers; crushed eggshells; my home-made, undrunk teas; and rice water.  I don’t discriminate on the types of products used or the timing of what is distributed when.

Noe Johnson has been an MHC volunteer since 2012. As a busy realtor, although she does not have as much time as she would like to give tours, she has been a dedicated donor event volunteer and our parties are a success because of her! 

Harvested and cleaned ʻōlena roots.

Recipe compliments of the students at MoʻO School.

Hot and Spicy Horseradish Plague Blend

To be taken for immune support

  • 1 cup peeled and cubed fresh horseradish root
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons ʻŌlena root, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon bark
  • Crushed peppercorns
  • Honey (to taste)

Blend all ingredients except honey together in a food processor. Add honey to taste.

(Can be used as a condiment)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *