“In 1990,” he said, “Rarotonga had an epidemic of dengue fever. Some people came for my help and the plant medicines worked.” The medicine Pa refers to is known in Maori as Poroporo, in English as Deadly Nightshade, in Italian as Belladonna and by its scientific name Solanum Americanum.
According to Wikipedia, the plant has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic and poison. The plant is used homeopathically, meaning its toxic properties help the body fight the toxins already present. It has been used for centuries as a pain reliever, muscle relaxer, anti-inflammatory, histaminic reaction and to treat peptic ulcer disease according to Wikipedia. There is also caution, however, as the plant can cause unpleasant hallucinations and is highly toxic.
Editor’s note: Don’t try this yourself at home – if you want to try herbal remedies please talk to a taunga – as they know when the plant is safe to use and that it is the correct plant.