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Harakeke gel (V0151)

The gel from the harakeke, or flax, has many uses.

In this video conference, scientist Stephen Tauwhare from Industrial Research Limited explains that gel from harakeke was traditionally used by Māori to heal wounds. More recently, the gel from harakeke leaves has been used by the cosmetics industry.

Transcript

Stephen Tauwhare (Industrial Research Limited ): There is a lot of interest from the cosmetics industry in regards to the use of pia harakeke, or harakeke gel, in cosmetics.

Wiremu: Is that like the gel you put in your hair?

Stephen Tauwhare: You could put it in your hair. I have never tried. It’s just like a jelly. It’s basically a polysaccharide, which is basically a sugar molecule. It’s just a great big long sugar molecule. Traditionally our people used it for things like wound healing, and dealing with skin rashes and that sort of thing. It does have properties in terms of looking after the health of your skin. It has been looked at for use as a cream for burns, but the main thrust of the Harakeke Project was to discover or find new knowledge about the gel. So basically all the Harakeke Project was about was characterising the gel.

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