Picking leaves as a youngster for her grandfather’s traditional bone medicine, June Baudinet was unaware at the time that she would one day use this knowledge to help remedy herself and the people of the Cook Islands.
Passionate for her love in traditional Cook Islands medicine, the 74-year-old Baudinet, who is affectionately known as Mama June, is more than a politician. She’s also a medicine mum.
She gained knowledge in making a special oil by watching her grandfather treat people who had broken bones and dislocated joints.
It was her job to collect the different leaves for this special oil she now calls the “Akari Tupuna”. Akari meaning oil and Tupuna ancestral.
Baudinet says her grandfather would treat a lot of people in Rarotonga, especially those who played sport.
She is now passing on the knowledge to her own granddaughter.
Being a sport woman herself, Baudinet recalled the traditional medicine around seven years ago, when she began to feel the pain of some old sporting injuries in her legs.
“I remembered the medicine and I applied it, it was unbelievable and it was wonderful.”
Baudinet says she has a huge belief in traditional medicine and during a health conference last year, she presented the importance of traditional medicine and how it should be used in the health care system for people of the older generation.
On a recent trip to the United States with her son, she had the opportunity to lecture to a group of faculty, staff and students at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
The topic of her lecture was the medicinal and healing properties of plants and oils from the Cook Islands.
She focused on the dynamic relationship between the Cook Islands traditional healing practices and the active properties found in many locally found plants.
“I’m passionate about the health and wellness of our people, and I believe the secret of life is found in nature,” she says.
“I was deeply honoured to share my knowledge of Cook Islands healing practices with so many future doctors and nurses overseas.”
She demonstrated the benefits and many uses of her proprietary oil blends, which she crafts herself using local ingredients from her garden.
Many staff and students bought the balms that Baudinet had taken over as samples. They offered praise of her products in subsequent reviews.
She dedicates her work to her beloved grandparents, Taringa Matenga and Ngapoko Tera Raina, who taught her the skills and knowledge in which she crafts her oils today.
Her signature oil blend, the “Akari Tupuna” or Miracle Massage Oil, touts a plethora of healing properties, both immune boosting and anti-inflammatory.
The locally sourced ingredients, including Noni, Soursop and Comfrey, to name a few, have been scientifically proven to benefit overall health.
Baudinet recommends using the oil twice daily, through massage, as well as sore muscles and joints.
“The aches and pains of daily life and aging affects us all and Akari Tupuna eases the pain away. I know because it’s worked for me and my family for years. Exercise, healthy eating habits and drinking plenty of pure water is also very important.”
Her advice to the youngsters: “Learn and take note of what our ancestors have for us, this is important.”