‘The healing medicine’: Hui Malama offering free la‘au lapa‘au workshops on Hawaii Island

  • Courtesy photo

    Participants soak in the knowledge during Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi’s 2017 la‘au lapa‘au workshop in Hilo. La‘au lapa‘au is the ancient Hawaiian practice of using herbs and plants to heal the body.

  • Courtesy photo Koali is used in the healing practices of la‘au lapa‘au.
  • Courtesy photo Mamaki is used in the healing practices of la‘au lapa‘au.
  • Po‘okela Ikaika Dombrigues of Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi has spent his life practicing la‘au lapa‘au (the healing medicine).

    Courtesy photo

Hilo will be the first stop for Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi’s 2018 series of free la‘au lapa‘au workshops for Hawaii Island.

The next Ola Pono Ola Loa (live right, long life) workshop is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale.


The Hui Malama workshops provide the opportunity to learn about the ancient Hawaiian healing practices of la‘au lapa‘au (the healing medicine), ho‘oponopono (mediation, to make things right), lomilomi ha ha (massage, spiritual healing) and la‘au kahea (faith healing, spiritual healing).

The workshops are led by Po‘okela Ikaika Dombrigues, who emphasizes the importance of helping people learn to malama (take care of) their bodies.

“People are getting sick. We need to share this knowledge and help people understand traditional healing practices so they have the choice to use it for the care of themselves and their ‘ohana,” Dombrigues said.

With high rates of diabetes, cancer and other ailments in Hawaii, Hui Malama aims to help people understand how they can care for their health. The workshops provide a connection to ancient Hawaiian healing practices, sharing rich cultural knowledge and encouraging the preservation of traditional Hawaiian health remedies.

Participants will learn about la‘au lapa‘au, the ancient Hawaiian practice of using herbs and plants to heal the body. There are more than 3,500 different types of la‘au that can be used to treat a multitude of health conditions, including: hypertension, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and stress.

Dombrigues has spent his life practicing la‘au lapa‘au and learning from his kahuna and ancestors.

“La‘au lapa‘au is a practice that’s been in the Hawaiian Islands for thousands of years,” Dombrigues said. “It has to do with natural herbs from the land, plants, animals and minerals from the ocean.

“Through the power of pule (prayer), we apply it to our bodies. It’s a very spiritual connection that falls upon the person who needs help.”

While the world changes, Dombrigues works to preserve this knowledge and share the healing wisdom with the community.

“A lot of our people live with a broken spirit,” he said. “One of our goals is to rebuild the mind, body and spirit of our people and to empower them into knowing who they are as Native Hawaiians.”

The la‘au lapa‘au workshops are part of Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi’s efforts to preserve and share traditional Hawaiian health practices. The Traditional Health Program is dedicated to sharing the knowledge of Hawaiian cultural values, beliefs, history and the practice of traditional kanaka maoli lapa‘au (Hawaiian medicine).

For more information about upcoming workshops, classes or Hui Malama, contact the Hui Malama Traditional Health team at 969-9220 or visit www.hmono.org.


Live right, long life

The following Ola Pono Ola Loa workshops on Hawaii Island are open to the public and will be offered through June. Light refreshments are provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunch. No registration is required.

• 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 7, Hawaiian Home Lands Kuhio Hale, Waimea

• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 5, Old Kona Airport Special Events Pavilion, Kailua-Kona


• 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 2, Ka‘u District Gym

• 9 a.m.-3 p.m. June 23, Pahoa Community Center