Australian bush medicines have grown in popularity over recent years. As people look towards traditional approaches, bush medicines are becoming widely used as natural and sustainable remedies for a variety of health concerns. But what do we know about the health benefits of bush medicine?
What is bush medicine?
Bush medicine has its origins in the ancient knowledge of Indigenous communities regarding the medicinal properties of plants, fruits, and animals in their local environments. This holistic approach to healing takes into account an individual’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health, providing an understanding of the healing potential afforded by bush medicine that spans thousands of years.
What is bush medicine used for?
Bush medicines have been used for generations, and are thought to have many advantages to traditional medicines, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Careful research has revealed that some bush medicines like native plants, herbs, shrubs, and grasses contain anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in treating inflammation-related conditions.
- Antibacterial activity: Studies have demonstrated that certain Australian bush medicines are capable of producing antibacterial and antiviral compounds, making them a potentially viable therapeutic option for various ailments, such as infections and colds.
- Pain relief: A number of indigenous bush medicine plants have been said to contain substances that can provide relief from ailments such as headaches and muscular aches. This is a promising indication of their possible pain-relieving properties.
- Skin healing properties: Plants such as Kakadu Plum and Eucalyptus have been traditionally used for their skin healing properties and used to treat conditions such as eczema, burns and wounds.
- Nervous system support: Lemon Myrtle is a powerful native ingredient that is believed to create a calming effect on the nervous system, while other bush medicines such as Lavender and Chamomile are used for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
- Immune system support: Kakadu Plum and Native Finger Lime have an abundance of antioxidants and other compounds that are used in traditional medicine to increase immunity.
What native ingredients are found in bush medicines?
- Eucalyptus: For centuries, eucalyptus leaves have been used to help treat cold and flu symptoms in a variety of forms, such as cough lollies, vapour rubs and essential oils. Another potential benefit is the antiseptic properties found in eucalyptus leaves, that help to promote healing from wounds such as cuts and burns.
- Tea Tree: With its powerful anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, the oil extracted from the tea tree plant is believed to be an effective and natural remedy for muscle aches, skin rashes and even dandruff.
- Kakadu Plum: Kakadu Plum, a native Australian fruit, has been identified as having a high concentration of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Its traditional usage has been to strengthen immunity and treat various skin conditions.
- Finger lime: Highly nutritious and a bit tangy to taste, the native finger lime is another fruit with high levels of Vitamin C and has been commonly used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
- Quandong: For thousands of years, the Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) has been a crucial food source for Indigenous Australians. This desert fruit has medicinal properties that can help with inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, and skin conditions.
What products can bush medicine be found in?
- Creams and lotions: Check the ingredients on your skincare, lots of skincare products such as lotions, creams and soaps are made with native ingredients that aid in the treatment of a variety of skin problems, like eczema, psoriasis, and burns.
- Teas and infusions: Bush medicines can be prepared as teas and infusions to be taken orally, as a natural and holistic way of treating various conditions. For centuries, these remedies have been used to address respiratory infections, digestive issues, mental health concerns, and more, providing a cooperative and reliable approach to better health.
- Essential oils: A lot of bush plants and fruits are used in aromatherapy treatments with essential oils to promote relaxation, and improve skin health and respiratory conditions.
- Supplements: You may come across native ingredients in supplement forms such as capsules, tablets or powers. Kakadu Plum, lemon myrtle and Davidson plum have high levels of nutrition and support your overall health and well-being. They have amazing immune-boosting properties too!
- Cosmetics: Natural cosmetics such as mineral makeup and eyeshadows are often made with native ingredients, making them an ideal option for vegans and the environmentally conscious.
Bush medicines have been a part of Indigenous cultures for generations and offer a range of natural remedies.
By understanding how to utilise these traditional remedies, we can better explore the advantages that bush medicines can provide, as well as potentially incorporate them into our contemporary healthcare practices.
Through research and learning from local growers and Elders, we can gain more insight into the healing properties of bush medicines and find alternative and comforting solutions to many health problems.