Australian Native Plant Medicine

Australian flora is full of medicinal plants and the weeds that we find annoying can actually contain astonishing medicinal properties. Things like nut grass and farmers friends
The Australian Aborigines have been cultivating this knowledge for 40,000 years and are of course no strangers to these bush medicines.
Alas today only a handful of people remain who have the extensive knowledge of Aboriginal herbal medicine and while the men know all the plants, it is the women who know the details of their respective uses.
I wouldn’t advise anyone to try these at home as the complexities of dosage and application is best left to the experts. This information is here to make people aware of the incredible diversity of medicine growing around us and the importance of preserving remaining tracts of original native habitat for future generations.
These plants are for human beings as a gift from nature, not to be exploited by genetic pirates and so hence we all have to be aware that the humble gum tree growing in our backyard may have some secrets that can benefit all humanity. Here are a few common Australian plants you might recognise:

Melaleuca quinquenervia
Paperbark
Family Myrtaceae
Young leaves are bruised in water and the liquid drunk for the relief of headaches, colds and during general sickness.
The volatile leaf oil, obtained by steam distillation has been used for coughs and colds and externally for neuralgia and rheumatism, also as an expectorant during colds. Oil of niaouli formerly used as a vermifuge.

Cyathea australis
Rough Tree Fern
Family Cyatheaceae

The Aborigines at the roasted stalks of young leaves as a tonic after any kind of disease.

Hibiscus tiliaceus
Yellow Hibiscus, Cotton tree, talwalpin, maband
Family Malvaceae

The inner bark and sapwood are heated in seawater or freshwater and the infusion used as an antiseptic for pouring into wounds. The wound is then strapped with the bark of the same plant.

Araucaria cunninghamii
Hoop Pine, coorong, cumburtu coonam
Family Araucariaceae

The resin has been used in the treatment of kidney complaints and in stricture causing urine retention: a solution of the resin in alcohol is prepared and twenty to thirty drops are given in a single dose in some water. Three to four doses are said to be sufficient for a cure.

Casuarina equisetifolia
She Oak, Beachoak, dalgan, wunna-wuuarumpa, muwarraga
Family Casuarinaceae

Bark is an excellent astringent and is useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery. On Groote Eylandt it is used as a mouthwash prepared from young twigs by soaking in fresh or salt water.
Also said to be used in China (where it is not native) as an astringent.

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