The ancient Indigenous use of Native Australian Botanicals and
What is Bush Medicine?
Bush medicine refers to ancient and traditional Aboriginal use of native Australian botanicals for the use of physical & spiritual healing, that has been in practice for thousands of years.
History of Bush Medicine in Indigenous Australian Culture
Native plants have been used by Aboriginal people for generations. As one of the oldest people groups in the world, the ancient use of native botanicals for the use of “bush medicine” is a topic worth exploring.
The history of Aboriginal bush medicine is of great importance to understanding and appreciating ancient indigenous culture.
Aboginal culture traditionally uses Bush Medicine as part of a holistic approach to healing and wellness. It’s important to acknowledge as one important pillar of ancient tradition that ties Indigenous culture to the land.For us, we are First Nation people having a go at walking in two worlds to share our traditional knowledge and heal people, not just physically but through relationships.
Bush Medicine and the use of traditional Native Australian Botanicals has inspired the Bush Medijina product range. And the range empowers our people by honouring ancient traditions and sharing this and its beauty with the world.
We harvest bush produce on country, as taught to us by our mothers, aunties and grandmothers. Our Bush Medijina products are carefully handcrafted using traditional methods combined with modern techniques to create our own take on our elders’ bush recipes.
Our traditional knowledge comes from our connection to our land, native botanicals, our ancestors, and our stories. We have been using our bush knowledge and medicines to heal ourselves for generations. We want to lift our indigenous people and others up so that we can be stronger and healthier together.
See below some of the notable native botanicals and their traditional Bush Medicine use.
Dumburumba is one of our most prized native botanicals and features heavily in our Bush Medijina collections. Dumburumba trees are found in the bush and by the beach and the leaves have been traditionally used by our elders for centuries to soothe the skin.
MAMARRA (SMALL LEAVED PAPERBARK) and MAWILYABURNA (LINIMENT TREE)
Mamarra and Mawilyaburna trees are found in billabongs and wetlands on Groote Eylandt and are traditionally used in very similar ways. We learned from our elders to steep their leaves in water to soothe our bodies. Mamarra wood was used by Anindiliyakwa men to make canoes and the bark was traditionally used by women to make coolamons to carry their babies. Mamarra and Mawilyaburna can be found in many of our products, from balms, to soaps, clays and scrubs
MERRIKA (BROAD LEAVED WATTLE)
Along with its multitude of uses in soothing the skin, Merrika is used by our elders as ‘botanical clock’… we know that when this tree flowers, that the terns are laying their eggs. Traditionally, men used the wood to make the sharp tips of their fishing spears, and women used the wood for digging sticks. As well as using Merrika in our balms and soaps, we use the seasonal flowers in our body butter.
MAMABURRA (WILD PEACH TREE)
Mamaburra trees grow in the bush, and are loved for their fruit, and their usefulness in soothing the skin. These trees grow abundantly on Groote Eylandt, and in addition to their use in traditional recipes our elders used the inner bark to repair cracks and holes in their canoes.
ANGARRAKAKA (JUNGLE CURRANT)
Angarrakaka is only available for a very brief period in our wet season, so we prize these delectable fruits when they appear as they are delicious to eat (similar to a blueberry). We blend Angarrakaka with Merrika leaves in our Jungle Currant lip balm.
WURRUWARDUWARDA (SPINIFEX GRASS)
Wurruwarduwarda grows wild by the beach on Groote Eylandt. Traditionally, it is used to soothe the skin. We blend it with coconut oil in our soaps and scrubs to create a gentle cleansing product.
DINGADILYENJIRRKA (WHITE CLOUD TREE) AND WEEPING TEA TREE
Dingadilyenjirkka is found in the bush on Groote Eylandt and was traditionally used by Warningakalina women to help their hair grow long, strong and healthy. We blend Dingadilyenjirrka or Weeping Tea Tree extract with organic coconut oil to create our luxurious Happy Hair Oils.
If you are interested in our product ranges with Native Botanicals, be sure to check out our Native Botanical page where you can find products with specific botanicals as the ingredients.
Australian Law and processes governing bush medicines makes it very hard and expensive to register products under the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA). As we are not registered under the TGA we cannot legally make medicinal claims about our indigenous knowledge and products. No Australian indigenous bush medicine business has ever successfully registered their products under the Therapeutic Goods Act. Our business and livelihoods matter and we want to see this change.