Australia is home to some spectacular plant species and animals that are not found on any other continent in the world. The indigenous Australians had unrivaled knowledge of the land and the flora and fauna which grew from it. Their sophisticated understanding of the properties of particular plants and their uses were necessary for survival- particularly for medicinal purposes. Thousands of years later, people are still using natural medicines native to Australia in order to treat skin conditions, symptoms of colds and flu, viruses and infections. Most people would be familiar with quite a few of them.
Eucalyptus oil has been a notable treatment for the symptoms of coughs and colds for thousands of years. Aborigines would use the eucalyptus leaves to prevent infection in wounds and cuts, and people have been amazed by the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees are now grown all over the world for their medicinal purposes.
Tea tree Oil
Many aboriginal tribes along the east coast of Australia have utilised tea tree oil to remedy sore throats, to avoid infection in wounds and for anti-viral means. In more recent times, tea tree oil has been validated as antibacterial and as an antiseptic. Essentially, it has countless uses which is why it has been considered as a significantly important medicine since ancient times. Due to the intensity of the plant, it is not meant for ingestion and can only be applied topically.
Witchetty grubs have been a traditional method to treat burns and wounds. A common use of the witchetty grub was to make it into a paste, spread it over the wound/burn and bandage it up for rapid repair. In addition, they have been eaten as food for the nutrition they provide.
The genus of the plant is Eremophilia, and the leaves have been used by Aboriginal tribes in the Northern Territory to wash and cleanse sores and cuts. More research is being done in regards to its uses, but in Australia it is currently being considered to be applied during surgeries for the sterilisation of implants. This is due to the recent discovery of their antibacterial agents.
Taken from the fats of emus, Emu Oil is a popular treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and may assist in the movement of joints and decreasing arthritis pain. This is due to the potential anti-inflammatory properties as it contains fatty acids, and hence emu oil is often applied to decrease muscle pain. Emu oil may also be used to remove lines and wrinkles due to the moisturising properties. Of course, some argue whether it is ethical to source emu oil for medicinal purposes.
The Gumby Gumby plant is controversial because of the claims that it treats cancer despite the lack of scientific research to validate those statements, and the warning that it could cause intense side-effects such as burning. Aside from this supposed miraculous remedy, the indigenous people of Australia regularly used it in many traditional medicinal applications for the purpose of treating coughs, colds and eczema.