Traditional & Natural Australian Remedies

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

Gum Tree

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 grub

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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.

Emu Bush

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.

Emu Oil

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.

Gumby Gumby

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.

References:

http://www.gumbygumby.info/medicaluse.html

http://theconversation.com/indigenous-medicine-a-fusion-of-ritual-and-remedy-33142

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2011/02/top-10-aboriginal-bush-medicines/

http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-flora

http://www.uniquelyemu.com/whyemuoil.htm

http://sydney.edu.au/alumni/sam/october2013/tee-tree.shtml

A Brief History of Aromatherapy

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Although the term ‘aromatherapy’ was only coined in the 20th century, plant extracts have been used for medicinal, fragrant, spiritual and cosmetic purposes for thousands of years. To start from the beginning, there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians in 3500 BC used plant extracts from cedarwood, cinnamon, clove and myrrh for the purposes of embalming bodies, to use as ingredients in cosmetics and as perfume for men and women. The ancient Greeks took the Egyptians’ knowledge of plants and discovered that the extracts could be applied as an anti-inflammatory and to heal wounds, as discovered by Hippocrates who is acknowledged as the ‘Father of Medicine’. Consequently, the Romans gathered information from the Egyptians and Greeks to record the properties of approximately 500 plant species, including their individual medicinal benefits. Knowledge of plant properties continued to grow through-out the ages with the extraction of essential oils through distillation (first invented in Persia), and soon essential oils were recognised through-out most of the world.

Essential oils are still used for a variety of purposes, and more recently they have been identified as an aid to combat stress and anxiety. The power of scent is not something to be undermined, as our sense of smell is directly connected to the parts of the brain that process emotions and memory. This is why essential oils can have the ability to stimulate our moods and emotions, and even assist in improving concentration and sleep.

Specific types of essential oils contain properties that provide some benefit aside from providing a wonderful scent, like the eucalyptus oil which assists in nasal congestion and overcoming colds and flu. Lavender oil helps to relieve tension and is known as a relaxant. Peppermint oil increases mental awareness while lemon oil helps to achieve clarity of the mind. The list goes on. Because there are no negative effects associated with the inhalation and diffusion of essential oils, they have become a popular and natural method to emotionally, mentally and physically treat the mind and body. Some people apply essential oils directly on to their skin, but due to their purity and high concentration it can cause rashes and other skin problems. Hence it is always advised to dilute the oil with a carrier oil first before skin application, as no essential oil is safe to use on skin in its purest form.

So the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were on the right track when experimenting with plant extracts for medicinal purposes. Although pharmaceutical products later became the primary way of treating illness, wounds and disease, people continue to swear by the powerful medicinal properties of essential oils.

References:

http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/history.asp

http://www.quinessence.com/history_of_aromatherapy.htm

Beat the Winter Blues with Essential Oils

With the cold weather in full force, it’s no wonder that our mood starts to reflect the grey, dreary skies. The lack of sunlight and shorter days may have a draining effect on our mental health, which is why people describe having the ‘winter blues’. Although there is a lack of valid science to support this as a legitimate condition, millions of people around the world claim to be a victim of the season-dependent depressive state.

Whether you are experiencing a gloomy state due to the weather or other circumstances, the power of scent can have a significant impact on your mood and emotions. The olfactory system (organs relating to the sense of smell) is directly connected to our limbic structures that process emotions and memory. This is why particular scents may assist in bringing you out of your winter funk by stimulating your mood. Some particular scents, such as citrus, peppermint, jasmine and bergamot, can be particularly helpful in lifting your spirits and relaxing the nervous system.

Essentials In-A-Box has a select few 100% pure essential oil blends that can help overcome the winter blues.

The Vitality, Happiness and Uplifting oil blends (15ml each) all serve the purpose of combating a downtrodden, depressed state.

Vitality specifically targets any exhaustion and fatigue, combining the scents of Lavender, Sandalwood, Clove, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Pink Grapefruit, Marjoram, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Lime and Orange. The citrus oils assist in rejuvenation through their sharp, zesty scents.

Happiness helps to increase overall wellbeing and contentment with Bergamot, Vanilla, Lemon Myrtle, Sweet Orange, Patchouli, Marjoram and Jasmine. Jasmine is known for its antidepressant properties and its ability to conjure feelings of romance and happiness.

Uplifting assists in elevating your spirits using Petitgrain, Pine needle Oil, Bergamot, Lavender, Patchouli, Lime, Lemon and Black Pepper. Bergamot may help with achieving clarity of the mind to counteract depression. Lavender is famous for relieving stress and tension by calming the nervous system.

So don’t let the winter blues bring you down-liven up your environment through diffusing essential oils. There are no side effects of using pure essential oils, and scores of people swear by their healing effects. Never underestimate the power of scent and the effect it can have on our moods and emotions, and even if you’re a skeptic, there is absolutely no harm in trying. I would highly recommend using these three blends which contain the specific ingredients used to help relieve depression and anxiety. Find them at in-a-box.com.au.