The Medicine of Aboriginal Australians

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Aboriginal Australians' medicine is based on the use of herbs and plants as remedies for various health issues. It is the medicine used by humanity long before drugs were invented.

And many of today's chemical drugs are based on the elements that can occur naturally in plants. Probably that is why people are recognising more and more the healing power of plants. Herbal medicine is now making a revival.

Many native plants have strong fragrances and are today used in aromatherapy. For example, tea tree and eucalyptus oil are good as an inhalation for relief of coughs and symptoms of flu or as a massage of the chest or back.

Exposure to heat or cold, bites of insects or animals, toxic fruit could cause sores, wounds or other illness. And in the desert, the only medical knowledge available in the past was that transmitted from one generation to another about remedies offered by plants.

Indigenous people put leaves and bark of various trees and shrubs to good use.

Healing Plants Used by Aboriginal Australians

The Desert Park in Alice Springs is a great place to get some information about Aboriginal medicine.

Here are some of the native plants that we saw there.

australian fuchsia

Native fuchsia is a common plant in the dry areas. Its leaves are boiled and used as a wash for scabies.

limestone fuchsia

Limestone or rock fuchsia leaves make a medicinal drink which can help with cold and chest complaints.

The liquid can be used as a wash to treat skin problems.

striped mintbush

The striped mint-bush, which grows up to 2 m high in the semi arid zones of Central and South Australia, has masses of striking flowers after rain.

Its leaves are ground, mixed with fat and used as a medicinal balm.

turkey bush

Native fuchsia is a common plant in the dry areas. Its leaves are boiled and used as a wash for scabies.


Corkwood has multiple benefits. Its thick bark can act as a fireproof coat and its yellow flowers carry nectar.

Australian Aboriginals were also burning the bark, grinding the charcoals and applying them on sores and lesions.

You can get more information about the indigenous people by clicking on the images  below.

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