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Bush Remedies

248 pages, 240 mm x 180 mm (portrait) paperback

ISBN 9780648446637, $39.95, Paperback

Cheryll Williams

Available: October 2020

Australia has a remarkable bushland with many unique plants that are not found anywhere else in the world. Aboriginal people exploited this diversity, being superb survivalists in a harsh environment. They harvested the bounty of the land with ingenuity and centuries of practical experience. The sweet native honeys, the sugar letp insects, tasty Witchetty grubs and oil-rich Bogong moths are good examples.

When the colonists arrived two centuries ago they found the strange flora almost incom­prehensible and again, the long process of experimentation began, inspired by European traditions. The astringent, antibacterial qualities of Eucalypt kino and the Wattle trees were quickly pressed into service. The fragrant oils of much of the flora could be unmistakable particularly the Eucalypts, Tea-trees, Native Myrtles and Mintbushes, and were easily pressed into service. A few were even reminiscent of familiar traditions. They included the distinctive aromatic qualities of Sarsaparilla, Sassafras and Sacred Basil, which were useful flavourings and medicines. The discovery of others, such as the Lemon Myrtle and Tasmannia Pepper, ensured similar uses.

The early colonists marvelled at the discoveries that appeared to abound on this 'new' continent. There was much that was novel and unique, causing great excitement in sci­entific circles. Yet, in many ways, they also struggled with a practical appreciation of the environment. Indeed, the story of the exploitation of the legendary Sandalwood, sadly, was accompanied by destructive consequences across the continent.

The records of the early pioneers, the European medical men and Aboriginal experi­ence have given us valuable bush remedies that we continue to learn about. This fusion of ancient tradition in an ancient land, combined with the insights granted by modern science, today sees native plants take on a new role for the future — a very special legacy of this remarkable island continent.

Bush Remedies is based on Bush Pharmacy (Volume 1 of Medicinal Plants in Australia), which is now out-of-print.


Chapter 1: The Search for Sustenance

Chapter 2: The Physician's Medicine Chest

Chapter 3: Discovering Bush Remedies

Chapter 4: Xanthorrhoea: Grass-tree Medicine

Chapter 5: Sarsaparilla and Sassafras: Old Remedies in a New Country Chapter 6: Uniquely Australian: An Age of Floral Discovery

Chapter 7: Floral Emissaries

Chapter 8: Bush Beverages

Chapter 9: Bush Tucker Bugs

Chapter 10: Sweet Surprises: Medicinal and Toxic Honeys

Chapter 11: Flavour and Fragrance

Chapter 12: Sandalwood: The Aromatic Export