Australian Indigenous Medicine: building the evidence, empowering communities

6 April 2016

NICM researcher Dr Joanne Parker and her team have been working with the Yirralka Miyalk (Women) Rangers of north-eastern Arnhem Land as part of a pilot project funded by an Early Career Researcher Grant from Western Sydney University.

The Yirralka Miyalk Rangers have been working to develop a range of bush cosmetic products that incorporate Yolngu bush medicines. The rangers collect bush medicine plant parts, extract essential oils and make lip gloss, salt scrub, soaps and bush rubs which they sell at markets and festivals in The Top End. The objectives of this project were to work with the rangers to investigate the bioactivity of four herbal preparations used as traditional medicines by the Yolngu community and in doing this, develop a strong and sustainable relationship with the Yolngu Aboriginal Community. Three plants were identified for analysis to compare their antibacterial and antioxidant activity and look at the efficiency of the current extraction and preparation methods used in the development of the products. This collaborative project will continue through NICM Western Sydney University Masters of Research student, Beatrice Venkataya, who will be continuing to work with this community to assist in optimising their product formulations.