Aboriginal healing practices and Australian bush medicine
Colonists who arrived in Australia from 1788 used the bush to alleviate shortages of basic supplies, such as building materials, foods and medicines. They experimented with types of material that they considered similar to European sources. On the frontier, explorers and settlers gained knowledge of the bush through observing Aboriginal hunter-gatherers. Europeans incorporated into their own ‘bush medicine’ a few remedies derived from an extensive Aboriginal pharmacopeia. Differences between European and Aboriginal notions of health, as well as colonial perceptions of ‘primitive’ Aboriginal culture, prevented a larger scale transfer of Indigenous healing knowledge to the settlers. Since British settlement there has been a blending of Indigenous and Western European health traditions within the Aboriginal community.