The discovery of the pharmacy of the Australian bush began when humankind first set foot on the continent. Later, the first European visitors found a plethora of plants new to science, with a resultant fervour for unique and unusual finds that erupted into botanical circles. From the time of the First Fleet, botanising physicians and explorers relied on the local flora to provide vital medicines that were in short supply from traditional sources. The records of those pioneers, combined with Aboriginal experience, led to the formation of an extensive, if informal, Australian materia medica with widespread practical and clinical appeal. The most famous of these medicines, the distilled oil of the Eucalypt, quickly achieved international recognition for its decongestant and antibacterial properties. In many instances, the value of the medicinal discoveries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been enhanced by contemporary research, summarised in each chapter, which lends increasing support to their traditional uses. This is a book designed to enhance our appreciation of the medicinal history of Australia's flora, its unique contributions to everyday life, and its extraordinary future potential.
Published by the The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney