Aboriginal people used a range of remedies – wild herbs, animal products, steam baths, clay pits, charcoal and mud, massages, string amulets and secret chants and ceremonies.Some of these remedies had no empirical basis, but it is clear from the accounts of colonists that they worked. Many of the remedies worked by healing directly through their chemical or physical action. Aromatic herbs, tannin-rich inner barks and kinos have well documented therapeutic effects. Other plants undoubtedly harboured alkaloids or other compounds with healing effects. Aboriginal remedies varied between clans and in different parts of the country. There was no single set of Aboriginal medicines and remedies, just as there was no one Aboriginal language.
I was raised in New Mexico where there is a strong influence of Native American people. I remember hearing about witch doctors and their natural remedies for healing. I never thought much more about the background until going to Australia. As a premed student my interest has increased.
Australian Aboriginal healers Djerrkngu Marika (L) and Babalangua Munungurr of the Yolngu clan prepare a fire with bush medicines, as part a spiritual healing which will be performed at the Healing Place at Nhulunbuy, approximately 690 km (429 miles) east of Darwin July 16, 2007. The Healing Place is a project of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, and is currently on a six month trial period.
Australian Aboriginal healers of the Yolngu clan rub ancient bush medicines and perform a spiritual healing on clan Elder, Gungulu Munugurr, at the Healing Place at Nhulunbuy, approximately 690 km (429 miles) east of Darwin July 16, 2007. The Healing Place is a project of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, and is currently on a six month trial period.