Bush Medicine

Have you ever had a small cut that didn’t heal as well as you remember it should??

“Why is this taking so long!” “Last time I had a cut, it was gone in a couple of days?”

Often in the tropics we experience great diversity in healing length depending on the season. There’s some pretty obvious evidence as to why this occurs. During the summer months in Far North Queensland the humidity can soar to extremes. When it does, the moisture in the environmental troposphere can be double what you’d expect in the dryer months. Bacteria likes this, very much! Ask anyone who lives in the far north how much MOLD we have to deal with. If you are adventurous enough to receive a cut during Summer, expect it to take longer to heal, that’s the general rule.

Before the days of modern/westernized medicine, Aboriginal people utilised bush medicine for infections and small wounds. Living in the tropics it is very important to have a source of antiseptic you can find in the bush and here we have a great example.


Bloodwood is quite common in the open forested areas where Rainforest has not formed due to orographic winds and moisture entrapment. There are many species of Bloodwood found mostly in sclerophyll environments or (dryer country) where the gums and acacias flourish. Bloodwood is very aptly named as the dripping sap resembles blood! After reacting the oxygen and and heat, the sap hardens and crystallizes. Notice The Blood marking on this tree, thankfully it’s easy to spot from  distance.


Once obtained, the sap can be used externally as a powdered form to treat sores, although a poultice of mud and leaves was used to stop bleeding while treating more sustaining injuries. Internally it was applied as an antiseptic liquid in the treatment of sores, cuts, burns and ulcers, when diluted provided a solution for the treatment of facial cuts and sores.

Bloodwood – Very versatile and very obtainable

This specimen was located at Tinaroo Lake

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