5 Australian Bush Foods that will transform your health
Our beautiful country is flourishing with natives that have been used for thousands of years by Aboriginal peoples, not only for their delicious flavours, but for their abundance of nutrients and medicinal powers.
Often we are quick to look for western remedies to our health and skin concerns, when really we should be looking in our own backyard! Below we have listed five of our favourite native Australian bush foods and the many transformative benefits they have for your health.
- Kakadu Plum
If you are familiar with our skincare, you would know that we absolutely love Kakadu Plum due to its potent Vitamin C content, making it the highest natural source of the vitamin in the world.
The fruit can be harvested from January to July and grows from the Kimberly to Darwin, and in Queensland[i]. Traditionally, Aboriginal communities have eaten the fruit raw, while the sap and bark were boiled and consumed as a tea to treat colds and flu, or used as a topical antiseptic and to soothe aching limbs[ii].
Kakadu Plums are 100 times more abundant in Vitamin C than Oranges, and have over 5 times the antioxidant composition of B=blueberries, giving the fruit the ability to provide a high level of protection against free radical damage. Vitamin C is also a key nutrient for boosting the immune system and aiding in collagen synthesis, iron absorption and heart health[iii].
Kakadu Plum is also a great source of the polyphenol (antioxidant), ellagic acid. Ellagic acid contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and prebiotic effects[iv]. It has also been shown to reduce collagen breakdown and reduce the skins inflammatory response to UV light[v]. The fruits high anti-oxidant content has also been said to aid in preventing and delaying cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s[vi].
In addition to these antioxidants, Kakadu Plum is also packed full of nutrients such as lutein (which promotes eye health), as well as Vitamin E, folate, zinc, magnesium and calcium[vii].
Kakadu Plum is quite fibrous and sour in taste, so is most often used in jams, sauces and juices. The fruit can also be freeze-dried and turned into a powder to be added to smoothies, salad dressings and sprinkled over your favourite breakfast yogurt or cereal.
You can find Kakadu Plum in our Native Plant-Based Collagen Powder.
- Mountain Pepper Berry
The Mountain Pepper Berry grows in southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania[viii] and was traditionally used in Aboriginal communities for its antiseptic properties and its unique flavour. The berries were often crushed and applied as a paste to treat sore gums and tooth aches[ix].
Mountain Pepper Berries are four times higher in antioxidants than blueberries and have been linked to preventing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases[x]. Studies have shown the berries unique antiviral properties and ability to inhibit the growth of some bacteria[xi].
Mountain Pepper contains many vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin E, lutein, zinc, magnesium and calcium. Polygodial found in the berry can be used as an anti-inflammatory to treat issues such as asthma and arthritis. Polygodial is also used to promote gut health by soothing irritation and protecting the stomach lining[xii].
Mountain Pepper Berry is used for its antioxidant content to prevent free radical damage and premature skin ageing. The plant also contains anthocyanins which stimulate collagen production resulting in plump, youthful skin.
The berries can be crushed and used similarly to pepper to add flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes[xiii]. The Mountain Pepper also produces small white flowers, which can be used fresh to garnish salads or desserts.
You can find Mountain Pepper Berry in our Native Plant-Based Collagen Powder.
Growing across arid and semiarid regions of Australia, the Quandong fruit contains twice the amount of Vitamin C as an Orange. Traditionally Aboriginal peoples considered the fruit to be a great substitute for meat due to its high protein content, while the bark and leaves were used for ceremonial and medicinal purposes[xiv]. The seed of the fruit was often used to cure toothaches or sore gums by crushing and turning it into a paste[xv].
Quandong contains the second highest amount of antioxidants naturally available (with Kakadu Plum being the highest). Its antioxidant content provides free radical fighting powers which work to protect the skin and the body from damage. It contains potent levels of Vitamin C and rutin, a fantastic anti-inflammatory that has been shown to strengthen skin capillaries, soothe sensitive skin and reduce dark circles and puffy eyes.
The fruit also contains phenolic acid, which provides anti-microbial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and boost the immune system. Quandong is also considered a good source of magnesium, iron and zinc.
Due to its sweet flavour, the Quandong can be eaten fresh and is often used in baking such as fruit pies and desserts.
You can also find Quandong in our Native Plant-Based Collagen Powder.
- Davidson Plum
Davidson Plum can be found growing wild in the sub-tropical regions of Northern Queensland, down to far-north New South Wales.
Davidson Plum is most prized for its abundance of anthocyanins, an antioxidant more potent than that of Blueberries. The plum is also a great source of potassium, which encourages healthy function of the heart, muscles, nerves, and kidneys[xvi].
Davidson Plum has a higher content of Lutein than avocado. Lutein is a carotenoid vitamin that is important for eye health and has been shown to improve symptoms of age-related vision loss[xvii].
The Davidson Plum is also a great source of skin-loving Vitamin E, C and Zinc, as well as calcium.
The Davidson Plum has a very tart and acidic flavour so is rarely eaten fresh. The fruit is most often used in jams, sauces and chutneys[xviii].
You can also find Davidson Plum in our Gut Replenish Powder.
- Riberry (also known as Lilly Pilly)
Growing wild in the tropical areas of Queensland and NSW, Riberries were considered a delicious sweet treat by Aboriginal children. The Riberry was often used a “medicine berry” among Aboriginal communities due to its ability to fight off colds, boost the immune system and treat ear infections[xix].
Riberries are another Australian bush food with a higher antioxidant content than blueberries due to their abundance of anthocyanins. High levels of Vitamin B-9 found in the Riberry is essential for the healthy development of babies during pregnancy[xx].
Riberries are also rich in manganese, calcium, Vitamins A, C and E, Zinc, Potassium and Sodium.
Riberries have a refreshing flavour with hints of clove and cinnamon. The berry can be eaten fresh or used in teas, sauces, salads and desserts.
You can also find Riberries in our Gut Replenish Powder.
[i] Australian Govt., Rural Industries R&D Corporation. Focus on Native Foods. Focus on Kakadu Plum
[ii] Australian Govt., Rural Industries R&D Corporation. Focus on Native Foods. Focus on Kakadu Plum
[iii] Mandl, E., 2019. Healthline.com. 7 Health Benefits of Kakadu Plum. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kakadu-plum-benefits
[iv] Landete, J., 2011. Ellagitannins, ellagic acid and their derived metabolites: A review about source, metabolism, functions and health. Food Research International, 44(5), pp.1150-1160.
[vi] Australian Govt., Rural Industries R&D Corporation. Focus on Native Foods. Focus on Kakadu Plum
[vii] As above
[viii] Good Health, Bush Tucker. https://www.storycentral.com.au/assets/releases/1491/good-health-bush-tucker.pdf
[ix] Australian Superfood Co., 2016. Mountain Pepper. https://austsuperfoods.com.au/superfoods/mountain-pepper/
[x] As above
[xi] Winnetta, V., Boyer, H., Sirdaarta, J. and Cock, E., 2014. The potential of tasmannia lanceolata as a natural preservative and medicinal agent: antimicrobial activity and toxicity. Pharmacognosy Communication, 4(1).
[xii] Australian Superfood Co., 2016. Mountain Pepper. https://austsuperfoods.com.au/superfoods/mountain-pepper/
[xiii] Hadgraft, B., 2010. 9 Australian bush foods you should be eating for your health. Wellbeing.com.au
[xiv] Australian Superfood Co., 2015. Quandong. https://austsuperfoods.com.au/nutrition/quandong/
[xv] Volkofsky, A., 2017. Quandong – the versatile outback superfood that can cure a toothache. ABC News.
[xvi] Health Benefits Times. Davidson Plum – Davidsonia pruriens. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/davidson-plum/
[xviii] Australian Govt., Rural IndustriesR&D Corporation. Focus on Native Foods. Focus on Davidson Plum.
[xix] Australian Superfood Co., 2015. Riberry. https://austsuperfoods.com.au/nutrition/riberry/
[xx] Australian Govt., Rural IndustriesR&D Corporation. Focus on Native Foods. Focus on Riberry.