Knowledge of bush medicine turns into digital archives
The Australian Digital Health Agency has released a new video showing the importance of bush medicine in indigenous culture and health, and how My Health Record can be used to manage this information for holistic patient care.
“I ask my patients what bush drugs they use and include this information in our clinic’s medical records, and it feeds into my health record,” said Dr Jason King, a man from Yued Noongar from Dandaragan, WA, and clinic director. Services and Chief Medical Officer at the Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service in Yarrabah, Queensland.
The agency’s new video marks NAIDOC week 2021 (July 4-11) and features Linc Walker, owner and tour guide of Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours in Cooya Beach, north of Port Douglas in Queensland, and pharmacist Brad Reilly of Live Life Pharmacy in Port Douglas. Tours have been around for 22 years and were started by Walker and his brother Brandon to help preserve ancient cultural activities and knowledge.
“We use traditional medicine because we have always used it. When we were young it was too far from the city, the shops were too far away so we had to do it. It’s always a part of our life, ”said Walker.
“Our cultural activities are so valuable and we didn’t want to lose it. We began to learn from all of our elders, taking the information and knowledge and developing it for today and for the future.
In the video, Walker rejoices in the opportunity to team up with Reilly, show him a range of local bush drugs, and describe their applications, including using green ants to make three different drugs for ailments. throat and respiratory problems and the white fruit of gently squeezed beach lettuce for washing eyes or skin.
Reilly said it was an amazing experience to learn from Walker, someone who knows so much about the area.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that some of the drugs we use every day here at the pharmacy come from the plants and animals of the land around us,” he said. “Just because we take it off the shelf in the drugstore as a packaged medicine and dispense it to patients does not mean that we are rejecting the original source of our modern medicines. “
He marveled at some of the medications Walker revealed to him, ranging from treating common warts with a frangipani to calming the stomach with the beach hibiscus leaf. When the acacia flowers are on and the mullet is fat, the mullet soup oil is used by the elderly when they are sick and sore with aching joints. Reilly suggested that the fatty acid in fish oil works as an anti-inflammatory.
“It’s fascinating to see how Walker is able to bring the plants and animals of the region into a medical context,” he said.
Walker added, “There is a great opportunity for our crowd to put this information in My Health Record, write it down and document it. We have never had this opportunity and we have never been asked for it before and it can only improve the health of our people. This is an opportunity for people to save information that they can use in the future. For our crowd, this is just the start.
Dr. Jill Benson AM works in the area of Indigenous health and said the Eremophila The plant species, or emu bush, are widely used by Aborigines across Australia to treat aches and pains as well as minor burns and skin infections.
“This bush medicine works better than some of my medicines,” she said. “If a patient comes to me, I will sometimes recommend that they use this bush medicine first.”
Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can upload their uses of bush medicine to My Health Record by including it in their personal health summary.
“This information can be used by healthcare providers to better understand and treat patients and help preserve key cultural heritage.”
The theme for NAIDOC 2021 week, Heal Country, calls for greater protection of land, water, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration and destruction.