As one of the oldest cultures in the world, Aboriginal people have been using bush medicine for generations. Now Bush Medijina, the NT winner of our INNOV8Rs competition is bringing these wholistic remedies to the rest of Australia.
Native plants have been a staple in the bush medicine of our first nation people for millennia. The use of traditional botanicals is passed on from grandmothers and aunties to mothers and daughters. It honours ancient traditions and is integral to a cultural approach of holistic healing, where the mind, body and spirit are tied to the land.
“It’s all about our wellbeing. Bush Medijina is about sharing and passing on knowledge from our ancestors to our young generations by using modern technology. Bush Medijina has a really big future and it has a really big heart,” says Sarina Bara, Warningakalina woman and chairperson of Bush Medijina.
For Bara and her cohorts at Bush Medijina, the history of Aboriginal bush medicine is of great importance. It goes hand-in-hand with understanding and appreciating the traditions of their culture as the next generation straddles two worlds – a modern Australia and a first nation past.
Bara says the native botanicals used in the Bush Medijina products are hand-harvested on country and created using traditional methods.
“Our Bush Medijina products are carefully handcrafted using traditional methods combined with modern techniques to create our own take on our elders’ bush recipes.
“Our traditional knowledge comes from our connection to our land, native botanicals, our ancestors, and our stories. We have been using our bush knowledge and medicines to heal ourselves for generations. We want to lift our indigenous people and others up so that we can be stronger and healthier together.”
All Bush Medijina’s products are lovingly crafted in ‘The Shed’ on Groote, a remote island in the Northern Territory. Inside this series of shipping containers, the island’s women come together to create balms and soaps, scrubs and oils.
The women say the idea to start a business using cultural knowledge of traditional remedies stemmed from a desire to help their own community.
“Especially our elderly who could no longer go on country. There also wasn’t much opportunity for us to come together to work in a way that brought our knowledge and culture together.
“We hand harvest botanicals from our country, take them back to The Shed and hand make and package everything ourselves. Coming to work gives us a break from our challenges.”
Bush Medijina has been built as a social enterprise first, business second. Everything the women do is focused on giving back to the community. While sharing their bush remedies with the world is their product focus, their mission is all about supporting the Warningakalina women to be strong in culture, wellbeing, education, and respect.
“We know what a good community looks like, and we are working towards this. We are leaders and advocates for good values and showing our families love and respect. We need to show some tough love and make some hard decisions and sometimes this is difficult, but we know it is worth it.”
“We want to grow our business from a small seed to a giant tree, so it can stay strong, just like our culture,” says Gayangwa Lalar, OAM, chairperson Bush Medijina.
Find out more about Bush Medijina
The INNOV8RS is a national competition to find Australia’s most innovative small businesses. This initiative is supported by Peugeot Professional’s range of commercial vans, which combine the luxury of an SUV with the practicality of a van. Good for business, good for life.