Aboriginal plant lore now online
GPs are now able to share in ancient Aboriginal knowledge on the medicinal properties of native Australian plants, thanks to the establishment of a new database.
The database combines scientific information on the biological activity and chemical make-up of more than 400 native plants, with Indigenous knowledge of their medicinal properties.
Plant preparation methods, parts used, dose, frequency of use, odour, colour and storage instructions are included, along with photograph and video illustrations.
The project is the brainchild of Macquarie University researchers who say ancient knowledge is at risk “due to the loss of biodiversity, cultural impact and the demise of many of its custodians”.
Macquarie University professor of bioinformatics Shoba Ranganathan said a series of separate private databases was currently being developed for individual Indigenous communities to archive their traditional information.
She said a number of communities had already begun adding to the database, which aimed to create a “holistic knowledge base” to help address “global and national priorities of biodiversity conservation, better health and a smart use of information technology”.
The database – known as the Customary Medicinal Knowledgebase (CMKb) – is now accessible online at http://biolinfo.org/cmkb.