The Australian New Crops Newsletter

Issue No 10, July 1998.

NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in the Advice on Publications Available.

20. Analgesic plants

The editors of this newsletter have recently received an enquiry which sought to identify Australian native plants likely to have been used by the Australian aborigines for analgesic purposes. An initial search of a number of sources has identified the following species:

Acacia ancistrocarpa or Fitzroy wattle
Acacia auriculiformis or northern black wattle
Acacia cuthbertsonii or Cuthbertson's wattle
Acacia lysiphloia or turpentine bush
Acacia melanoxylon or blackwood
Alocasia macrorrhizos or cunjevoi
Alphitonia excelsa
Avicennia marina
or white mangrove
Calophyllum inophyllum or beaty leaf
Calytrix exstipulata or turkey bush
Canavalia rosea or beach bean
Capparis lasiantha or nipan
Capparis umbonata or northern wild orange
Cardiospermum halicacabum or balloon vine
Carissa lanceolata or konkerberry
Cleome viscosa or tick-weed
Clerodendrum floribundum or lollybush
Codonocarpus cotinifolius or desert poplar
Crinum angustifolium or onion lily
Croton arnhemicus
Cymbopogon ambiguus
or lemon-scented grass
Dendrocnide moroides or stinging tree
Dodonaea lanceolata var lanceolata or yellow hop-bush
Duboisia hopwoodii or pituri
Eremophila fraseri or turpentine bush
Eremophila freelingii or rock fuschia bush
Eremophila longifolia or weeping emu bush
Erythrophleum chlorostachys or ironwood
Eucalyptus camaldulensis or river red gum
Eucalyptus globulus or blue gum
Eucalyptus microtheca or coolabah
Eucalyptus miniata or northern woollybutt
Eucalyptus pruinosa
Eucalyptus tetrodonta or stringybark
Excoecaria parvifolia or gutta percha tree
Ficus opposita var indecora or sandpaper fig
Galactia varians or wild bean plant
Gyrocarpus americanus or stinkwood
Hakea arborescens or yellow hakea
Melaeuca argentea or silver cajuput or river paperbark
Owenia reticulata or desert walnut
Pandanus spiralis or screw palm
Pittosporum phylliraeoides or native willow
Prostanthera striatiflora or
jockey's cap
Santalum acuminatum or quandong or native peach
Santalum lanceolatum or black plum
Santalum spicatum or sandalwood
Strychnos lucida or strychnine tree
Tinospora smilacina or snake vine
Ventilago viminalis or supplejack

The method of treatment and the preparation used varied widely.

All these species have been claimed to have been used for some kind of analgesic treatment. We would be interested in any others, or any comments as to the accuracy of this list.

Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances. This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter

Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email:

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originally created by: GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF