The wonders of Australia’s native plants

“We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it. I was taught to preserve, never to destroy.”– Tom Dystra – aboriginal elder

Seven per cent of the world's flora biodiversity is found in Australia, with 92 per cent of these plant species unique to this country. We know of 23,845 varieties, yet our knowledge of most of these plants is almost non-existent. The wonders of Australia’s native plants may not be widely known or appreciated but for the traditional custodians of this land these plants are a life source. 

Take Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana) for instance it was not until the 1980s that western research discovered its many wonders but this very plant was being used extensively by indigenous cultures all around Australia for several millennia. This incredible fruit contains 100 times the vitamin C of an orange, two-and-a-half times an acai berry, and almost five times the antioxidant properties of blueberries. Kakadu plum’s benefits for skin are quite simply unparalleled when delivered in its full plant matrix.

Our food and soil 

Research has shown that our food is nowhere near as good as 50 years ago. Looking at nutritional data from 1950 and 1999 in 43 different vegetables and fruits found "reliable declines" in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C. Average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent.

It's estimated that some vegetables have lost 57 percent of their zinc - an essential element for the immune system, male fertility and collagen production for your skin. And, you can't simply supplement your way out of this, as we've discussed in a previous article

One study concluded that you would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin C as our grandparents would have gotten from one. 

Healthy soil = nutrient dense food = healthy people. 

Professor Yasmina Sultanabawa of the University of Queensland says "Kakadu plum is a rich source of antioxidants and has ellagic acid and vitamin C chemical components that contribute to this antioxidant activity," [1]

Soil also has stored in it 65% of our planet's freshwater. Rich soils ensure adequate levels of groundwater and are also integral to the health of tropical river systems. Ensuring healthy soil also prevents the dangerous cycles of floods and drought that afflict so many regions in the world. 

Water 

When researching ingredients for Terra Tonics, we were floored by the power of plants indigenous to Australia. We were overwhelmed by the findings in scientific papers on the individual plant’s antioxidants, beneficial acids, flavonoids and vitamins. 

Another, Mountain Pepper Berry (Drimys lanceolata,) is incredible for many reasons, not least for its ability to help increase collagen production thanks to the Anthocyanin* and its amino acids. [2]

It's even more exciting to think that this is just the tip of the iceberg of our current knowledge and understanding of the power of the plants endemic to this beautiful land. Their power stretches far beyond the skin to offer potential alternative treatments to pharmaceuticals and even to help combat climate change. [3]

There is also a broader understanding of incorporating these botanicals into our life. In traditional indigenous culture, the healing process often involves spiritual and physical components. Healing requires a spiritual doctor as well as a healer. Spiritual disharmony has to be addressed for healing to occur. 

This understanding is something deeply embedded in the way we do business. To move forward as a community, country, planet and species, we must address this spiritual disharmony with the planet. The plunder and extract mentality toward the earth is indeed a spiritual sickness, and until we heal this, healing on the planet will not be possible. 

While sharing the power of these plants for healing, regeneration and repair, it is equally essential for us to create relationships with our suppliers and the land where these plants grow. 

Caring for the self is also caring for the land and the people who are the custodians of it. 

Referring to our skincare as 'botanical extracts’ is reductionist, we think of them as 'botanical life'. Every one of our products contains the lifeforce of the plants, which contain the earth's elements and sunlight. They are a lifeforce unto themselves, not simply an extracted product. 

We are excited about future discoveries that align us with the ultimate intelligence of the earth. We look forward to championing innovative products that stretch beyond skincare and into new ways of doing business and interacting with this planet. We have the deepest respect for the botanicals that are the life of our formulations.  

[1] - www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-22/health-benefits-of-kakadu-plum/100204168 
[2] - www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946280/)
[3] - www.climatecouncil.org.au/seaweed-climate-change/
*Anthocyanins are a group of antioxidants found in red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables. They belong to the flavonoid family.

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