Medicinal plant use in two Tiwi Island communities: A qualitative research study

Adam Thompson, Gemma Munkara, Marie Kantilla, Jacinta Tipungwuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Traditional medicinal plants are still used today in many Aboriginal communities across Australia. Our research focused on the contemporary use of such plants in the two communities within the Tiwi Islands, Wurrumiyanga and Pirlangimpi.

Methods: This qualitative research project performed a video ethnography, community interviews, and a trial intervention to better understand the extent to which these plants are still used throughout the community and how they may be used more in the future.

Results: We found that several plants are still used predominantly as medicinal washes to treat skin disorders and/or as a tea to treat congestion associated with cold and flu. Those plants that are commonly used are found near to the community in large amounts and are recognized as being both safe and effective.

Conclusions: Within the community, it is the elder women who remain most knowledgeable about these plants and continue to make them for their families. However, there are many families who no longer know how to make these traditional medicines though they express a desire to use them. Therefore, it would be beneficial to have a central location or method to produce traditional medicine for the community - a bush pharmacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Medicinal plant use in two Tiwi Island communities: A qualitative research study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this