Bush Tucker and Bush Medicine
around Coober Pedy
Irmangka-Irmangka and Aratja
Eremophila alternifolia Scented Emu Bush
Irmanka-irmangka - Scented Emu Bush
Irmangka-Irmangka or Scented Emu Bush (Eremophila alternifolia) is uncommon plant is found predominantly on gravelly limestone soils, and has pink or mauve tubular flowers with dark red spots. The leaves are strongly scented, the branches knobbly and the young growth sticky. It grows to one or two metres.
Irmangka-Irmangka is prized by the local Antakarinja people for its use as a medicinal plant. The leaves are boiled up with kangaroo fat and water to make a strong smelling, sticky gel, which is put into tea or smeared onto the chest as a treatment for colds, headaches, chest infections, and other minor ailments. It is also used to soothe painful bites and stings. This medicine stores for a long time, and is said to encourage deep sleep.
Eremophila freelingii Rock Fuchsia Bush
Aratja (Rock Fuchsia Bush) (Eremophila freelingii) is a common plant throughout the region, with lilac flowers and soft hairy leaves, growing on gravelly soils.
It is used in a similar way to Irmangka-Irmangka, however leaves of this plant are also often crushed in the hand to release a strong aromatic smell. This helps to clear blocked sinuses and cure cold symptoms.