Beautiful creamy flowers
Habitat: Mallee, woodlands
Flowering Time: Winter and Spring
Kaurna name: Kurti
Description and uses:
Native Apricot, now going by the trendy name of ‘Gumbi Gumbi’ was Pittosporum phylliraeoides, now it’s Pittosporum angustifolium – that’s a lot of names!
It is an elegant, weeping, tree that has been getting quite a bit of attention of late as another potential anti-cancer remedy. For millennia, though, Indigenous Australians have been using various parts of the tree for a wide range of ailments.
The ‘Native Apricot’ alludes to the appearance of the fruit. They’re a kind of a vaguely similar colour and shape, though I reckon there’s more than a little wishful thinking in that. The fruit are interesting as the tree will have fruit in all stages of maturity on it at the same time. They split when ripe and orange/yellow in colour, exposing the seeds,
Every part of the tree has a traditional use. They contain saponins, tannins and flavonoids. Knowing that, we can see how Gumbi Gumbi can affect such a wide range of ailments. It is full of chemical that are anti-inflammatories that work together synergestically for an amazing effect.
Briefly, Saponins help soothe membranes. Flavonoids heal capillaries and smaller vessels, while tannins tone and tighten membranes and reduce inflammation in this way. All work together seamlessly in our bodies.
At certain times of the year, the gum can be eaten, but I’m not clear as to when, exactly.
Seeds, pulp, wood, bark, roots and leaves are used individually or in combination in a decoction. Decoction of every part can be used for can be used for pain and cramps
Native Apricot can be used internally for diarrhoea and inflammation, externally for aches and pain, rheumatism and arthritis. It can ease rashes and external redness when the decoction is applied externally.
That’s only a brief summary of the more prosaic uses that we Kitchen Herbalists would use this wonder plant for. I’ll leave a lot of the grander claims to the experts.
Despite its name, don’t eat any part of the Native Apricot. It is very bitter, I mean VERY BITTER and you’ll regret it. Use a tea or oil instead.