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October Meeting - Traditional Medicines

Wednesday Oct 13 7:00 pm

Duration: 1.5 hours


Venue: Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Room Blue 2A

The Traditional Australian Medicinal Plants Agribusiness project was an Australian-first $1.01 million research and commercial partnership focused on the development of a sustainable agribusiness model for traditional Australian medicinal plants growing in Northern Australia.
The partnership included Menzies School of Health Research, Traditional Homeland Enterprises, Integria Healthcare, The University of Queensland and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia.

Together with Indigenous organisations and Traditional Owners in the Top End, the suitability and sustainability of potential marketable plants was assessed. Pathways to successful business models, benefit sharing and intellectual property arrangements (that recognise traditional knowledge and plant origins) were also explored; the ultimate goal being to develop on-country economic opportunities for Indigenous communities.

The Menzies Child Health Laboratory played a leading role in examining the antimicrobial activity of documented medicinal plants traditionally used by Top End Indigenous communities against pathogens that have significant impacts on rural and remote communities. The work also provided training opportunities for young Indigenous scientists in the lab.

Greg Leach has a PhD in botany and has worked across northern and central Australia and Papua New Guinea in many facets of wildlife conservation, specialising in plant taxonomy and ecology of tropical flora, botanical survey, threatened species management, traditional plant use and sustainable wildlife use.

During 25 years with the Parks & Wildlife Service of the NT, he managed the NT Herbarium and the Darwin Botanic Gardens. Most recently, he was the CEO of Greening Australia NT and chair of the Board of the Australian Tropical Herbarium at the Cairns campus of James Cook University.

He has a particular interest in plant species that are threatened by activities such as habitat destruction, development or trade. Since 1997 he has worked as a plant expert representing the Oceania Region with the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). A particular focus has been the determining of safe harvest limits for perennial plants.

The monthly meetings are part of the Club's community engagement program and members of the public are encouraged to attend. We hope to see you there.