Here at Yarn we are very excited to introduce everyone to the latest addition to the marketplace, Bush Balm. They use the traditional Indigenous knowledge and plants that have been used for thousands of years to treat common ailments and illnesses to create a range of healing balms. Bush Balm Social Enterprise is run by Purple House, an innovative Indigenous-owned and operated health service based in Alice Springs, that runs more than 18 remote dialysis clinics and a mobile unit called the Purple Truck. Today we hear from the Bush Balm employees and learn more about their amazing products and incredible work.
When was Bush Balm first Launched?
“The bush medicine making started in 2006. The BUSH BALM brand was launched in 2015”
Why did you begin Bush Balm?
“The bush balm making process began in the backyard of the Purple House, a home away from home for many Indigenous dialysis patients & their families who were forced to leave their communities to access treatment for end stage renal failure. The women were longing for their country and traditional medicine. Bush medicine was picked by family and brought to the ladies who then ‘cooked ‘it up over the fire in the back yard for themselves. Many other dialysis patients who accessed The Purple House for services that were not available by mainstream health systems, asked if the ladies could share the highly regarded plants that were made into oils and balms. This activity and service became extremely popular and other members of the community were quickly learning the significance of the plant's qualities and the wider community requested if they could buy the bush medicine from the core group of women who were producing the balms. The balms were bottled in jars and labelled with the significance of the plants.”
What is Bush Balms mission?
“Open a retail shop/kitchen/production workplace.”
Tell us more about how Bush Balm supports Purple House.
“We supply our 400+ dialysis patients and family with unlimited supply of ‘bush medicine’. The retail/wholesale business provides employment opportunities to young Indigenous women, patients and their families while retaining cultural knowledge.”
Tell us about Bush Balms use of bush medicine and native botanicals.
“Irmangka Irmangka - (Eremophila Alternifolia) Used by Aboriginal people of Central Australia to relieve arthritis, muscle & joint inflammation, cramps, bruises & headaches. Also used to soothe cold and flu symptoms. Arrethe – (Eremophila Freelingii) Used by Aboriginal people of Central Australia to relieve eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis & itchy dry irritated skin.”
What are some of the favourite native botanicals that you like to use in Bush Balm products?
“Irmangka Irmangka - (Eremophila Alternifolia), Arrethe – (Eremophila Freelingii)”
Is Bush Balm excited to be a part of the Yarn Marketplace?
“Having the opportunity for the wider community to gain access to our balms/plants is important.”
What are your future plans for Bush Balm?
“Make available in-house workshops. Pass on cultural knowledge and production knowledge to young indigenous communities. Maintain a sustainable supply to our patients and families first and foremost, then to the wider community.”
The Bush Balm products are now available on our website. You can browse the beautiful range here.