An important factor when using whole food to support your health and wellbeing is the distance it has to travel and consequently its freshness. Looking towards locally grown food makes sense for higher nutritional content. In Australia we have the benefit of growing many Non-Indigenous food products but what about local Indigenous foods.
“Bush tucker” has long been held in high-esteem for its healing properties by the Australian First Nations People. Yet there is not much known about Aboriginal Food Medicine. If according to TCM we should be looking more towards local for the best way to heal through foods, then it makes sense we should all be consuming more native foods.
Personally I do not know much about “Bush Tucker” and I would not encourage you to go out foraging for your own Indigenous Plant Based food stuff. I would however like to inspire you to look more to home for growing your own.
I have been growing my own food since I was a young girl. I have fond memories of my parents giving me my own ‘patch’ of ground where I grew my own radish, beans and tomatoes among other vegetables. When I married my husband we started our own vegie patch growing pretty much the same sort of vegetables. As time as gone on, we have planted fruit trees which we have both enjoyed plenty of abundance from. More recently we have been trying to plant more of a native garden including our own crops of “bush tucker”.
Our success in this area of gardening has been mixed but my husband recently very proudly pointed out the abundance of flowers on one of our finger limes. This has sent me into research mode. What am I going to do with this abundance of fruit, when and if we get to harvest them? And then my Natural Therapist mind kicks in and I start to wonder the health benefits of this native food.
There is not much information available and I am still reconciling the information I have gathered with my TCM knowledge on whole foods. But let me share some facts I have found about Australian Finger Lime.
- Finger Lime is a traditional food of the First Nations People of Australia
- Australian Finger Lime is grown in tropical and sub-tropical conditions and is classified as a microcitrus
- It is known as the ‘citrus caviar’ due to its round juicy vesicles that resemble caviar
- The bush is spikey (which I have learned the hard way – ouch!) and the flowers start as small pink little buds that bloom into cute little white petals (or pink in some species).
- The fruit grows in a long cylindrical ‘finger-like’ form
- The fruit is mostly used as garnish or flavouring in drinks and sauces
- The fruit comes in a wide array of colours depending on bush species (I look forward to seeing what colour we are growing)
- This fruit packs a punch being full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
- Finger Lime have a citrus taste which can range in flavour from sour, acidic and / or bitter
- The whole fruit can be frozen and later thawed without loosing shape, texture or flavour
- According to the listed websites (below) Finger Lime has many health benefits including:
- Immune Strengthening
- Keeps you youthful
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Keeps your teeth and gums healthy
- Supports eye health
- Lowers risk of iron-deficient anemia
- Fruit is rich in folate which is needed during pre-conception and pregnancy
- May lower risk of kidney stones
I am very excited about getting a taste of this fruit in a few months’ time and while I am still in the researching phase on its Yin and Yang properties, I hope that this article inspires you to invest in a Finger Lime bush or at the very least invites you to think differently about the healing nature of food.
Health Benefits of Finger Lime, Health Benefit Times ND
Finger Lime, Australian SuperFoods, January 2015
Finger Lime, Fruits Info, 2020
Finger Lime, Australian Native Food and Botanticals, ND