Persoonia (Geebung) update: Announcing a research collaboration between IPHA and the University of Queensland.

The Indigenous Plants for Health Association (IPHA) recently signed an agreement with Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa, Director of Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods, at the University of Queensland, (ARC) to investigate the chemical constituents and health-promoting properties of Persoonia spp. IPHA is contributing to the funding of the project.

Our organization was inspired by our mutual interest in the medicinal uses of geebung or geebong (Persoonia species). The name geebung (geebong or jibbong) comes from the Dharug language (NSW), while in the Ilawara region, the shrub is known as Naamburra.

For millennia, indigenous peoples along the Eastern Coast of Australia have used geebung berries as a natural antibiotic. In 1997, a study by McLeod, Rasmussen and Willis* found that the berries of a geebung hybrid (Persoonia linearis x pinifolius) showed broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.  Anecdotal use of geebung includes the story of an aboriginal hospital patient who was cured of a golden staph (Staphylococcus aureus) infection with the juice of the berry.

After more than twenty years, we are undertaking a study of geebung and its active constituents. In order to properly analyze the berries, they need to be in a fresh or frozen state.

For more information about the geebung or Naamburra tree and its fruit, read our Persoonia background paper