Herb of the Month: Kakadu Plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana)

Author: Angelique Bone   Date Posted:2 September 2019 

This fruit is native to Australia, growing mostly in northern regions of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. It also goes by the names Billy Goat Plum and Gubinge and it has a sour taste, with some astringency to it as well. Small, slightly pear shaped and pale olive green in colour, Kakadu Plum can be eaten raw, though it’s mostly used in jams and sauces, or as an ingredient in beauty products. This fruit was first harvested commercially in the late 1990’s and even now, while there are a small number of orchards, most of the fruit for commercial use is still wild harvested.


Kakadu Plum is extremely nutritionally dense, containing especially high amounts of vitamin C, with up to 7000mg of this vitamin per 100g dry weight of fruit. That’s more vitamin C than any other plant! Further, as an antioxidant it is five times stronger than Blueberries, and it contains both water-soluble and fat-soluble antioxidants. Other nutrients in this fruit are vitamin Ezinc, folate, magnesium, calcium and also lutein.



This highly nutritious fruit also has some medicinal benefits. It was traditionally used by Indigenous Australians to help relieve headaches, in colds and flu and also as an antiseptic.³ Some research has been conducted so far which confirms the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Kakadu Plum. ³ In order to retain their nutritional and medicinal value after picking, Kakadu Plums need to be snap frozen within 24 hours.


The indigenous people of Australia have recognised and used Kakadu Plums as medicine for centuries. As we gain more and more knowledge about the wonderful benefits of this wholesome fruit, an ethical dispute emerged a few years ago in regards to intellectual property rights when a US company tried to patent Kakadu Plum as an ingredient in their product. Since then, agreements and policies have started to be put in place to ensure that if we use and/or research indigenous resources, the rights and property of the indigenous people, who have held this knowledge far longer than any of us, are acknowledged and protected.



3. Akter S, Netzel ME, Fletcher MT, Tinggi U & Sultanbawa Y, 2018, “Chemical and Nutritional Composition of Terminalia ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Kernels: A Novel Nutrition Source, Foods, Vol. 7(4), pp. 60 ff


Written by Angelique Bone

Angelique (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a passion for herbal medicine and helping other people feel the best that they can. She believes that balance and moderation is important in maintaining good health.

Angelique enjoys reading, spending time with her family and baking goodies with her two young boys.

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