SYDNEY, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientists on Monday said they are tapping traditional medicinal plants in the country's northern regions under a novel sustainable agribusiness model, in a major effort to marry the latest in modern science with indigenous knowledge.
"This exciting project will provide opportunities for Aboriginal people to share their knowledge of medicinal plants, developed over thousands of years, with researchers that have expertise in laboratory testing and healthcare product development," said Menzies School of Health Research researcher Mark Mayo in a statement.
The 18-month project is touted as the first of its kind, bringing together research and commercial groups to focus on traditional Australian medicinal plants as an important biological, cultural and economic resource, according to the Cooperative Research Center for Developing Northern Australia, a government-backed research funding group. The center has so far directed more than 360,000 Australian dollars (260,000 U.S. dollars) in funding for the project.
Traditional medicinal plants will be analyzed at Menzies in Darwin in the Northern Territory and at the University of Queensland, with a view of using the findings to develop prototype healthcare products, according to the center.
The significant investment in traditional owner-led business models will provide far-reaching benefits to the communities involved, said the center's head Jed Matz.
The products could add an additional 20 million Australian dollars (14.4 million U.S. dollars) in value to the bush medicine sector over the next five to 10 years, said Matz.