General information

This Australian tree is a relative of sandalwood (Santalum album 1.; cf. incense. The Aborigines of Lake Boga use the bark as a narcotic. From it, they produce an inebriating drink known as cootha (Bock 1994, 108*). The bark of the trunk contains 0.21% alkaloids, which have strong toxic effects above a certain dosage (2g/kg) (Collins et al. 1990,65, 128*). The leaves and wood of gumamu, the closely related species Santalum lanceolatum R. Br., were used by the Bardi during healing rituals as a medicinal incense (Lands 1987, 17). It is said that this treatment was «too strong" for children; this incense may be psychoactive. Alkaloids have been found in the leaves, trunk wood, and bark (Collins et al. 1990,65*).

Literature

Lands, Merrilee, ed. 1987. Mayi: Some bush fruits of Dampierland. Broome, Australia: Magabala Books.

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