Health Benefits of Kakadu Plum

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Kakadu plum Quick Facts
Name: Kakadu plum
Scientific Name: Terminalia ferdinandiana
Origin Native to Australia
Colors Yellow-green
Shapes Ovoid, 2 cm long by 1 cm wide
Taste Tart, bitter
Other names for Kakadu plum include gabiny, gubinge, mardorr, kabiny, bush plum, murunga, salty plum and billygoat plum. It is one of the 28 Terminalia species or subspecies occurring across tropical Australia. The species is endemic to Australia and concentrated to the top half of the Northern Territory to eastern Arnhem Land and the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia. It is found in the tropical belt of Northern Australia and found in sand plains behind beaches, dry creek beds, flood plains, ridges, cliff tops, mangrove edges, coastal vine thickets and woodlands. It prefers red sand, sandy clay, sandstone, black peat, granite and ironstone. Fruit is ovoid and pale olive-green with central wooden stone which resembles immature olive and is fibrous with tart and bitter taste. Kakadu plum is considered as a gift of the Dreamtime by Aboriginal culture and an important bush food for millennia for people in Northern Australian. The fruit is consumed fresh but primarily used as value added product in jams, sauces and preserves and beauty products such as body lotions, cleansers, lip balm and hand cream. The fruit has high content of vitamin C and displays superior antioxidant properties.

Facts About Kakadu Plum

Name Kakadu plum
Scientific Name Terminalia ferdinandiana
Native Native to Australia
Common/English Name Billy Goat Plum, Gubinge, Green Plum, Salty Plum, Kakadu Plum, Wild Plum
Name in Other Languages Australia: Gubinge, Marnybi, Manmohpan, Murunga (Aboriginal), Madoorr, Arangal, Gubinge (Bardi People) Kabinyn (Nyul Nyul)
and Gabiny (Yawuru)
English:  Billygoat plum (Aust.), Gubinge, Kakadu plum (Aust.), Murunga
Plant Growth Habit Slender, spreading tree
Plant Size 10 m high
Bark Rough, cream-grey
Leaf Leathery, glabrous, broadly elliptical to ovate, 15–22 cm long by 12–20 cm wide
Flowering Season September to December
Flower Small, creamywhite
Fruit shape & size Ovoid, 2 cm long by 1 cm wide
Fruit weight 0.1–0.2 ounces (2–5 grams)
Fruit color Yellow-green
Fruit peel Smooth
Fruit Taste Tart, bitter

Plant description

A slender and spreading tree which reaches 10 meters high with rough cream-grey bark i.e. flaky in larger trees. Leaves are light green, leathery, glabrous, broadly elliptical to ovate about 15-22 cm long by 12-20 cm wide with distinct veins and spirally arranged towards the end of branches. Flowers are small creamy white and perfumed borne on spikes 20 cm long in leaf axils. Fruit is fleshy and void with short beaked about 2 cm long by 1 cm wide, yellow-green with reddish tint and contains one large seed. The flower blooms at the end of dry season from September to November.

Health Benefits of Kakadu plum

  1. Prevent microbes

The study conducted showed antimicrobial properties of Kakadu plum extracts of leaves and fruit against common food borne bacteria. The results concluded that fruits and leaves have potential as natural preservatives in the food industry. The bioactive compounds found in Kakadu plum needs to determine the compounds which is responsible for antimicrobial activities.

  1. Antioxidant activity

Kakadu plum has antioxidants more in comparison to blueberry. It offers 4.7 times more phenolic compounds and 10 times more potassium. The examination of Australian commercially grown fruits revealed hydrophilic phytochemicals and antioxidants it possess. It has more total phenolic compounds in comparison to blueberry and studied as cancer fighting foods due to phytonutrients it contains.

  1. Strengthen immune system

Vitamin C is a nutrient for those who undergoes stress, drinking alcohol, smoking and engage in other nutrient depleting activities such as endurance sports. The compromised immune system results one to catch cold whenever one travels. Kakadu plum has various levels of phenolic compounds, sugars, Vitamin C and antioxidants.

  1. Cardiovascular health

Kakadu plum is the food rich in Vitamin C which helps to protect against coronary heart disease.  The study conducted on 9187 men and 11,112 women aged 3.9 to 79 years showed decrease in heart failure with increase in plasma Vitamin C.

  1. Combat Alzheimer’s

Kakadu plum has antioxidant properties which is seven times greater than curcumin.  The protective ability of Kakadu plum makes it more powerful than turmeric. Antioxidants found in Kakadu plum combats free radical damage and acts as potential treatment for Alzheimer’s.

  1. Lowers appearance of wrinkles

Vitamin helps to lower wrinkles and age spots. Vitamin C enhances production of collagen, reduces hyperpigmentation and prevents skin changes caused by photoaging. Study shows that topical application of Vitamin C helps to lower wrinkles along with skin texture and skin tone changes. It has minerals and antioxidant which nourish and invigorate skin including zinc, Vitamin E, lutein, folate, iron and prevents premature aging.

  1. Skin infections

Inner bark of Kakadu plum tree helps to cure skin disorders and infections. It is used to heal sores, wounds and boils. It helps to prevent fungal or bacterial infections. It helps to heal wounds and treat psoriasis.

  1. Hair health

Kakadu plum moisturizes and hydrates hair.  It maintains collagen level and elastin which is essential for healthy and lustrous hair. It hydrates and detangles hair. Regular use of shampoo smoothens and hydrates normal to dry hair.

Traditional uses

  • Kakadu plums are used for treating flu, colds and headaches.
  • It is used as an antiseptic or soothing balm for limbs.
  • Root infusion is used for treating stomach pain and urinary disorders.
  • Stem decoction is used for treating boils, skin disorders and rashes.
  • Inhale the whole plant for treating viral disorders such as influenza and colds.
  • Indigenous people use the roasted sap and boiled bark is used for treating skin conditions, sores and drunk as tea for colds and flu.
  • Apply the bark to infections and burn injuries.
  • Use the sap of the tree for treating joint inflammation.

Culinary uses

  • In North Western and Northern Australia, Kakadu plum is consumed raw or prepared into drinks.
  • Fruits are used to make refreshing drink.
  • The fruit flesh is used for preserves, jams, sauces, relishes, juices, sauces and ice cream.
  • It is also found in fresh, powdered or frozen puree form.


Freeze it within 24 hours of harvest to maintain its size and quality.






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