A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Gumbi Gumbi

Pittosporum angustifolium

Herbs gallery - Gumbi Gumbi

Common names

  • Berrigan
  • Butterbush
  • Cattle Bush
  • Gumbi Gumbi
  • Meemeei
  • Native Apricot
  • Weeping Pittosporum

Gumbi gumbi (scientific name Pittosporum angustifolium) is considered to be an exceptional member of the plant family Pittosporum. This is basically a shrub or a short tree that has its origin in Australia. As many as six different varieties of this plant exist in the country's Queensland state alone. While harvesting the leaves of this plant one needs to exercise additional caution because a number of gumbi gumbi varieties are toxic in nature. Only a few varieties of this plant possess an excellent, aromatic flavour and are beneficial for our health.

The species Pittosporum angustifolium was earlier known as Pittosporum phillyreoides and is found growing in wild in inland Australia. The growth rate of gumbi gumbi is very sluggish and generally it grows up to a height of anything between 2 meters and 6 meters. However, some exceptional plants may reach a height of up to 10 meters. This species can endure drought as well as frost with equal ease. In addition, it possesses the ability to thrive even where the annual rainfall is very low - for instance just 150 mm. Gumbi gumbi is a durable desert plant and some individual plants may be found to survive for even more than a hundred years.

Gumbi gumbi, also spelt as gumby gumby, is a rare species belonging to the plant family Pittosporum. In fact, gumbi gumbi denotes a particular variety of the species called Pittosporum phylliraeodies. Aborigines of Australia are credited with naming the variety gumbi gumbi.

Trees belonging to this species can endure drought and frost, as they have a deep root system. Moreover, the gumbi gumbi trees grow erect. The most widespread variety of these trees has a black butt. These trees grow most excellently in a fertile soil and have a preference for lots of water. However, gumbi gumbi trees possess the ability to survive in nearly all types of soils.

For optimum growth, gumbi gumbi trees require full sunlight and a soil having a good drainage system. This species is propagated by its seeds, which usually germinate within 17 days from sowing. It is easy to propagate the plant from its seeds, provided the temperature is around 25°C. Each gram of gumbi gumbi seeds contains about 20 viable seeds.

The branches of gumbi gumbi are pendulous or weeping. The leaves of this plant are slender and long measuring anything between 4 cm and 12 cm (1.5 inches to 4.5 inches) in length and about 0.4 cm to 1.2 cm (0.16 inch to 0.47 inch) wide. The plant produces small tubular flowers whose color varies from cream to yellow. The flowers are pleasantly fragrant.

These trees bear potently fragrant flowers whose color varies from cream to yellow. The flowers are hairy and measure roughly 12 mm in diameter. They are borne solitarily either in leaf axils or appear in terminal clusters or axillary comprising few flowers. These trees start flowering from the end of winter to middle of spring.

The shape of gumbi gumbi fruit varies from globose to ovoid capsule, which are frequently close to the stalk. The fruits are roughly 18 mm long and have a smooth, hairless exterior. The orange hued fruits measure up to 1.4 cm across and bear close resemblance to apricots. When ripe in summer, the fruits usually split to expose around six to eight seeds that are covered in a clammy, orange-red mucilaginous matter.

Often the fruits of gumbi gumbi can remain on the plant for many years. Over a period of time, the fruits become wrinkled and contain shrunken deep red seeds inside a sticky yellowish pulp.

Gumbi gumbi (Pittosporum angustifolium) is extensively found all over inland Australia, especially in alluvial flats, mallee communities, ridges and also in dry woodlands. In addition, this plant is found growing in clay, loamy as well as sandy soils. However, this plant is not very common. The plant has pendulous branches and slender leaves that make it look graceful while giving it a willow-like effect.

Since the branches of this plant hang very close to the ground, cattle frequently browse on its leaves, which provide them with moderate nutrition. The timber of gumbi gumbi is also useful and is used for wood turning.

Various extracts from Pittosporum angustifolium can also be used for treating colds, eczema, internal pains, pruritis, sprained limbs and skin irritations. The slender, long leaves of gumbi gumbi are also used to prepare a warm compress which is believed to stimulate breast milk production in new mothers. Aside from all the benefits of gumbi gumbi discussed above, the plant also yields a chewable gum.

Parts used

Leaves, stems.


Gumbi gumbi offers several medicinal benefits. Test tube experiments undertaken at the University of Berlin have shown that this herb possesses the ability to destroy carcinogenic cells. At the same time, this herb has also exhibited that it is a potent immune system stimulant. Gumbi gumbi is generally used in the form of an immune system stimulant and protector, shielding us from various health conditions. A tea prepared from the plant is taken internally to cure a number of health issues.

Thus far, several hundred test cases have corroborated that gumby gumby or gumbi gumbi is extremely useful in curing several types of cancers - including those that are at their primary phase of development to those that are terminal cases. It has been found that in many instances regular consumption of formulations prepared from the leaves of this herb has proved to be extremely helpful in recuperation of various forms of cancer. At the same time continued treatment with gumbi gumbi has also helped to prevent the recurrence of the deadly disease.

Till date, tests undertaken on certain cancer forms have been successful. So there is enough reason to believe that use of gumbi gumbi will be highly helpful for people suffering from all types of cancers. As of now, the medical community has not claimed that gumbi gumbi can be used as a substitute to the existing drugs to treat cancer. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that use of this natural remedy will not only be complimentary, but also useful in treating various forms of cancer.

Several studies and tests undertaken with gumbi gumbi have revealed that this herb contains a number of nutrients, including saponins, flavonoids, and tannins. Saponins offer several health benefits. Findings of numerous studies have established that saponins are effective in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood stream, beneficial for the health of our bones, stimulate the immune system and even possess anti-cancer properties.

Similarly, it has been found that flavonoids and tannins possess antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer as well as anti-viral properties and, hence, have various therapeutic applications. In addition to the above mentioned properties, flavonoids and tannins have many other beneficial effects on our health.

Apparently, gumbi gumbi also possesses anti-spasmodic, anti-pruritic, galactagogue and detoxification properties. Several studies have shown that this herb is useful in augmenting circulation, keeping blood pressure under check and also perk up the immune system.

In addition, it has been stated that gumbi gumbi aids in treating angina, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue, diverticulosis, cramps, convulsions and even vein conditions. Since gumbi gumbi possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties, this herb is excellent for treating joint pains, arthritis as well as various other bone and joint diseases.

In addition to being extremely beneficial for people who have been enduring depression, gumbi gumbi has been found to be very helpful for people enduring the condition called Meniere's disease, wherein the patient suffers from vertigo, balance problems, hearing problems and ringing in the ears. In fact, this condition has very few treatments and gumbi gumbi is one effective remedy for it.

It has been found that gumbi gumbi is also useful in treating various skin complaints such as rashes, eczema, psoriasis and several other conditions like acne. In fact, gumbi gumbi is very effective in repairing damaged skin.

Last, but not the least important, it has been established that gumbi gumbi is highly effective in treating emphysema.

Usual dosage

Many people use the leaves of gumbi gumbi to prepare an herbal tea for internal use. You can prepare this tea by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of the herb to every quart of water and allow it to steep for roughly 15 minutes. Keep this herbal tea in a glass jar and store it in a refrigerator. You may drink 120 ml to 150 ml of this tea every day to treat your conditions.

Side effects and cautions

As of now there are no reports of adverse effects or any complication of using gumbi gumbi. There is also no evidence of this herb interacting with other medications. Nevertheless, it is always wise to consult your physician before including this herb in your treatment regimen.

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