Could You Fight Ageing with an Australian Bush Plum?

An Australian bush fruit contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could slow the ageing process. This is according to researchers at Southern Cross University, who believe the Davidson’s plum, found in rainforests in the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales, may hold the key to anti-ageing wellness.

As a result, local researchers have been commissioned to start human trials into the plum’s effectiveness by vitamin company Blackmores and Australian manufacturer Native Extracts. For two weeks, roughly 40 participants will take an 100ml dose of a water-based plum extract every day, which is the equivalent of eating four Davidson’s plums on a daily basis. Commonly known as the Mullumbimby plum, the fruit had been a staple diet to indigenous Australians for years.

According to Professor Stephen Myers, from the university’s Southern Cross Plant Science department, this is an exciting opportunity to investigate the wellbeing benefits of the bush food. ‘Davidson’s plum has a long history of use as a food, both by indigenous people and early settlers in Australia, and is now grown commercially for human consumption in jam, wine, ice-cream and sauces,’ he said.

He continued, ‘Laboratory studies have confirmed the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the plum, suggesting that it may be beneficial in stopping oxidative damage, which is a major cause of cell ageing. We are now testing it in humans to explore this potential.’ The professor added that the researchers will use blood tests to measure the antioxidant levels of participants, as well as tracking whether the plum provides any benefits in mood, fatigue and muscle function.

The native plum tree is considered endangered in the wild, but is widely cultivated on the Tweed. Usually, it is approximately 5m tall and fruits in clusters on the trunk over Christmas. At this time of year, the plums are often harvested for jams but national park Tropical Fruit World was is one of the few places to still have plums still on the tree. Park manager Aymon Gow said he had no idea the tangy plum could be used in anti-ageing, but rather it simply makes for a great ingredient. ‘It’s really sour but it’s a great flavour when used in something sweet like jams,’ he said.

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