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Plant identification guides:
Bush tucker food forest

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.


As with all medicinal applications of Australian bush foods, please do your due diligence and consult with First Nations or other Australian herbal specialists before utilising as a remedy for any condition.


Some parts of the plant may not be edible or some may need preparation before they are safe to eat or use in any way. We do our best to describe their traditional & modern uses. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure they are fit for their intended use.


We can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Honey myrtle

Scientific name:

Other Names:

Melaleuca thymifolia

Thyme honey-myrtle, Thyme-leaf Honey-myrtle


Myrtaceae (Myrtle family, includes Lilly pilly, Tea tree, clove, guava and eucalyptus)

Honey myrtle

Basic info:

Honey Myrtle is an Australian native plant with beautiful flowers and aromatic leaves. It is a low, spreading evergreen shrub that is native to Eastern Australia, from Pigeon House Mountain in New South Wales, north to south-eastern Queensland with a separate population in the Carnarvon Range in central Queensland.

It tends to be found in moister areas in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest and well as swampy shrublands, often on moist-sandy to alluvial soils.

It typically grows to about 1-1.5 meters tall and wide, with dense, rounded foliage. The plant has delicate reddish young stems and blue-green foliage, both spicily aromatic (resembling thyme) when bruised or crushed.

The Honey Myrtle gets its name from the sweet nectar produced by its flowers. Flowers are rich mauve in spring and summer and bluish-purple in early winter, flowers often open eight months of the year, freely around late November and then slowly till autumn when another flush occurs (i.e. they bloom throughout the year, but most prolifically in spring and summer). There are several white and pink varieties.

Thyme Honey Myrtle is a magnet for beneficial insects such as butterflies and bees. These pollinators play a crucial role in the ecosystem by aiding in the reproduction of plants. By attracting these insects, Thyme Honey Myrtle helps support the overall health and biodiversity of your garden.

Origin of scientific name: The specific epithet (thymifolia) is a reference to the similarity of the leaves of this species to the leaves of Thymus (thyme) in the family Lamiaceae). Melaleuca…from Greek melas; black and leukos; white, referring to its bark which is pale and papery with black edging as it peels.

Uses and Interesting Information:

The flowers of Melaleuca varieties produce sweet nectar and you can suck the nectar out, or soak the flowers in water to make a sweet drink - a truly Australian sweet “lemonade”.

The leaves and flowers can also be used in cooking. The leaves can be infused in vinegar or oil to add a thyme-like flavour, while the flowers can be used to make a sweet syrup or jelly.

Honey Myrtle has been used in traditional Aboriginal medicine for a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and wounds.

The Thyme-like leaves have a medicinal value, like most melaleucas. The essential oil can be used as an antiseptic with antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiviral properties.

Here are some of the medicinal uses of Thyme Honey Myrtle:

  • Respiratory health: Thyme Honey Myrtle possesses expectorant and antitussive properties, making it beneficial for respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, and bronchitis. It can help soothe coughs, reduce congestion, and promote clearer breathing.

  • Immune system support: Thyme Honey Myrtle is rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds that can help support a healthy immune system. It aids in combating harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, reducing the risk of infections.

  • Digestive aid: The leaves of Thyme Honey Myrtle contain compounds that can help soothe digestive discomfort, including bloating, indigestion, and stomach cramps. It may also have antimicrobial properties that can help fight certain gastrointestinal infections.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Thyme Honey Myrtle possesses anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with conditions like arthritis and muscle soreness. Topical application of Thyme Honey Myrtle-infused oils or creams may provide relief.

  • Antioxidant activity: The antioxidants present in Thyme Honey Myrtle can help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and protecting against cellular damage. This may contribute to overall health and well-being.

with any natural remedy, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using Thyme Honey Myrtle for medicinal purposes. They can provide personalized advice and ensure it is safe and suitable for your specific needs.

Thyme Honey Myrtle’s beneficial properties extend to the realm of skincare. The extracts and essential oils derived from this shrub are valued for their skincare benefits. Here’s how Thyme Honey Myrtle can enhance your skincare routine:

  • Antibacterial action: Thyme Honey Myrtle has natural antibacterial properties that can help combat acne-causing bacteria and prevent breakouts. It can be used in facial cleansers, toners, or spot treatments to promote clearer and healthier skin.

  • Antioxidant protection: The antioxidants present in Thyme Honey Myrtle help protect the skin from oxidative stress caused by environmental factors such as pollution and UV radiation. This can help reduce the signs of aging and maintain a youthful appearance.

  • Soothing and calming: Thyme Honey Myrtle possesses soothing properties, making it beneficial for sensitive or irritated skin. It can help reduce redness, inflammation, and itchiness, providing relief to those with skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis.

  • Aromatherapy benefits: The sweet honey-like aroma of Thyme Honey Myrtle essential oil can promote relaxation and relieve stress. Incorporating it into your skincare routine can provide a sensory experience that uplifts the mind and enhances overall well-being.

When using Thyme Honey Myrtle in skincare products, it is important to choose reputable brands that prioritise quality and sustainability. Conduct patch tests before applying new products to ensure they are suitable for your skin type and do not cause any adverse reactions.

Thyme Honey Myrtle’s captivating fragrance makes it a popular choice in aromatherapy. The essential oil extracted from this shrub possesses therapeutic properties that can benefit both the mind and body. Here’s how Thyme Honey Myrtle can enhance your aromatherapy experience:

  • Stress relief: Inhaling the sweet honey-like aroma of Thyme Honey Myrtle essential oil can help reduce stress and anxiety. It promotes relaxation, uplifts the mood, and provides a sense of calm and tranquillity.

  • Improved focus: The aroma of Thyme Honey Myrtle can help improve concentration and mental clarity. Diffusing the essential oil in your workspace or study area can enhance productivity and enhance cognitive function.

  • Respiratory support: Thyme Honey Myrtle essential oil possesses expectorant properties, making it beneficial for respiratory conditions. Inhalation of the aroma can help soothe coughs, reduce congestion, and promote clearer breathing.

  • Aphrodisiac effects: The enchanting aroma of Thyme Honey Myrtle is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. It can help create a romantic and intimate atmosphere, enhancing sensuality and intimacy.

When using Thyme Honey Myrtle essential oil for aromatherapy, ensure that you dilute it properly and follow safety guidelines. Some individuals may be sensitive or have allergies to certain essential oils, so it is important to perform a patch test before using it extensively.


The leaves and flowers of Honey Myrtle can be used in cooking in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:

  • Herbal teas: Infuse Thyme Honey Myrtle leaves in hot water to create a refreshing herbal tea. The leaves impart a subtle, citrus-like flavour with hints of thyme and honey, providing a soothing and aromatic beverage.

  • Infuse honey or vinegar with the leaves: To make thyme-infused honey, simply add a handful of fresh Honey Myrtle leaves to a jar of honey and let it steep for a few weeks. You can use this honey to glaze roasted vegetables, add to marinades, or enjoy on its own. To make thyme-infused vinegar, follow the same process but use vinegar instead of honey. This vinegar can be used in salad dressings, marinades, or to deglaze a pan.

  • Use the flowers to make a syrup or jelly: The flowers of Honey Myrtle can be used to make a sweet syrup or jelly. To make syrup, simply simmer the flowers in water with sugar until the sugar dissolves. Strain the syrup and store it in the refrigerator. To make jelly, follow the same process but add pectin to the mixture.

  • Flavour enhancer: Finely chop or crush Thyme Honey Myrtle leaves to release their aromatic oils. Use them as a flavourful addition to marinades, dressings, sauces, or soups. The leaves add a delicate, herbal note that complements both sweet and savory dishes.

  • Baking: Incorporate Thyme Honey Myrtle leaves into baked goods such as cakes, cookies, or bread. The unique flavour profile adds a pleasant twist to traditional recipes and can elevate the overall taste experience.

  • Use the flowers to garnish dishes:  Sprinkle fresh Thyme Honey Myrtle flowers over salads, desserts, or cocktails to add a visual and aromatic touch. The vibrant purple flowers create an attractive contrast and lend a subtle honey-like aroma.

Additional tips:

When using Honey Myrtle in cooking, start with a small amount and add more to taste, as the flavour can be quite strong. Experiment and let your taste buds guide you to discover new and exciting ways to incorporate this versatile shrub into your culinary creations.

Honey Myrtle is best used fresh, but it can also be dried and stored in an airtight container for later use.

Be sure to identify the plant correctly before using it, as there are other plants that look similar but are not edible.

The flowers also attract bees, so Honey Myrtle can be planted near beehives to produce honey with a unique flavour.

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