Monday, December 10, 2012

Sandalwood Oil - Potential Cure for Warts

The hot, north west of Australia seems to be in the middle of a potential new medical breakthrough.

A US company has demonstrated that sandalwood oil, might be a possible cure for warts.  Warts - which most people have somewhere on the body including the genitals, are caused by a virus.  Early trial results indicate that sandalwood oil, applied topically, over a period of a few days, seems to cause the wart to blacken and drop off, with the sandalwood oil apparently moving into the body and removing the virus in the bloodstream such that the warts go away ........not to return.

Much more trial work is needed before any commercial development is approved, but it could rapidly increase the demand for sandalwood oil from current uses - mainly perfumery and similar areas into the medical area. With potential demand increasing quite dramatically.

It is also an area where the oil, rather than any extracts would be used, because of the complexity of the product and a tricky issue to actually identify any very specific molecule as the active agent.  It might  be syngeristic effects anyway, involving a few or many compounds in the oil - and there about 300 of them present.

Sandalwood oil is now produced in and around Kununurra, and production is also being extended to the Katherine area of the NT.  Growing the tree commercially is a tricky project as it is a hemi-parasite requiring both nursery production followed by growth in the field.  A nursery is shown in the photo.  Sandalwood is grown in association with several host plants both in the nursery and in the field, and these vary in different parts of the world where it is produced.  As well as indian sandalwood in the north west, some native sandalwood is also harvested in temperate areas of WA.

It could be a very interesting development, and potentially a considerable profitable industry for the north west region of Australia.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Donkeys Guard the Sheep

Wild dogs, or dingoes here in Australia, cause havoc with sheep production in areas where they are common.  They have also been known to cause losses with young calves.

Many graziers were in despair at how they could control these predators, which were causing at times very significant losses with new lambs.  Baiting is common, but can cause losses of working dogs, as well as other non target species, including native birds.  It is also expensive and hard to organise on much larger areas, typical of the large western area sheep stations.

A new form of biocontrol has emerged.............get a donkey!!!

I jest has been shown that having a donkey in a flock of sheep almost totally prevents the attacks by dingoes on lambs.

The first of an expected emerging trade in what are actually feral donkeys in the NT, has seen several donkeys sent to a Queensland sheep station in the far west to act as a deterrent to attacks by wild dogs.

And more donkeys are expected to be sent interstate over coming months.

The grazier has already noted less problems and the donkeys have settled in well, already much quieter than when they arrived.

It might sound weird.......but it seems to work.