Smoking ceremony

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Smoking ceremonies were traditionally performed in some Aboriginal societies following either childbirth or initiation rites involving circumcision.[1] More recently, elements of such ceremonies have been incorporated into Welcome to Country performances.

Research has shown that heating the leaves of Eremophila longifolia (commonly known as the Berrigan emubush or dogwood) produces a smoke that has significant antimicrobial effects. These effects are not observed in the leaves prior to heating. Fumigating a newborn infant, a mother who had just given birth or a boy who had just been circumcised would therefore assist in preventing infection.[2] This aligns with traditional beliefs that the smoke could ward off bad spirits.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Flood, Josephine (2006). The original Australians: story of the Aboriginal people. Allen and Unwin. p. 149.
  2. ^ Sadgrove, NJ; Jones, GL; Greatrex, BW. "Isolation and characterisation of (-)-genifuranal: the principal antimicrobial component in traditional smoking applications of Eremophila longifolia (Scrophulariaceae) by Australian aboriginal peoples". J Ethnopharmacol. 154: 758–66. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.05.003. PMID 24837304.