Lilly Pilly

The Lilly Pilly – Syzygium Luehmannii, is a member of the myrtle family and is related to the guava, feijoa, allspice, clove and eucalyptus. All of the species are woody and contain essential oils.

Lilly Pilly is also commonly known as riberry, cherry satinash, cherry alder, or clove Lilly Pilly. The Bundjalung people of the Byron Bay area call the fruit Ngwan, around Sydney the word ‘Midjuburi’ is used for Lilly Pilly.

The tree is native to Australia and likes volcanic or deep sandy soils in coastal rainforest. It grows along the coastline of NSW and produces edible, pinkish purple berries during Autumn. The fruit is also eaten by the fig bird, emu and flying fox.

The berry has a tart, cranberry-like flavour, with a hint of cloves. It has been popular as a gourmet bushfood since the early 1980s and is commercially cultivated on a small-scale basis. The fruit is most commonly used to make jam and is also used in sauces, syrups and confectionery or can be eaten and enjoyed straight off the tree. 

Lilly Pilly has been used by the traditional owners of the land to fight illnesses and strengthen their immune system due to the healing and antibacterial properties, they also ate the berries, when in season, for the high vitamin C content. 

Aside from being high in vitamin C, Lilly Pilly contains folate, manganese, calcium & potassium and fruit acids in the form of Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s).  Because it is rich in nutrients and anti-aging properties, it has become a desired ingredient in skin and hair care products. 

Fruit Acids (a type of AHA) are used in skincare to enhance the skin’s complexion. They remove superficial layers of dehydrated skin cells, which promote new cell regeneration. It can help with the appearance of acne scars and can assist with preventing future breakouts. AHA’s have also been shown to hydrate and promote skin firmness and thickness. 

Lilly Pilly is anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation, which speeds up healing of wounds. Using hair products that contain Lilly Pilly could help diminish swelling and the likelihood of scalp issues.

Lilly Pilly has good astringent properties that improve firmness of the skin, while its high vitamin C and fruit acid content have great anti-ageing effects to keep skin looking radiant and youthful, Lilly Pilly is also a natural source of gentle AHA.

As well as its astringent properties, Lilly Pilly is also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins (a type of compound found in red and purple pigmented produce) that help create a protective barrier against free radicals and oxidative stress. Studies have shown that Lilly Pilly has twice the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of blueberries.

When used in hair care it adds moisture to dry, damaged hair and helps purify hair and restore bounce to naturally wavy and curly hair. Because of its antioxidant properties it also makes a good skin purifier

I originally chose Lilly Pilly for the Less Than Three – Naturally shampoo bars because it was a native Australian botanical that had great benefits for hair. I didn’t realise until I recently began researching more information about the ingredient, how popular it is in hair care products. Nature is amazing!


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