Eucalyptus: Australia’s Marvelous Medicine

Eucalyptus globulus is a tree native to Tasmania and mainland Australia. There are about 300 different species of Eucalyptus, making it one of the most common genera of the Australian flora.

The Eucalyptus Tree

Eucalyptus has leaves that are leathery to the touch hanging obliquely or vertically from its stem. These leaves have various glands that secrete fragrant volatile oil which can be used for various medicinal purposes.

When in bud, eucalyptus blossoms are covered in a cup-like membrane, hence the name which translates to “well-covered.” In full bloom, the flower full expands and the “lid” of the membrane falls off. The eucalyptus fruit is held in a cup-shaped, woody receptacle that also contains many tiny seeds.

Eucalyptus trees grow rapidly. Many of its species grow to a height of 480 feet, surpassing even that of the California giant sequoia. Eucalyptus trees render timber but they are all the more valuable for the oil they produce. The oils derived from eucalyptus leaves are roughly divided into three classes of commercial significance: the medicinal oils, the industrial oils, and the aromatic oils.

Therapeutic Oils

Oil is removed from eucalyptus leaves by aqueous distillation. It is a colorless or straw-colored liquid material with a characteristic odor and taste and soluble in its own weight of alcohol. Likely the most powerful antiseptic of its class, eucalyptus oil has decided disinfectant action. It is most potent when it’s aged and it can destroy the lower forms of life.

The most important component of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol. E. globulus species contains up to 70 percent eucalyptol, making it a capable disinfectant.

When taken internally, eucalyptus oil acts like a typical volatile oil to a remarkable degree. The oil is a stimulant and is sometimes used as an antiseptic gargle. Applied topically, eucalyptus oil can diminish sensibility and increase cardiac action. The natural antiseptic properties of eucalyptus oil may provide some response against malaria; however it is not as powerful as cinchona, a more traditional anti-malarial remedy.

The ability to balance and stimulate are two of the significant effects of eucalyptus. The middle note aroma is suggestive of camphorous and woody scents, making it an important ingredient in nasal inhalants and aromatherapy products. Eucalyptus provides several medicinal properties, making it useful as an antiviral, analgesic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and a stimulant.

Eucalyptus can be put to use as an air disinfectant and a decongestant. It is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, treat burns, cuts, influenza, and headaches. The powerful aroma of eucalyptus acts as an effective insect repellant. It may also treat muscle aches, rheumatism, sinusitis, skin ulcers, urinary infections, and wounds.

Eucalyptus Steam Inhalations

Steam inhalations can be very beneficial as they all hot, moist air to enter the respiratory tract. Eucalyptus is a natural choice for steam inhalations, as it is widely regarded for its decongestant properties. Using the oil as a steam inhalation can help to unblock sinuses and nasal passages.

To make a eucalyptus steam inhalation, you need the following materials: kettle with boiling water, oil (E. globulus), sheet or large towel, and sizable bowl or container.

When you’ve assembled all of the materials, carefully pour about four to six cups of boiling water into the large bowl. Mix in three drops of eucalyptus oil. Place your head over the bowl with your eyes cast downward and your face shielded by the sheet or towel. Close your eyes and inhale deeply and slowly. Continue breathing in the eucalyptus vapors until your nasal passages are cleared, about fifteen minutes.