Eucalyptus comes from tall evergreen trees, called Eucalyptus radiata, also called Tasmanian Blue Gum Trees, are native to Australia. These trees are the primary food source of koala bears. The primary chemical components of the oil are alpha-terpineol, and eucalyptol. These components make eucalyptus essential oil the ideal oil to promote clear breathing and to open airways. It is also used to create soothing massage experiences.
Eucalyptus is known for its strong, pleasant aroma, and for its purifying properties that can be beneficial for cleansing surfaces and the air, and also for treating skin ailments.
The Aborigines have used eucalyptus, otherwise known as “kino,” for centuries, to heal most wounds. Studies have shown that Eucalyptus is also effective in helping people relax and relieve tension. Among its many uses, eucalyptus oil can be found in mouth washes used to freshen breath and to promote good oral health. You can simply do this yourself, by adding just a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a glass of water.
The first noted botanical collections of eucalyptus was historically recorded to have been made by Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander, and James Cook at Botany Bay, New south Wales, Australia, in 1770. Between 1788 and the start of the 19th century, a number of other species of Eucalyptus were named and published by botanist James Smith.
Today, the eucalyptus oil industry remains an important part of Australian history. It started in 1852, and by the turn of the century was already well established. During the next half century the Australian industry was the major supplier of eucalyptus oil to all major world markets. The production of eucalyptus essential oil has the potential to be both an important rural industry and an interesting tourist attraction.
Today, eucalyptus, ranging from the dwarfed forms, called, “Mallees” to the largest trees, which can be found in Australia's mountainous and coastal regions are classified into more than 600 species. Eucalyptus trees are considered valuable sources of hardwood, as well as valued for their oil. It is distilled using the steam distillation method.
Distillation of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
It takes as much as twelve pounds of eucalyptus twigs and leaves to produce a 50m bottle of eucalyptus essential oil. After harvest, the material is placed into mobile stills and sealed with distillery lids, which are clamped on to assure a proper seal. Steam is connected at the base of the stills, which is used to vaporize the oil.
After being transferred to modern stainless steel condensers, the vapors are condensed into a mixture of water and oil. This mixture is collected and separated. Since the eucalyptus oil is lighter than water, it floats to the top and is decanted off. The oil yield, on average, is approximately 1% of the harvested materials.
The last step in the distillation process is a re-distillation process that removed impurities and results in an entirely natural, organic product. There is no need for artificial flavorings, aromas or additives, and no pesticides or fertilizers are used in the oil's manufacture.
Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Originally referred by to as “eucalyptol” by scientists, the health benefits of eucalyptus oil come from an organic compound called, “cineole”, which has widespread medicinal effects. According to Dr. Axe, of Food is Medicine, eucalyptus essential oil can be used for the following purposes:
- Flu and colds
- Nourishment for hair
- Hand cleaner
- Treatment of allergies and sinus infections
- all-natural cleaning products
- Odor remover
- Air cleanser
- Helps with respiratory problems
- Helps with the healing of wounds
- Soap making
- Treatment of calcium deposits
According to Dr. Axe, eucalyptus essential oil can be used as an expectorant to help cleanse the body of harmful microorganisms and toxins.
A few drops mixed with a carrier oil also acts as an excellent moisturizer for the hair, which effectively treats dandruff and itchy scalp. It can also be used to treat lice, if chemical treatments are found to be undesirable.
Eucalyptus essential oil is excellent for removing grease and grimes from hands and feet, and can help rejuvenate them when mixed into an epsom salt bath.
According to research conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, eucalyptus oil is effective when treating coughs and colds, plaque and gum disease. Further research, conducted by Salari, et al, (2006), found eucalyptus oil effective for helping to treat respiratory tract disorders.
Natural Living Ideas reports that Eucalyptus Oil is an anti-microbial, which makes it perfect for preventing the spread of viral and bacterial infections. It also works well for general cleaning purposes to clean countertops, floors, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, pet areas, diaper pails and more.In its list of beneficial uses for eucalyptus essential oil, the online medical publication, Healthline, mentions using the oil to clear the chest, to silence a cough, as an insect repellent, to disinfect wounds, to treat asthma and sinusitis, to control blood sugar as a potential treatment for diabetes, to soothe cold sores, to freshen the breath and to ease joint pain.
Healthline further notes that many best selling, over-the- counter creams that are used to soothe pain from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis contain eucalyptus essential oil. It works by reducing the inflammation and pain that are associated with many related conditions. It is also used for people who experiene back pain, although one should consult a doctor prior to using it.
Eucalyptus essential oil is often blended with the following oils:
Allergic Reactions and Precautions
Salari MH, Amine G, Shirazi MH, Hafezi R, Mohammadypour M. Antibacterial effects of eucaluyptus globulus leaf extract on pathogenic bacteria isolated from specimens of patients with respiratory tract disorders. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006;12(2):194-6.
The Aborigines have used eucalyptus, otherwise known as “kino,” for centuries, to heal most wounds. Studies have shown that Eucalyptus is also effective in helping people relax and relieve tension. Among its many uses, eucalyptus oil can be found in mouth washes used to freshen breath and to promote good oral health.