Updated: Jan 9
The History of Eucalyptus
The Eucalyptus Tree is commonly associated with koala bears, as Eucalyptus leaves are their primary source of food. Most of the 700 varieties of Eucalyptus grow like trees while others grow like shrubs. The tree goes by several nicknames such as Fever Tree, Blue Gum Tree, and Stringy Bark Tree, depending on its location in the world. Despite the multiplicity of Eucalyptus varieties, they share common characteristics including their fresh, crisp, clean, sweet and camphoraceous scents, which are sometimes further described as having hints of lemon, peppermint, or woody nuances. The shared trait that they are best known for, however, is the beneficial healing properties of their leaves, which have made this tree’s essential oils widely used as a traditional and natural medicine for centuries. First used by the Aboriginal people of Australia, who referred to it as “kino” and used it to heal most wounds, Eucalyptus leaves were made into infusions and used to treat body pains, colds, sinus congestions, and fevers, hence the nickname Fever Tree.
An English legend narrates the first use of Eucalyptus tree leaves for medicinal purposes. When an axe accidentally cut an early English settler's thumb, his father advised him to apply a bandage made of bound Eucalyptus leaves around the stitched cut; something he had learned from studying Aboriginal folk medicine. A surgeon that later examined the wound was impressed by the speed of healing and the absence of infection in the finger. As stories like this spread throughout Australia, pharmacists began developing a plan to produce Eucalyptus Oil commercially. Shortly after that, leaves from the Eucalyptus Radiata species started to be distilled.
Even though Australia is the origin and the leading source of Eucalyptus Oil, the Eucalyptus tree and its essential oil production spread to other parts of the world including Brazil, Europe, Greece, China, and India. It was used for its disinfectant and expectorant properties in Chinese, Greek, European, and Ayurvedic medicine. Of the 700 species of Eucalyptus throughout the world, approximately 500 of them produce an essential oil, and global Eucalyptus Oil production is mainly from the Eucalyptus globulus species, more commonly known as 'Blue Gum'. In the 1880s, surgeons began using Eucalyptus Oil in operations due to its antiseptic properties. Today, Eucalyptus continues to be a favourite essential oil that is used in vapour rubs, rash creams, inhalers, ointments, and in dental hygiene products to support the respiratory system, to enhance oral health, and to soothe physical discomforts.
Eucalyptus in Numbers
Price The price of Eucalyptus Blue Gum is very affordable! A 10ml bottle will only cost you as little as £1.50, and a whole kilogram works out around £46.96! It is not the cheapest essential oil available, but in the grand scheme of things, it is excellent value for money.
Scent Eucalyptus Blue Gum has a minty, vibrant and refreshing aroma. I wouldn't say it has the most appealing smell in the world, but it's biggest appeal is to do with its variety of uses.
Strength Eucalyptus carries a tenacious odour, that is all too familiar. It is very potent indeed and can't be confused with any other oil. It's so strong it is usually found in most balms.
Uses The uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and sprays, to name a few suggestions for homemade products.
When you inhale the scent of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, receptors in the brain, process the smell as refreshing. A few drops of this invigorating oil placed in the hand while showering can be inhaled to promote a sense of vitality. Eucalyptus Oil’s expectorant properties also make it useful in facilitating the relief of congestion and respiratory tract infections. For relief from congestion, mix a few drops in a steaming bowl of hot water and lean over it to inhale the aromatic vapours with a towel draped over the head and deep bowl for a few minutes. The eyes should be closed to prevent irritation. It has traditionally been used to relieve the discomforts associated with fatigue, headaches, colds, sinusitis, mucous congestion, muscle aches and pains, and asthma.
As a disinfecting air spray, Eucalyptus Essential Oil acts as a natural, anti-microbial, non-toxic air freshener that removes bacteria, viruses, and mould from the environment. Diluted with water, this spray can freshen the room and eliminate the body odours trapped in shoes and sports gear. A surface cleaning agent can be made by combining Eucalyptus Oil with Lemon and Peppermint Essential Oils and then diluting the blend with water before using it on kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
When diluted with a carrier oil and used topically in a moisturiser or blended massage oil, Eucalyptus Essential Oil’s stimulating properties may help to revitalise the skin and tired muscles. Eucalyptus is known to have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, this soothing oil provides relief to minor burns, sores, bites, and cuts by decreasing pain, inhibiting bleeding, eliminating bacteria from the wound, and promoting the closing of scars. Diluted in a warm bath, Eucalyptus Essential Oil may relieve respiratory discomfort and dermal inflammation.
Popularity Cypress French Essential Oil is well known tenacious and spicy scent. It is used in many pharmaceutical products and is an important fragrance component in colognes, after-shaves and perfumes. It also has a number of beneficial uses, and the price is pretty good too, making this a rather popular essential oil indeed!
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