Eucalyptus, a traditional Aboriginal remedy, is a powerful antiseptic used all over the world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats, and other infections. It is warming and stimulating, and for many people its scent conjures up days spent in bed during childhood with eucalyptus and other oils smothered on the chest. Eucalpytus is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Australia, eucalyptus is cultivated in plantations in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas of the world. Planting can cause ecological problems because the trees absorb huge quantities of water and prevent the growth of native plants. This can be beneficial, however, drying up marshy areas and so reducing the risk of malaria. The leaves are harvested as required and are either dried or distilled for oil.
Many other Eucalyptus species contain valuable essential oils, including E. smithii.
- Volatile oil (cineole, up to 80%)
- Stimulates local blood flow
- Insect repellent
Essential oil: Extensive research into eucalyptus essential oil during the last 50 years has shown it to have a marked antiseptic action and the ability to dilate the bronchioles (small airways) of the lungs. The action of the essential oil as a whole is stronger than that of its main constituent, cineole.
Traditional & Current Uses
Infections: Eucalyptus is a traditional Aboriginal remedy for infections and fevers. It is now used throughout the world for these ailments.
Antiseptic: The herb is an antiseptic and is very helpful for colds, flu, and sore throats.
Expectorant: Eucalyptus is a strong expectorant, suitable for chest infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
Warming: The diluted essential oil, applied to the skin as a chest or sinus rub, has a warming and slightly anesthetic effect, helping to relieve respiratory infections. The same effect occurs when the infusion or tincture is used as a gargle.
Pain relief: Diluted essential oil applied to the affected area can help relieve rheumatic joints characterized by aching pains and stiffness, as well as neuralgia and some bacterial skin infections.