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EucalyptusEucalyptus

 

 

Scientific Names

Eucalyptus globulus L.

Myrtaceae

Myrtle family

 

Common Names

Blue gum 

Blue gum tree 

Fever tree

 

Parts Usually Used

Leaves

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A tall, aromatic evergreen tree of the myrtle family, chiefly native to Australia and Tasmania, bearing pendent leaves and umbels of white, red, or pink flowers and valued for the timber, gum and oil. Among its various species, the blue gum is the one commonly grown in the United States, the trunk, which grows to 300 feet or more, is covered with peeling, papery bark. The leaves on the young plant, up to 5 years old, are opposite, sessile, soft, oblong, pointed, and a hoary blue color. The mature leaves are alternate, petioled, leathery, and shaped like a scimitar. The flowers are solitary, coarse, axillary, and white, with no petals, many white stamens, and a woody calyx. The fruit is a hard, four-celled, bluish, top-shaped, many-seeded capsule enclosed in the calyx cup. Eucalyptus will only grow in warm climates, and does not tolerate frost.

Medicinal Properties

Antiseptic, astringent, tonic, antispasmodic, deodorant, expectorant, stimulant, antibiotic, rubefacient, febrifuge

Biochemical Information

Essential oil with cineole, ellagic and gallic acid, bitter principle, resin, antibiotic properties, tannin, aldehydes, resin

 

Legends, Myths and Stories

Because it grows rapidly, it is used in Africa to drain malarial swamps. The common name given it there is fever tree; indicates that through its help in draining the swamps, the breeding grounds of the malarial (anopheles) mosquito are being eliminated and hence the fever (malaria) is becoming less common. A traditional Aboriginal fever remedy, eucalyptus was introduced to the West in the 19th century by the director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, and cultivation of the tree spread in southern Europe and North America. The properties of the oils from different species vary slightly, but all are very antiseptic. Russian research suggests that some species counteract flu viruses, while others are anti-malarial or highly active against bacteria. The tallest known living eucalyptus tree is 322 ft. and was found in 1956 in the Styx Valley, Tasmania.

Uses

Most eucalyptus medications are made from the greenish-yellow oil obtained from the mature leaves. The oil, or lozenges and cough drops made from it, is useful for lung diseases, sore throat, gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, typhoid, varicose ulcers, worms, colds, croup, diphtheria, malaria, neuralgia, piles, and sore throat. It can be used as a vapor bath and inhaled for asthma and other respiratory ailments, and is an antiseptic bath addition. Its expectorant properties are useful for bronchitis. The oil is also said to be useful for pyorrhea and for burns, to prevent infection. A cold extract made from the leaves is helpful for indigestion and for intermittent fever. Externally, the antiseptic and deodorant qualities of the oil make it suitable for use on purulent (pus filled) wounds, sores, boils, and ulcers. Rubbed on the skin, oil of eucalyptus gives relief from the pain of arthritis, and rheumatism, it increases blood flow to the area, producing a feeling of warmth. The oil is commonly used in steam inhalation for colds and flu, a few whiffs is often all it takes to clear a stuffy nose and a foggy head. Used as a chest rub, as an ointment, it relieves congestion of the lungs. The steam inhaled for the same purpose. One tsp. of the oil in 1/2 pint of warm water, rubbed into the skin, is a powerful insect repellent for man or animals. Dried, finely powdered leaves are used as an insecticide.

 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.