Eucalyptus2018-06-15T11:22:47+00:00

Eucalyptus

EucalyptusEucalyptus, which belongs to the Myrtaceae family, is an evergreen and one of the world’s tallest trees. The young tree has oval bluish-green leaves, while the mature trees have long, narrow, yellowish leaves. Eucalyptus has creamy-white flowers and a smooth, pale grey bark. When the flowers are in bud, they are covered by a cap-like membrane. This membrane led to the tree’s common name, derived from the Greek eucalyptosmeaning well covered. There are hundreds of different species of eucalyptus however, eucalyptus globulus, or the blue-gum variety, is the most widely cultivated and produced. Eucalyptus originated in Australia and Tasmania but has since been exported to other parts of the world. The essential oil is obtained from the leaves through steam distillation and while the eucalyptus oils are similar with similar aromas, properties and chemical components they are different.

Eucalyptus globulus is the eucalyptus oil most commonly known and described in aromatherapy books. Eucalyptus globulus, commonly known as blue gum, has a strong campherlike odour. Its major chemical components are 1,8-cineole (up to 80%), alpha-pinene, limonene and globulol. Psychologically eucalyptus globulus has uplifting and anti-depressant properties. One can consider its use for times one needs to focus or clear the head. On the physiological level eucalyptus globulus has analgesic, anti-rheumatic,antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant and mucolytic properties and its use could be considered for colds and flu, to stimulate circulation and muscular aches and pains.
Contraindications: On skin non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising. Can be toxic when taken internally. Do not use with small children.

Eucalyptus radiata has a much lighter and to many a much more attractive aroma than eucalyptus globulus. Its major chemical components are 1,8-cineole, limonene, alpha-pinene and para-cymene. Psychologically eucalyptus radiata has an uplifting properties and could be considered for headaches. On the physiological level eucalyptus radiata has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and expectorant properties. Kurt Schnaubelt considers it to be highly effective in treating coughing, sniffles and hoarse, scratchy throats. Considered a good choice for upper respiratory problems.
Contraindications: No formal testing however Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs suggest that it is unlikely to present any hazard in aromatherapy. Do not take internally.

Eucalyptus smithii also has a much lighter aroma than eucalyptus globulus. It is considered to be the mildest of the eucalyptus oils. Its major chemical components are 1,8-cineole (up to 80%), alpha-pinene, globulol and terpinen-4-ol. There is not much information on the psychological uses of this oil, however on the physiological level it has mucolytic and anti-infectious properties and can be considered for use with coughs, colds, flu and throat infections. Eucalyptus smithii can be both a stimulant and a relaxant, and will adapt according to the body’s needs. Eucalyptus smithii is recommended for long term use in protection and prevention. This eucalyptus is considered better for children and sensitive people.
Contraindications: No formal testing however Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs suggest that it is unlikely to present any hazard in aromatherapy. Do not take internally.

Eucalyptus citriodora, commonly known as lemon eucalyptus, has a persistent, pleasant, fresh-lemony aroma. Its major chemical components are citronellal (around 57%) and citronellol (about 8%). Psychologically it can be very soothing and calming. Physiologically it has antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, insect repellant and sedative properties and could be consider to use for colds and infections, athlete’s foot, rheumatism and muscular aches and pains.
Contraindications: Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Do not take internally. It is often used as a fragrance component (instead of eucalyptus globulus) in perfumes,detergents and soaps. It can also be used in room sprays and as an insect repellent.

Eucalyptus blends well with basil, cajeput, cedarwood, frankincense, ginger, juniper,lavender, lemon, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, pine, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and thyme.


Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Gaia Books Limited, London, 1996.
Kurt Schnaubelt, Advanced Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, 1998.
Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs, Essential Oil Safety Churchill Livingston, New York, NY, 1995.

 

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