Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus sp.

Medicinal Uses

Native to Australia, the Eucalyptus is a traditional Aboriginal remedy for a variety of ailments. Today, it is used worldwide in pills, liquids, inhalers, salves, and ointments for many common problems.

As a medicine, eucalyptus is anti almost everything antispasmodic, antibiotic, antiseptic and antifungal. The Arabs found that a few drops combined with wine and applied externally would dispel strong odors from wounds and growths. The oils are combined with other ingredients for cough inhalants, chest rubs, ointments, lozenges and gargles. The oils react with many common drugs and may produce side effects. The pungent odor of eucalyptus oil antidotes homeopathic remedies. The Aborigines also made leaf poultices to dress wounds. The antiseptic properties of the volatile oils were later recognized in Europe during the 19th century when doctors soaked bandages and surgical instruments in a eucalyptus solution.

Eucalyptus oils are used in Turkish baths, saunas and spas for their healing vapors and muscle-relaxant properties. For an antiseptic bath, place Eucalyptus leaves in a mesh bag and hang under the bath faucet as you run a hot bath.

Internally, Eucalyptus appears to help relieve symptoms of colds, flu, chest congestion, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. For internal use, Eucalyptus can be made into a tea or tincture. See "Herbal Teas" for complete instructions on teas. Teas can also be used as a gargle for relief of sore throat. To make a tincture, place 200 grams of dried or 300 grams of fresh Eucalyptus leaves in a large sterilized jar. Cover completely with rum or vodka, seal, and let sit 10-14 days, shaking the jar every few days. After two weeks, place a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over the mouth of the jar and strain the contents into a new sterilized jar. Squeeze the soaked herb to get as much of the mixture as possible. Store in a dark place and take 1 teaspoon mixed with juice or water 2-3 times per day.

Externally, the antiseptic, slightly anesthetic, anti-bacterial, and warming properties of Eucalyptus make it a valuable resource treatment of burns, sores, ulcers, scrapes, boils, and wounds. Applied topically as an oil or ointment, it also helps relieve the pain of rheumatism, aching, pains, stiffness, and neuralgia. For outdoor enthusiasts, Eucalyptus rubbed into the skin seems to work well as an insect repellant, especially for mosquitoes and fleas. Rubbed into the chest, it relieves congestion and cough. For relief of congestion, asthma, and respiratory problems, boil Eucalyptus leaves in water in a tightly covered pot, and then remove from heat and inhale the vapors.

Caution: Eucalyptus appears to be somewhat difficult to eliminate from the kidneys, so if you have kidney or liver problems, or if you are pregnant, it would be best to avoid it or use in extreme moderation. Care should be taken if taking continuously for more than a few days at a time.

Other Uses

Some insect repellents are made from lemon eucalyptus; they are very smelly, but fairly effective. These insect repellants should only be used by those over three years old. Some experienced naturalists recommend sleeping on eucalyptus leaves in more primitive areas to avoid human fleas, which occur on the west coasts of continents. The indigenous aborigines used its gum, resin, oil and nectar. Even the roots were a valued source of life-giving water.Oils from the leaves and resins from the bark are used in medicine, in mining and in perfumes. Eucalyptus globulus earned the name Fever Tree because its thirsty roots could dry up a wetland making the area free from malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The leaves, which have sedative properties, were used to make fish easier to catch.