HISTORY OF EUCALYPTUS OIL
The Eucalyptus Tree is commonly associated with koala bears, as Eucalyptus leaves are their main 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 is 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 early English settler’s thumb was accidentally cut by an ax, 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 thereafter, leaves from the Eucalyptus radiata species began to be distilled.
Although 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 popular essential oil that is used in vapor rubs, rash creams, inhalers, ointments, and in dental hygiene products to support the respiratory system, to enhance oral health, and to soothe physical discomforts.
BENEFITS OF EUCALYPTUS OIL
Eucalyptus Essential Oil’s active chemical components contribute to its reputation as a purifying, cleansing, clarifying, and immune-boosting oil that is ideal for use on skin and in aromatherapy. It is known for its ability to reduce or eliminate harmful surface and airborne bacteria, and infections upon contact. It facilitates easy breathing, enhances feelings of relaxation, creates a refreshing feeling when used in massages, soothes nervous tension, and helps clear the mind, among its various other benefits. These healing benefits can be attributed to the oil’s anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and stimulating qualities, among other valuable properties.
The main constituents of Eucalyptus Oil are: α-Terpineol, 1,8-cineole (Eucalyptol), α-pinene, β-pinene, Sabinene, Camphene, Limonene, p-Cymene, Camphor, Globulol, Citronellal, α-phellandrene, Aromadendrene, and Piperitone.