The eucalyptus is a popular Australian remedy that was first introduced to the world by the aborigines as a treatment for many kinds of ailments. Its uses range from treating wounds, suppressing colds, relaxing the mind to repelling insects.
In the 19th century, the Director of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens introduced the eucalyptus plant to the West. Upon which, cultivation of the tree has spread to Europe and North America.
The eucalyptus is a tall, evergreen tree of the myrtle family that is mainly found in Australia and Tasmania. It bears pendent leaves and umbels of white, red or pink flowers. Its value lies in its timber, gum and of course, its oil. One of its species, known as the blue gum eucalyptus, is found in the United States. It has a trunk that grows to 300 feet or more and is covered by peeling papery bark. The leaves, when young, are opposite, sessile, soft, oblong, pointed and have a hoary blue colour. When matured, they are alternate, petioled, leathery and shaped like a scimitar. The flowers are solitary and white, with no petals, many white stamens and a woody calyx.
The eucalyptus has a clear and sharp piercing aroma coupled with a sweet undertone but bitter taste. Like peppermint oil, it feels cool to the touch.
A prominent quality of the eucalyptus is that its cooling effect makes it a febrifuge (substance that reduces body temperature), which is recommended for most kinds of fevers.
The antiseptic nature of the eucalyptus leaf has made it the ideal remedy for most viral infections, respiratory problems, burns, blisters and wounds. Its characteristics are aplenty, from decongesting, analgesic, antiviral to deodorising. When the oil is burned, it is effective in killing most airborne bacteria and viruses.
It improves blood circulation and therefore relieves muscle aches and pains.
Its piercing scent, which is also similar to peppermint, helps to relieve breathing congestions caused by colds and hay fever, which is common in most households. Being an expectorant, eucalyptus is good for relieving chesty coughs.
Its smell may also be used as an insect repellant. The calming effect of eucalyptus also offers emotional benefits to the users. It has a stimulating effect on the nervous system and helps calm a person emotionally.