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Eucalyptus globulus

Eucalyptus globulus (Myrtaceae)

BLUE GUM, EUCALYPTUS, TASMANIAN BLUE GUM

 

This gum tree, like many Australian gums, provides oil from its leaves that is widely used in many forms of medicine for coughs, colds, and strained muscles.

 

Eucalyptus, or gum trees, are the most characteristic feature of the Australian flora. Yorkshireman and Australian emigrant, Joseph Bosito, first discovered the volatile oils in eucalyptus in 1848, and began distilling them. Commercial production started in Victoria in 1860 and, since then, out of the 300 species discovered, 30 have found medicinal use. The tree's amazing ability to dry out marshy soil also led to its use in eradicating the malaria mosquito in Africa, southern Europe, and India. Eucalyptus grows to 115 m (375 ft) and has a smooth blue-grey trunk, and long, narrow, leathery leaves with a bluish-green hue and many oil glands. Flowering during late summer, it also produces fruit shaped like spinning tops and coated with powdery wax.

 

PARTS USED

Oil from leaves.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Volatile oil containing mainly 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), terpineole, and pinene; polyphenolic acids, including caffeic and gallic; flavonoids, including eucalyptin, hyperoside, and rutin.

 

ACTIONS

Antiseptic; reduces muscle tension and spasm; expectorant; stimulant; reduces or prevents fever.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used as an ingredient of cough mixtures and other pharmaceutical preparations. It is also given as an inhalant and applied externally as a vapour rub for colds, other chest infections, and bruised or strained muscles.

 

PREPARATIONS

Essential oil, tincture, rub, pharmaceutical preparations.    

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