Eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is an evergreen tree belonging to the Myrtaceae family, it is native to Australia but has been cultivated all over the world for over a century. In Italy it is typical of the Mediterranean area.
The name derives from the Greek "eu" which means "good" and "kalщpto" which means hidden and refers to the particular shape of the flower which is without petals but hidden in a sort of membrane.
The Eucalyptus is a very tall tree. The stem can reach 90 meters in height and 2 meters in diameter. It is characterized by reddish-yellow or, in some cases, bluish bark that separates the longitudinal plates. Depending on the age of the tree, the leaves change appearance: in the younger plants they are oval, without a peduncle and welded together in pairs at the base, they are glabrous and light green in color, with silvery reflections. Their aroma is very strong, almost pungent if they are rubbed until the essence comes out. The less young leaves are sharp and of a darker color.
The rather showy flowers have different colors depending on the species: white, cream yellow, pink or red.
The fruit is a greyish-white woody capsule with a diameter of 1-2 centimeters which, when ripe, opens and releases its seed.
Eucalyptus leaves produce an essential oil with a very strong aroma that is used in pharmacy, herbal medicine and phytotherapy for its therapeutic virtues.
The aboriginal populations of Australia who first knew this plant and its properties, planted the tree inside the marshy areas with the intent of reclaiming them. During the summer, in fact, the essential oil that evaporated from its leaves as well as removing the mosquitoes, caused an optical effect so that the plants seemed wrapped in a bluish halo. This is why the expression "Australian blue forests" was born.
PROPERTIES AND BENEFITS OF EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL
Eucalyptus essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of fresh and partially dried leaves and twigs. It is characterized by a fresh and balsamic scent, with woody notes. The consistency is fluid and oily, transparent in color, slightly tending to light yellow. It is chemically composed of 70% eucalyptol.
Used for both indoor and outdoor use, it has multiple beneficial effects on the human body:
- It stimulates the logical faculties: inhaling affects psychic and intellectual level helping to recover concentration and mental lucidity. It gives energy, promotes learning and shakes from laziness and indolence.
- Purifies the air: diffused in the environments it counteracts the spread of viruses and bacteria and perfumes the environments.
- Decongest the repiratory pathways in cases of pathological, inflammatory and irritative states of the nasal mucosa and throat. Fluidizes the phlegm, acts as an expectorant, calms cough and sore throat and heals flu states.
-For its sudorific properties, it is able to bring down the body temperature rapidly.
- It performs an antiseptic and antibacterial action in cases of urogenital infections such as cystitis, candidiasis, leucoree, during which it also has a perfuming effect.
- Used externally, through massages and in combination with sweet almond oil, it has properties stimulated on the circulatory system of the lower limbs, refreshing and reactivating the circulation of tired legs, swollen feet and ankles.
- It stimulates the central nervous system and is an excellent adjuvant in the treatment of anemia, asthenia and chronic fatigue.
-It is a natural healing agent in case of burns, wounds, insect bites, sores, herpes, rashes.
- Combats dandruff and scalp seborrhea.
- Being a perfuming agent, it is often used in cosmetics in products such as deodorants, foot baths, intimate cleansers, shampoos, toothpastes.
-It can be used in the kitchen for the preparation of eucalyptus grappa or honey, to emphasize its balsamic and soothing properties.
METHOD OF USE OF EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL
Internal use: 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a teaspoon of honey (on a full stomach), taken 2 or 3 times a day, are useful for treating respiratory diseases such as colds, asthma, phlegm and bronchitis .
Inhalations: 10-15 drops of essential oil diluted in hot water are useful for fumigations and aromatherapy.
External use: The essential oil can be diluted with jojoba oil and sweet almond oil (or in alcohol solution), with a ratio of 5 to 100 and used for massages in tired legs or temples in case of sinusitis and headache. It can also be diluted in the water of the tank (20-30 drops) in which you dive, for relaxing baths.
Topical use: a few drops on a wound or an insect bite can soothe itching and burn and heal quickly.
Eucalyptus essential oil: CONTRAINDICATIONS
The essential oil of eucalyptus is not recommended in case of gastrointestinal inflammation or to those who are sensitive to these phenomena, it can in fact cause disorders of the digestive system.
It is also not recommended for children under the age of two and for the elderly as it can cause irritability and toxicity. For the same reason, it is not recommended to take it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In any case it is preferable to take the essence of eucalyptus orally only if strictly necessary.