Eucalyptus is an old tree with a history of thousands of years. It was officially discovered in 1642. The eucalyptus plant was first discovered on the island of Tasmania (off the coast of Australia) by a reconnaissance team. They reported finding a tree that secreted gum. Abel Johnson Magazine, on December 2, 1642, published their statement.
If you think you have never seen this tree, you are probably wrong. Do you remember seeing on TV the koalas chewing leaves and the old gummy trees that the kookaburra sings on? Yes, you have seen this magnificent tree over and over. Moreover, you have probably benefited from it as well. Different parts of the eucalyptus plant are used to produce perfume, decoration, aromatherapy, cosmetics, food, beverages, and herbal medicine.
Eucalyptus is native to Australia. It forms dense forests with a height of 145 metres. Eucalyptus trunk circumference reaches 25 metres, and its wood is tough and resistant to rotting. Its skin is yellowish-brown and can be easily removed from the stem. The colour of the leaves depends on the tree’s age (initially bluish-green and, over time, whitish-green). The eucalyptus plant is available in two forms- deciduous and marigold.
Eucalyptus Plant Uses
Eucalyptus has attracted the attention of many researchers, environmentalists and merchants in recent years. Due to its fast-growing ability, it can be a good source of wood. The oil extracted from its veins, fruits, buds, and skin has different medicinal and industrial uses. In general, eucalyptus is beneficial in the following fields:
- Forestry (wood, fuel, pulp)
- Environmental planting (water and wind erosion control)
- Producing essential oils (medicinal oils)
- Art and craft
- Perfume making
- Herbal medicine
Effective Chemical Compounds of Eucalyptus
Researchers have extracted a wide variety of phytochemical compounds from eucalyptus roots, leaves and stems. Eucalyptol, in particular, is the most important compound and responsible for many of eucalyptus’ medicinal properties. Studies have revealed that eucalyptol has strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Perhaps this substance is the reason for the traditional use of eucalyptus since ancient times.
Eucalyptol is a type of alcohol that’s present in some other types of plants’ essential oils as well, such as cardamom, camphor, laurus nobilis, myrtus, rosemary lavandula, etc. It is also responsible for eucalyptus’ clean, sharp, slightly medicinal smell. Eucalyptol is a colourless or slightly yellow liquid that boils at 176 °C and smells like camphor.
Flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins and prostanoids are other effective compounds of eucalyptus.
Health Benefits of Eucalyptus
In this article, we will be looking at the health benefits of eucalyptus. The health benefits mentioned below are from scientific papers published after studying eucalyptus in real-life and laboratory settings.
Numerous studies have shown that eucalyptus can kill a wide range of bacteria (both gram-positive and gram-negative). This antimicrobial effect is largely attributed to eucalyptol. Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans are some bacteria that can be killed with eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus contains large amounts of antioxidants, including catechins, isorhamnetin, luteolin, kaempferol, phloretin and quercetin.
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals and some other harmful substances that cause oxidative damage to cells. Due to the adverse effects of synthetic antioxidants, researchers have been trying to find their natural counterparts. Eucalyptus is one of the rich sources of natural antioxidants that can prevent some types of cancers, heart attacks, and dementia.
To benefit from the antioxidant properties of eucalyptus, all you have to do is make tea using the dried leaves of the eucalyptus plant and drink it. But be careful not to confuse it with eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil is toxic. You should avoid consuming it orally. Taking eucalyptus leaves in the form of tea is totally safe for adults. However, children should avoid consuming it because they are more prone to eucalyptus poisoning.
Studies have shown that some aromatic compounds isolated from eucalyptus, such as eucalyptol, are considered inhibitors of the production and synthesis of inflammatory agents such as cytokines.
Free radicals damage cells and biomolecules and trigger inflammatory responses. Eucalyptus’ antioxidant profile prevents inflammation by neutralising these toxic free radicals.
The anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus have made it a potentially useful source for producing medicine for inflammatory diseases.
Helps Treat Respiratory Diseases
Since eucalyptus’ anti-inflammatory compounds inhibit the production of cytokines, it might be suitable for the long-term treatment of airway inflammation in bronchial asthma and other steroid-sensitive disorders.
In addition, eucalyptol seems to be a mucolytic agent. It breaks down the upper respiratory tract extra mucus to clear the airways and improve breathing.
Eucalyptol reduces nasal congestion and headache caused by colds as well as the frequency of coughs.
Based on these features, the eucalyptus plant is used to produce drugs for respiratory diseases. A popular home remedy is adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to hot water or a vaporiser and inhaling the steam.
However, it’s better to consult your doctor before using this plant.
May Treat Dry Skin
Eucalyptus is shown to increase skin ceramide.
Ceramide is a combination of sphingosine and fatty acid and acts as a mortar to hold skin cells together. Ceramide protects the integrity of the skin barrier and keeps the skin moisturised and healthy. Studies have shown a decrease in skin ceramides may lead to issues such as dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and dandruff. Therefore, eucalyptus may play an influential role in treating these skin concerns by helping to produce more ceramide. However, more studies should be conducted for definitive results.
Aids in Disinfecting Wounds and Healing
Australians have long used eucalyptus for medical purposes, including disinfecting wounds. One of the first officially reported cases dates back to 1778 when surgeons aboard First Fleet (the penal colony of England sent to its Australian settlement] ships used this plant to disinfect the wounds.
Eucalyptus oil has shown antimicrobial activity against S. aureus and E. coli, two medically important pathogens. Thus, it plays an important role in reducing superficial wound infections and accelerating healing. It is enough to apply just a drop or two of eucalyptus oil to the wound.
May Reduce Pain
Some studies have shown that inhaling eucalyptus oil can reduce pain. However, there are contradictory results in this regard, suggesting that more research is needed.
Improves Oral Health
It seems that eucalyptus can reduce bad breath and improve the overall health of teeth and gums. Eucalyptus contains compounds such as ethanol and macrocarpa C- a type of polyphenol- that can help your oral health by
- Reducing dental plaque
- Reducing gingivitis
- Getting rid of bad breath
- Reducing gum bleeding
Eucalyptus is included in most mouthwashes and other oral care products. Some experts recommend diluting a drop of eucalyptus oil with olive oil or coconut oil and applying it on your toothpaste before brushing. However, due to the toxic effects of eucalyptus oil, consult a specialist before applying it orally.
It Can Repel Insects
Eucalyptol, one of the effective compounds of eucalyptus, seems to act as a natural insect repellent. That’s why many mosquito repellent creams and gels infuse eucalyptus in their ingredients. It also appears to repel head lice.
May Increase Blood Circulation
Topical application of eucalyptus oil may dilate peripheral arteries, increase circulation, and reduce pain. This oil is a good option for people who suffer from fatigue and chronic pain. It may also temporarily ease minor muscle soreness when applied topically.
Meet Ungex Eucalyptus-Containing Products
At Ungex, along with some other essential oils, we have infused eucalyptus oil with our products as well. We are confident that this fantastic component, eucalyptus, is a formidable ally in our fight against Demodex mites.
Ungex is an Australian manufacturer of anti-Demodex products. For the uninitiated, Demodex mites are microscopic parasites that can grow in favourable conditions and colonise our skin.
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A high Demodex mites population may cause itching, dermatitis, blepharitis, hair loss, enlarged pores and resistant acne. In general, Demodex in high density can cause or exacerbate a variety of skin and hair problems.
The primary mission at Ungex is to offer a non-drug-based formula that is safe, natural and effective.
Eucalyptus is one of the compounds that help us to achieve this goal. It can eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi that live in Demodex mites’ bodies. It effectively improves eczema and itching by increasing the skin’s ceramide content. Eucalyptus can repel insects, including head lice. Although there is no research available, eucalyptus may also repel Demodex.
Using natural and herbal remedies, Ungex is on a mission to help all Demodex mites sufferers around the world to reclaim their skin back from Demodex the right way.