Eucalyptus Plant: All things You Need to Know
The Eucalypt is an old tree with a story of a million years. However, This plant was first formally documented in 1642 by a survey team on the island state of Tasmania (off the coast of Australia). The group reported finding a plant that secretes gum. This report was later published in the Abel Johnson Magazine on December 2, 1642.
The Eucalyptus Tree
What Is The Eucalyptus Plant
Eucalyptus is also colloquially known as the 'gum tree.' Have you ever seen one? If you do not live in Australia, you may wonder what it is. However, if you think back to iconic scenes of koalas eating pointed blue-green leaves (as the plant is the primary source of their food) or the famous children's song by Marion Sinclair, "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree"- that's it, that's precisely Eucalyptus plant!
I'm sure you have seen this fantastic plant many times, perhaps without even recognising it. Moreover, you have most likely profited from eucalyptus products as many parts of this plant are used to produce food, cosmetics, beverages, decor, perfume, and herbal medication.
Nearly all eucalypt varieties are native to Australia. If left alone, they can grow dense forests up to 145 meters in height. Its trunk circumference can even reach 25 meters. Eucalyptus wood is hard and resistant to decay. Some species have yellowish-brown, easy-to-peel bark. The colour of the leaves depends on their age. They are bluish-green when they are young and turn into whitish-green over time. Almost all Eucalypts are evergreens. However, some varieties may be deciduous.
Impressive Benefits of Eucalyptus
Recently, eucalyptus has drawn the attention of many scientists, ecologists, and retailers around the world. Due to its rapid growth, it is an excellent source of wood for the industry. Moreover, eucalyptus oil has various therapeutic and industrial uses. The plant's essential oil is derived from the tree's buds, veins, and bark.
In Brief, the eucalyptus plant is helpful in the following fields:
- Forestry (fuel,wood, pulp)
- Controlling water and wind erosion
- Producing essential oil
- medicinal uses
- Perfume making
- Art and craft
- Herbal medication
Chemical Composition of Eucalyptus
Scientists have obtained many phytochemical compounds from eucalyptus roots, leaves, and stems. Eucalyptol, for example, is one of its powerful compounds responsible for most of this plant’s characteristics. Studies have revealed eucalyptol has strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Eucalyptol is probably the basis for the extensive use of eucalyptus since ancient times.
Eucalyptol is a type of alcohol included in many other plants like camphor, cardamom, Myrtus, Laurus nobilis, Lavandula, rosemary, etc. It is the component that gives the eucalyptus plant a clean, sharp, and slightly medicinal smell. Eucalyptol is a colourless liquid that boils at 176 ° C and smells like camphor.
Tannins, Flavonoids, Prostanoids, and alkaloids are other active components in eucalyptus.
Health Benefits of Eucalyptus Plant
Although eucalyptus has various advantages and uses, we will focus on its health benefits in this article. You will learn what we brought you from scientific essays that have studied eucalyptus in living organisms (In vivo) or within a lab environment (In Vitro).
The eucalyptus plant includes various antioxidants, including kaempferol, catechins, isorhamnetin, luteolin, phloretin, and quercetin.
There are damaging substances such as free radicals that can cause oxidative harm to your tissues and cells. On the other hand, antioxidants are substances that protect your cells by combating the free radicals. Scientists have recently been seeking to find and utilize natural antioxidants due to the harmful effects of synthetic ones. Eucalyptus is a valuable source of natural antioxidants that seem to prevent heart attacks, some cancers, and dementia.
By just preparing tea using the dried leaves of the eucalyptus plant, you can take advantage of its antioxidant properties. Yet, be cautious not to confuse it with eucalyptus oil which is poisonous and should not be taken orally. Luckily, eucalyptus leaf tea seems to be safe for adults. But, avoid it in children because they are more prone to get poisoned with eucalyptus.
Investigations have shown that eucalyptus can remove a wide range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The plant antiseptic properties are primarily because of its eucalyptol. Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are among the microbes eucalyptus can remove.
Anti-Inflammatory Characteristic of Eucalyptus
Eucalyptol and some other aromatic compounds extracted from eucalyptus can prevent the production and regulation of some inflammatory agents such as cytokines.
On the other hand, free radicals negatively affect biological molecules such as lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins, which leads to oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.
The eucalyptus antioxidants prevent inflammation by neutralising these harmful free radicals, making it valuable for pharmaceutical manufacturing drugs for inflammatory diseases.
May Help Soothe Dry Skin
Eucalyptus can boost ceramide, a kind of skin lipid made from fatty acid and sphingosine. Ceramide acts as a mortar to keep external skin cells together. It prevents the skin from drying out and boosts the skin barrier integrity. Some research has shown skin issues such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, dry skin, and dandruff are correlated with a reduction in skin ceramide. So, eucalyptus may play an essential role in managing skin disorders via producing ceramide. However, more studies are needed for getting definitive results.
Helps Treat Respiratory Problems
As mentioned in previous sections, the eucalyptus plant includes anti-inflammatory substances that can subside the cytokines' synthesis. Thus, it might be beneficial for the long-term treatment of airway inflammation in bronchial asthma and other steroid-sensitive diseases.
Besides, Eucalyptol is a mucolytic agent. It dissolves thick mucus and helps alleviate shortness of breath.
On the other hand, Eucalyptol can reduce nasal congestion, cold headache, and the number of coughs. Based on these characteristics, the plant may help produce new medications to control various respiratory diseases.
You can also clear your lungs by inhaling some drops of eucalyptus oil through your nose.
However, you would better consult with a physician before using it.
Eucalyptus has been utilised since the distant past, likely starting with Indigenous Australians. People around the world, particularly in Australia, use eucalyptus for therapeutic purposes such as disinfecting wounds and improving healing. One of the first documents we have on this is a reported case in 1778 when doctors aboard First Fleet [the penal colony of England sent to its Australian settlement] applied eucalyptus to disinfect wounds onboard.
Eucalyptus oil can remove E. coli and S. aureus bacteria. This essential oil can perform a significant role in overcoming superficial wound infections and accelerating healing. Applying a drop or two of the plant oil on the wound is enough to take advantage of its benefits.
May Decrease Pain
In some research, inhaling eucalyptus oil was linked with a notable reduction of pain. However, some contradictories suggest the necessity for more research.
Eucalyptus Can Repel Insects
Eucalyptol, one of the most important compounds of the eucalyptus, seems to act as a natural insect repellent. That's why most mosquito repellent companies infuse eucalyptus oil into their products. It also appears to repel head lice, although more searches are needed.
Supports Oral Health
Eucalyptus oil may help you get rid of bad breath and improve the overall health of teeth and gums. That's why companies include it in their mouthwashes and other oral care products. Eucalyptus oil has active ingredients such as ethanol, and macrocarpa C, a kind of polyphenol; both promote oral health through the following ways:
- Reduce gum bleeding
- Decrease dental plaque
- Reduce gingivitis
- Decrease bad breath in some individuals
Some specialists and dentists recommend diluting a drop of eucalyptus oil with olive or coconut oil and using it on a drop on the toothpaste for brushing. However, due to the toxicity of eucalyptus oil, you would better ask a dentist before using it in your mouth.
Eucalyptus may Improve Localised Blood Circulation
Some studies have revealed that the local use of eucalyptus oil has the potential to dilate peripheral arteries, enhance blood flow, and reduce pain. The topical application of this essential oil seems to be a good option for people with chronic pain and fatigue condition. When applied to the skin, it may temporarily ease minor muscle soreness.
Ungex Eucalyptus-Infused Products
Ungex is an Australian manufacturer of Anti-Demodex products. Among Ungex products, DHT (Demodex Hair Tonic) and DDC (Demodex Defence Cleanser) include eucalyptus oil.
Meet Your Mites
Demodex mites are microscopic parasites that can proliferate under favourable conditions and colonise people's skin.
If you want to know more about Demodex mites, Check out this link.
A high population of Demodex mites may lead to hair loss, itching, blepharitis, dermatitis, enlarged pores, and resistant acne. To be more specific, these mites can ignite or worsen a variety of skin and hair issues.
What Do DHT and DDC Do?
DHT (Demodex Hair Tonic)
Demodex Defence Cleanser (DDC)
Besides natural skin oil (sebum), Demodex mites feast on most cosmetic and skincare products. Mild yet powerful, DDC eliminates dirt and other sources of Demodex mites’ food. It also assists in unclogging pores caused by extra sebum. Via these mechanisms, Ungex DDC helps make a hostile environment for mites, keeping them under check and giving your skin feeling fresh and bright.
The eucalyptus oil in DHT and DDC products helps them purge harmful bacteria and fungi that exist in Demodex mite bodies. These microorganisms seem to be the root of some Demodex mites signs. Moreover, eucalyptus efficiently assists in relieving eczema and itching by increasing the skin's ceramide content. It also can repel some insects, including head lice and potentially Demodex mites.