Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus spp. and Corymbia spp. There are over 500 species of eucalyptus, some of which have been reclassified as corymbia.

The fresh and dried leaves are the part of the plant used. The leaves can be collected at any time.

Functions of eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaves contain cineol, although there are up to 40 other constituents which may be present in varying amounts in different species. All the eucalyptus have antiseptic properties. Eucalyptus:

  • oil or a compress made from an infusion of leaves can be rubbed onto bruising to reduce the swelling and pain. It can also be used as a massage oil for sore muscles.
  • oil or a strong infusion can be dabbed onto cold sores. This should be done just as the first signs of tingling are felt. The oil can also be used as a fungicide in the treatment of ringworm and athlete's foot.
  • steam inhalations can be used in the treatment of congestion in the lungs and nasal passages for coughs and bronchitis or a weak infusion can be drunk.
  • gargle can be made from a weak infusion to relieve sore throats and to reduce infections.
  • compress can be made from an infusion to reduce the pain in aching joints in arthritic conditions.

Notes on eucalyptus

  • Large amounts of an infusion can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Don't use eucalyptus oil on the skin of babies or young children.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful (or less if a weak infusion is required) of the leaves and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes.

Wash: A wash is a warm infusion that is spread over the skin with a clean cloth or cotton ball.

For the gardener

New trees can be grown from seed that is sown in the summer. All of these trees are really too tall for the average garden. They will grow in a park or a large garden or property.

To keep the leaves close to the ground for collecting, cut the tree just above ground level and allow the plant to re-shoot from the stump.

The gums generally like moist well drained sandy loam soils and plenty of sunlight.

References

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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