Information about the herb Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulus , also known as Australian Fever Tree is part of the Myrtaceae plant family. Eucalyptus is a tall evergreen tree native to Australia, including Tasmania but now grows prolifically  in North and South Africa, China, India, southern Europe and California, USA and other Mediterranean and subtropical regions around the world.

General Information

There are about 500 species of the Eucalyptus group

Botanical Name: Eucalyptus globulus

Plant Family: Myrtaceae

Common Names: Australian Fever Tree, Blue Gum Tree, Stringy Bark

History: The therapeutic uses of Eucalyptus has been used by traditional medicine systems, including Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic, and Greco-European. The properties of Eucalyptus were brought to the west by Baron Ferdinand von Muller in 1857 with present day commercial herbal preparations originating in Mediterranean and subtropical regions, including Spain and Morocco.

Throughout the 19th century in England, Eucalyptus oil was used in hospitals to clean urinary catheters.

Tradition: The Australian Aborigines have been using Eucalyptus ceremonially and medicinally for hundreds of years.

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Plant Constituents of Eucalyptus



  • crystallized resin
  • cineole also called eucalyptol
  • cymenes
  • oil of Eucalyptus
  • terpenes


  • flavonoids, including quercetin
  • tannins
  • volatile oils

About 25 species are being used for their oils which are divided into three grades:

Medicinal Oils (distilled from the fresh leaves and branch tops of the Eucalyptus tree) containing:

  • substantial amounts of eucalyptol (cineol)

Industrial Oils containing:

  • terpenes for their flotation properties to be used in mining operations

Varieties such as:

  • E. amygdalina
  • E. dives

Aromatic Oils such as:

  • E. citriodora [Citron-Scented Gum] (contains 98% citronellol) used in perfumes
  • E. macarthurii [Paddy River Box] (contains 75% geranyl acetate)
  • E. odorata used in soap making
  • E. staigeriana [Lemon Scented Iron Bark]
  • E. sturtiana which has an apple fragrance



  • Eucalyptus leaf as infusion, usually taken as a tea – 1 – 2g per cup 3/day
  • Eucalyptus leaf extract, 10 – 30 drops/day
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • for topical application – 10 – 20 drops of oil to 200mL carrier oil (sweet almond, sesame, olive, etc.)
  • for inhalation, add 5 – 10 drops of oil to 1 liter boiling water. Place towel over head and inhale steam



  • anti-bacterial [an agent that destroys bacteria; bactericide]
  • anti-malarial [an agent to ease symptoms of malaria]
  • antiseptic [an agent for inhibiting the growth of microorganism on living tissue or destroying pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria]
  • antispasmodic [an agent which relieves or eases muscular spasms, cramps or convulsions]
  • aromatic [a substance having an agreeable odor and stimulating qualities]
  • corrective [restoring to a healthy state]
  • deodorant [an agent used to inhibit or mask unpleasant odors]
  • disinfectant [an agent that cleanses infection by destroying or inhibiting the activity of disease-producing micro-organisms; antiseptic]
  • expectorant [an agent that promotes the discharge of mucous and secretions from the respiratory passages, i.e. loosens phlegm in the respiratory passages]
  • stimulant [an agent that excites or quickens the functional activity of the tissues giving more energy]


  • anti-bacterial [an agent that destroys bacteria; bactericide]
  • antioxidant [contributing to the oxidation of free radicals which are believed to contribute to premature aging and dementia]
  • antiseptic [an agent for inhibiting the growth of microorganism on living tissue or destroying pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria]
  • anti-inflammatory [an agent to ease inflammation]
  • expectorant [an agent that promotes the discharge of mucous and secretions from the respiratory passages, i.e. loosens phlegm in the respiratory passages] .

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Usage of Eucalyptus

Medicinal Parts Used: Leaves, and the oil of the leaves

Internally Eucalyptus should be used with strict professional guidelines, for:

Gastrointestinal Conditions

  • dyspepsia
  • halitosis (bad breath)
  • indigestion

Respiratory Tract Conditions

  • bronchitis
  • common colds
  • coughs
  • microbial diseases of the lungs
  • pulmonary tuberculosis
  • sinusitis (leaves as tea or gargle)
  • sore throat (leaves as tea or gargle)

Other Conditions

  • diabetes
  • intermittent fevers
  • scarlet fever
  • typhoid

Externally Eucalyptus has been used as an inhalant for:

Bacterial Conditions

  • diphtheria

Cardiovascular System Conditions

  • increasing cardiac action

Respiratory Tract Conditions  

Eucalyptus Oil used as an inhalant in

  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • colds
  • coughs
  • influenza
  • loosens phlegm
  • sore throat

Other Conditions

  • fainting (used like smelling salts – place 1-2 drops of Eucalyptus oil on a cloth and hold under the nose of the
  • person who has fainted)
  • helps reduce fevers
  • helps reduce inflammation
    helps relieve chronic ear infections

As a local application for:

  • burns
  • growths
  • infection
  • offensive smelling wounds
  • preventing sepsis
  • pyorrhea
  • sores
  • ulcers

Other Uses:

Eucalyptus is used commercially in:

  • cough drops
  • cough syrups
  • liniments
  • mouthwash
  • toothpaste
  • vaporizer fluid

As well as a food for koala bears it has been used in veterinary practice for:

  • remedy for aches and pains, or
  • canine influenza
  • influenza in horses
  • parasitic skin complaints
  • septicemia in all animals

Seek help from an alternative medicine veterinarian who can help you with dosages and assessing the proper effects.

It is very good used in the household:

  • to clean oil marks from clothes

The Cold and ‘Flu Remedy

Eucalyptus essential oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of the Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus), using steam distillation. The word “Eucalyptus” is derived from the Greek “eu” and “kalypto” meaning “well” and covered” (referring to the cup-like membrane that covers the flower bud that is thrown off as the flower expands). The Australian Blue-Gum tree is one of the major sources of Eucalyptus essential oil. 

There are over 500 different species of Eucalyptus trees and they have blue-green, narrow, long and tough leaves. The flowers are creamy-white, and the bark is very papery and peels off on the sides of the trunk. If you have ever seen a Koala bear, then you have probably seen an Australian Blue-Gum tree, as this tree is the natural habitat of this cute-looking, highly strung bear.

The Surgeon General of the Australian colony, Dr John White, first distilled Eucalyptus essential oil in Australia in 1788. 

Interest in the Australian Blue-Gum tree developed because it is very fast growing and uses up immense amounts of water. Eucalyptus trees are therefore used in agriculture to turn marshy, swampy ground into usable, arable land. This process also helps to eradicate the breeding ground of the malaria mosquito, helping the tree gain a reputation in the 19th century of being able to rid an area of fever or “miasma” (the source of malaria was not yet known), hence the name “Fever tree”. Aborigines chew the roots of the Australian or Tasmanian Blue-Gum for their water content and also bind wounds with Eucalyptus leaves to promote healing.

Various ways to use Eucalyptus oil:

  1. Burners or Vaporizers: – Depending on the size of the reservoir, 6 to 8 drops of this oil can be added, to assist with frequent sneezing, hay fever, ‘flu, respiratory problems and as an insect repellent.   
  2. Blended massage or in the bath: – 6 drops may be added to a bath, or 40 drops to 100ml of carrier oil (2000 drops = 100ml) for a blended massage. This will help relieve: arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, mucus congestion, colds, headaches, rheumatism, sinusitis, catarrh, fatigue and muscular aches and pains.   
  3. Used neat or dab on with a bud: – May be used neat on the skin for insect bites or wounds, but care should be taken when doing so.   
  4. Eucalyptus oil can be dropped onto a pieces of cloth or cotton wool and placed in the corners of your cupboards to repel cockroaches and to fragrance your clothes. Please take care that the oil does not come into contact with your clothes as it may stain.

Please note: Eucalyptus essential oil should not be used by or on children under 12 years of age, and care should be taken when used by the elderly

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  • Externally – Eucalyptus oil is nontoxic
  • Internally – Eucalyptus oil is toxic and should always be diluted (use under guidance of a qualified practitioner)

Internally – In large doses the tannins in the leaves may cause:

  • breathing to stop by its action on the medulla depressing the nerves
  • irritation to the kidneys
  • insensibility
  • kidney and liver damage
  • stomach upset


  • Children should not take Eucalyptus leaves or oil internally
  • Cough drops containing Eucalyptus should not be given to children younger than 6 years old
  • Do not use Eucalyptus oil on or near the face or nose of children under 2 years old
  • Eucalyptus when used as a steam inhalant (2-5 drops to 1 liter water), salve or chest rub may be used for children if absolutely necessary

Eucalyptus should not be used by persons with:

  • bile duct inflammatory disease
  • high blood pressure
  • inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • inflammation of the kidneys
  • liver disease

Eucalyptus should not be used by women who are:

  • breastfeeding
  • pregnant

Drug Interactions:

Do not use Eucalyptus without first talking to your practitioner or healthcare provider if you taking any of the following medications:

5-Fluorouracil (a medication used to treat cancer)

  • Topical Eucalyptus oil enhances the absorption of topical 5-fluorouracil

Pentobarbital (a barbiturate used for seizures)

  • Eucalyptus increases the clearance of this drug causing it to be eliminated from the body more quickly than it is supposed to be

Amphetamine (a stimulant used for narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)

  • Eucalyptus increases the clearance of this drug causing it to be eliminated from the body more quickly than it is supposed to be.

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Global Herbal Supplies has Eucalyptus available in the following forms