What is Eucalyptus?
Of all of the flowering trees known today for their uses in herbal medicine, eucalyptus is possibly the most well-known of all. Indigenous to Australia and Tasmania, this diverse herb has been used for hundreds of years by the Aborigines to help treat colds and respiratory problems. It wasn’t until the mid-1850’s that German explorer and botanist Baron Ferdinand von Miller experimented with eucalyptus, discovering its many uses, and making them known to the rest of the world.
The leaves of the eucalyptus tree are the most commonly used form of this herb. The oil that is contained within them has been used as an antiseptic for years. It has also been used to help treat colds and to loosen coughs. The trunk of the tree also contains oleo-resin which contains tannin – a substance used to treat diarrhea and bladder infections. This can be gathered by making a small hole at the base of the tree and extracting the resin.
Benefits of Eucalyptus:
The oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree contains the most medicinal value. It is commonly used in vapor rubs to help treat colds and to loosen phlegm. Some other benefits of the oils secreted from the trunk and leaves are listed below.
- Anti-inflammatory and Anti-spasmodic Properties
- Antiseptic and Antibacterial
- Used as Deodorant
- Alleviates Exhaustion and Mental Lethargy
- Fights Dental Infections When Used Orally
- Diabetic Aid
- Treats Fevers
- Natural Insecticide
- Eliminates Intestinal Germs
Be sure before using eucalyptus that you don’t have an allergy to the oil or rashes and hives could occur if administered to the body. In certain cases of asthmatic patients, eucalyptus actually caused their asthma to trigger attacks. Also, if you are taking sedating medicine, use caution when using products containing eucalyptus. Be sure to consult your physician before taking eucalyptus oils as an herbal remedy, especially if you suffer from asthma.
Eucalyptus and products containing the herb should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women because of the unknown effects it can have on developing and newborn children. Finally, until you are aware how this herb will react with you, use caution when operating machinery or while driving.
Where and how to buy Eucalyptus
Products containing eucalyptus oil can be purchased at many health food stores nationwide. Most vapor rubs contain eucalyptus and can be purchased at drug stores, as well. Pure eucalyptus oil can be bought at many online vitamin and health websites. Choose organically-grown eucalyptus when possible. If you are looking to grow your own, you can only do so if you live in a climate where the temperature doesn’t drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit as this could kill the tree. Since the trees can grow to over 100 feet, make sure you have enough room to allow for it to grow that tall before planting. It can take several years for the tree to fully mature, so be patient when self-cultivating for the tree to reach its full potential.
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