With more than 600 species, eucalyptus offers a variety of scents. The blue-gum variety is the most widely cultivated and produces most of the oil available today. It was introduced at the Paris Exposition in 1867 after the Melbourne, Australia, botanical garden’s director suggested it as an antiseptic replacement for cajeput. He was right. The French government planted the trees in Algeria to ward off the “noxious gases” thought to be responsible for malaria. It worked, but mainly because the trees transformed the marsh into dry land, eliminating the mosquito’s habitat. Australia’s “blue forests” are named for the haze produced by the tree’s essential oil, which mutes the surrounding scenery. Eucalyptus is used liberally in industrial preparations, aftershaves, colognes and mouthwashes.
Extraction: Distilled from the leaf and small twig. The odor is pungent, sharp and somewhat camphorous.
Medicinal Action: A potent antiviral, antibacterial and decongestant agent, eucalyptus treats sinus and throat infection, fever, flu, chicken pox and herpes. Most liniments and vapor rubs contain it, or its component eucalyptol. It is specific for thin mucus with lack of thirst and chills.
Cosmetic/Skin Use: Small amounts are appropriate for oily complexion and especially acne. It is an antiseptic on wounds, boils, insect bites and lice.
Emotional Attribute: The scent increases energy, countering physical debility and emotional imbalance.
Eucalyptus Australiana (E. australiana) –Specific for lung congestion and sore throats.
Lemon Eucalyptus (E. citriodora) –The high percentage of citronellal gives this eucalyptus a wonderful lemony scent, making it an inoffensive bug repellant. It is also anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial, especially against Streptococcus. Unlike standard eucalyptus, the scent is relaxing. Lemon eucalyptus is the best choice when there are symptoms of heat, such as thirst, dryness, thick mucus and fever. It is also specific for herpes, cystitis and arthritis.
Dives or Broad-Leaved Peppermint (E. dives) –Of the two chemotypes, one is rich in cineol (also known as cuminol) and is specific for acne; the other is rich in piperitone, a toxic ketone. They look identical but have different scents.
Peppermint Eucalyptus (E. piperita) –Similar to dives, this one is used in mouthwashes and veterinary supplies.
Blue Mallee (E. polybractea) –The two chemotypes of this species are cuminol (also known as cineol) and cryptone. The cuminol type (sometimes known as “cineol type”) is specific for sinus and bronchial congestion. The cryptone type treats genitourinary tract problems, including chlamydia and condyloma virus, cystitis, cervical dysplasia, and uterine and prostate infections. Some success has been reported in treating uterine fibroids.
Grey Peppermint (E. radiata) –Most commonly referred to by its Latin name, Eucalyptus radiata treats overall ear, nose, throat and upper-respiratory problems, acne, vaginitis, ear infections and herpes. Its action is cooling and anti-inflammatory.
Gully Gum (E. smithii) –An energizer and immune modulant, this species is very mild, making it a good choice for children or sensitive people. Useful in the treatment of muscle pain.