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The Complete Guide to Eucalyptus Oil

The Complete Guide to Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus is a genus of over 700 species of trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The vast majority of species are native to Australia, and every state and territory has a representative species. From southern Tasmania to the Western Australian desert, eucalypts are a defining feature of the Australian bush. In fact, three quarters of our native forests are eucalyptus forests. And they also provide sustenance to many of our continents most iconic species including koalas, possums and a host of native birds. 

Koala eating a eucalyptus leaf

History of Eucalyptus Oil

Indigenous Australians used eucalyptus for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. Typically, they used leaf infusions (which contain eucalyptus oil) as a traditional medicine for treating body pains, sinus congestion, fever, and colds.

In 1860 eucalyptus became the first native product Australia exported. Australia’s Eucalyptus oil production began near Melbourne and the oil was soon being exported to Europe, Asia and North America. Eucalyptus seeds were then distributed globally, but especially to South America, China and Portugal. Thanks to the fast-growing nature of the plants, the timber was relatively cheap to produce and plantations sprung up all over the world.

As Australia’s economy focused more on agriculture, eucalyptus oil exports became less important and production was relegated to smaller, country stills. As production moved out of Australia to countries with cheaper labour costs, the industry withered and practically died out.

However, since the 1990’s there has been a slow increase in Australian production once again, as globally people become more interested in sustainable products sourced from native origin.  Here at Blue Eucy we are proud to be part of a long tradition of eucalyptus oil production right in the heart of eucalypt country in Victoria.

Chemistry of Eucalyptus Oil

The soothing, cooling vapor of eucalyptus oil comes from the main chemical components, eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol. These oxides have strong purifying and cleansing properties and are what give us the sense of rejuvenation and invigoration we associate with eucalyptus.

Cultural Significance of Eucalyptus

Gum trees, as they are colloquially known in Australia, are part of our cultural fabric. Consider their use in making didgeridoos or their appearance in songs such as ‘Give me a Home Among the Gum Trees’. Think about their prominence in famous Australian artwork such as paintings by Frederick McCubbin or Albert Namatjira. And of course, the classic children’s book by May Gibbs – the Gumnut Babies. They are one of our most culturally significant flora.

How is Eucalyptus Oil extracted?

Eucalyptus Oil is extracted using the distillation method. Leaves are placed in a still with water and a fire is lit beneath. Steam carrying the oil then passes through a system of cooling pipes. The oil separates and is piped off into smaller vessels to be later refined. Blue Eucy use three small stills and sustainable farming methods to extract our oils and create a higher quality final product.  

Uses for Eucalyptus Oil

The uses for eucalyptus oil are incredibly wide ranging and the plant has long been recognised for its beneficial properties. Perhaps best known for its use in pharmaceutical products, the oil is used as a component in cough lollies, ointments and inhalants around the world. There are many other uses for this unique product. However, due to the high grade quality of Blue Eucy oils, we recommend using our oils only for therapeutic uses. 

Wellness Therapies

The compounds of eucalyptus oil can promote feelings of calmness, tranquillity and clear headedness. So, it is no surprise that it is used widely in a range of relaxation therapies including massage. Wonder why your yoga studio gives you an instant sense of calm and purpose? Chances are they are using eucalyptus oil in a diffuser! Try using it in your study or work space, or where you exercise indoors. Here are some of our favourite ways to use Blue Eucy oils in aromatherapy

Respiratory Health

Eucalyptus has long been used a remedy for a variety of respiratory problems such as asthma and sinusitis. Combined with other extracts in a nasal spray, it can be effective against sore throats, hoarseness and other cough related symptoms. Alternatively, use it with a carrier oil for a chest rub or dilute a few drops in a boil of boiling water and inhale the steam.

Many of our customers have also commented on an unexpected side effect of using eucalyptus drops at night – a reduction in snoring and sleep apnoea related issues!

Muscle & Joint Pain

Eucalyptus oil can also help to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and ease muscle tension. In fact, many over the counter creams for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis contain eucalyptus. Why not create your own soothing remedy by adding a few drops of Blue Eucy to a carrier oil or moisturiser?

Cleansing & Anti-inflammatory

Indigenous Australians have long used eucalyptus oil as a natural disinfectant for wounds. Diluted oil can be used to fight inflammation and promote healing. Creams and ointments containing eucalyptus oil can also be used to treat minor burns.

Insect Repellent

One of our favourite uses for eucalyptus oil is as a natural repellent for insects. And anyone who has spent time in the Australian bush will be able to appreciate that! The oil has been used in commercially available repellents since the 1940’s and scientific studies have shown that a mixture of just 32% eucalyptus oil provides more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for three hours. Dilute with a carrier oil or cream before using.

Cleaning & Disinfectant

Eucalyptus oil has natural antiseptic and anti-microbial properties and is used in many household cleaning products including detergents. It is also fantastic as a solvent for removing grease and sticky residue.

Flavouring

Eucalyptus oils has been used at low levels for flavouring a variety of products including sweets, beverages and baked goods. Due to its cleansing properties, it is also used as a breath freshener and is frequently found in mouthwash. 

How to store Eucalyptus Oil

Like any essential oil, eucalyptus oil can be affected by light and heat so it is best to store your Blue Eucy oil in a cool, dark place.

The Blue Eucy Difference

As you can see, the benefits of eucalyptus have long been recognised. But until now, the oil was generally being produced for mass distribution, rather than as the high-grade product which Blue Eucy is proud to offer. Try the difference and sample a bottle of our 100% organic, handcrafted, single origin eucalyptus oil today.

Where the Blue Eucy magic happens - early morning on the farm
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Extracting Eucalyptus oil sustainably

Extracting Eucalyptus Oil Sustainably

Eucalyptus oil comes from a truly renewable resource – the fast-growing native Blue Gums of central Victoria. We are proud to be continuing a long history of eucalyptus harvesting in the region, and are doing so in a way which is not only sustainable, but ensures the highest quality product.

We have 20 acres of Eucalyptus on the Blue Eucy Farm. But we only harvest one third of our crop every year. This allows the trees enough time to regenerate between harvests and means the quality of their oils remains extremely high.  At Blue Eucy we are committed to only ever using our own trees. And we only ever work with one species of Blue Gum at a time, so every batch of Blue Eucy oils is single origin.  

Leaves are harvested at dawn when the oil content is at its highest. Every harvest is picked by hand so as not to degrade the trees or leaves in the process. And we distil the leaves we pick same daySo, the natural freshness and vitality of the plant’s fragrance is captured in the distillation process. We decided to work with smaller stills, of just 55 litres each, which allows greater control over the quality of each batch. The leaves are distilled with rainwater collected on the Blue Eucy farm.  

Over time we realised there were minor variations in the aromatic profile of any given batch, depending on when in the season it was picked. Early Spring, Late Summer, Mid-Autumn – every batch of our oils is unique. Your bottle will be labelled with the date of distillation and bottle number so you can discover a range of fragrance experiences over time.  

We’re really passionate about making sure nothing is wasted in the production of Blue Eucy oils. Call it nose-to-tail farming for trees! Or root-to-branch as we preferBranches and sticks are broken down into briquettes which can be used to make your fireplace deliciously fragrant. And once the leaves have been distilled, they are turned into high quality compost. We are farming for our future. 

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Eucalyptus oil as a natural insect repellent

Eucalyptus oil as a natural insect repellent

Living in the Australian bush has given us a unique appreciation for eucalyptus’ natural use as insect repellent. While many people turn to industrial products containing high levels of toxic chemicals such as DEET, we prefer natural remedies which are not harmful to the environment (or to our skin for that matter!).

And the natural option is extremely effective! In fact, a study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA showed that a mixture of 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil provided more than 95 percent protection against mosquitoes for three hours. It can also be very effective against garden pests – a fantastic option for indoor plant enthusiasts with small children or pets, who don’t want to use chemical pesticides.

Our Blue Eucy oils are of the very highest standard, so we usually suggest using them in more selective ways. However for those of you who suffer from summertime mosquitoes this might just be the answer!

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Eucalyptus Oil in aromatherapy

Eucalyptus Oil in aromatherapy

Eucalyptus oil is one of nature’s most useful natural resources. It has a range of medicinal and therapeutic properties which have made it a staple for many household products such as Vicks Vapor Rub.  

The main components of eucalyptus oil, eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol, are what give the oil its soothing, cooling vapor. These properties make it a popular oil for use in massages or remedial therapies. Here are a few of our favourite DIY wellness and aromatherapy techniques for enjoying the benefits of Blue Eucy oils.

Vapor Inhalation

When used in vapor inhalation, the oil can promote feelings of tranquillity, clear mindedness and calm. We love filling a basin with steaming hot water and adding one or two drops of Blue Eucy. Drape a towel over your head and breath deeply for a few minutes. It’s a great way to get moving if you are feeling sluggish in the morning, or to clear a stuffy head.

Home Made Steam Room

Give your morning a boost and add a few drops to the floor of the shower. You will feel instantly invigorated and ready to start your day.

Super Charge Your Yoga Practice

Use an atomiser or a diffuser and permeate your yoga space with the invigorating fragrance of eucalyptus to feel more focused and clear-minded in your practice. 

Sleep Easy

Placed in a diffuser, the scent of eucalyptus can aid with relaxation and sleep problems. If you don’t have a diffuser you can simply sprinkle a few drops on your pillow. Some customers have even told us that this helped with chronic snoring!

Hot or Cold Compress

Another great way to enjoy eucalyptus oil’s relaxing properties is to roll up a damp facecloth with a few drops of oil sprinkled on it and use on your forehead, temples or the back of your neck. We found this method to help with mild headaches or at the end of a stressful day.

Using Eucalyptus Oils Safely

It is important to remember that eucalyptus oil should always be diluted before using directly on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, test the diluted product on a small area before using. Eucalyptus oil is for external use only and should never be ingested.