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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.