Eucalyptus

Scientific Name/Common Name: Eucalyptus globules / Eucalyptus

Part(s) Used: Leaf and essential oil

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Eucalyptus oil contains: 70-85% 1,8-cineole otherwise known as eucalyptol, as the most abundant component; triterpenes including ursolic acid derivatives; monoterpenes including alpha- and beta-pinene, p-cymene, alpha-phellandrene, camphene, gamma-terpinene and d-limonene; sesquiterpenes including aromadendrene, alloaromadendrene and globulol; aldehydes including myrtenal; ketones including carvone and pinocarvone.

Overview: Eucalyptus trees are tall evergreens native to Australia and Tasmania that are now grown in many different parts of the world. Approximately 25 different species are used in the production of medicinal eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil is rich in 1,8-cineole, otherwise known as eucalyptol; a compound noted for its anesthetic, anti-catarrh, anti-laryngitic, stimulant, and expectorant properties, among other activities. The German Commission E approves the internal use of eucalyptus oil for treating catarrhs (mucous) of the respiratory tract and externally for use against bone and joint pain. Eucalyptus oil is an active ingredient in many familiar over-the-counter remedies for cough, colds, and congestion. Rubbed on the skin, eucalyptus oil creams stimulate circulation and act as a safe and effective rubefacient that produces local vasodilation and an increase in blood supply to the area of application. Dr. James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy, also notes the use of eucalyptus oil as a ‘smelling salt’ for preventing fainting, as well as for treating bad breath, bronchitis, emphysema, pain, sinusitis, sore throat, tuberculosis, and viral infections. Interestingly, the effects of five minutes exposure to eucalyptus, menthol, or camphor vapor showed that none of these oils clear nasal passages but the majority of subjects reported a cold sensation in the nose with the sensation of improved airflow, which does have clinical significance. Taken internally, eucalyptus leaf has mucolytic, anti-microbial, and expectorant actions.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Expectorant, pain relieving for sore muscles and aches, and pains in joints (topical use), anti-microbial, opens airways, and helps to clear mucus congestion.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Pp. 118-123.

Duke JA. 1992a. Handbook of Biologically Active Phytochemicals and their Activities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, p. 30.

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.