Eucalyptus: Properties and Benefits
The eucalyptus plant, scientific name Eucalyptus globulus labill , has several therapeutic properties. It belongs to the Mirtaceae family and is native to Australia. In regions with a favorable climate, it can reach considerable heights approaching 100 meters.
Many species (about 600) belong to the genus Eucalyptus but only about 10% of these, thanks to their properties, are used by man for therapeutic purposes. Plants belonging to the Eucaliptus genus are mainly used to produce paper or firewood.
- Chemical Composition
- Properties and Benefits
- Respiratory tract
The eucalyptus tree is a tree that grows very quickly. It is for this reason that it is grown to produce firewood and pellets.
The plant is also capable of absorbing a lot of water from the earth in which it grows. Thanks to this property, it was used in antiquity and is still used for the reclamation of marshy land. Many species of this plant are used in Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions such as colds, fever and bronchial infections. ( 1 )
Eucalyptus oil has been reported effective in reducing pain, swelling and inflammation. For example, it has been shown to improve the quality of life of patients with severe arthritis by relieving knee pain and increasing functionality. ( 2 )
Eucalyptus is mainly used for purpose therapeutic in the form of essential oil. The oil is extracted from the partially dried leaves through the steam distillation process.
The essential oil contains tannins , flavonoids , polyphenols and terpenes. It also contains eucalyptol, a substance and colorless liquid with a strong smell which has properties antiseptic and balsamic.
100 grams of chopped leaves have a calorie yield of 20 kcal.
Eucalyptus: Properties and Benefits
Essential oil has many properties and is used for purposes therapeutic especially in Australia and in the East.
It is used to treat inflammation of the respiratory tract and also has balsamic and expectorant properties. Its use also brings benefits to the urogenital level for the treatment of inflammations and cystitis. Eucalyptus oil ( Eucalyptus globulus) has been widely used in folk medicine for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, gastritis and diabetes. ( 3 )
A study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation informs us that eucalyptus oil has analgesic properties. Eucalyptus oil contains α- pinene and 1,8-cineole and acts as an antioxidant. ( 4 ) In a mouse model of edema causing pain in the feet, oral administration of 1,8-cineol suppressed edema formation and reduced both inflammation and pain. ( 5 )
Electromyography has shown that applying eucalyptus oil on a healthy subject had a muscle relaxant effect, as well as promoting emotional stability. ( 6 )
The essential oil has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties . Its action has proved particularly aggressive towards some fungi such as Candida albicans. The antibacterial activity of eucalyptus extracts is due to components such as 1,8-cineol, citronellal, citronellol, citronellyl acetate, p-cymene, eucamalol, limonene, linalool, β-pinene, γ-terpinene, α-terpinol, alloocimene and aromadendrene. ( 7 )
Studies suggest that plant extract has significant growth inhibiting effects on Gram-positive (E. coli ) and Gram-negative (S. aureus) bacteria. The effectiveness of E. globulus leaf oil against these microorganisms can provide a scientific basis for the application of the herb in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections caused by various pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, which have developed developed resistance to antibiotics. ( 8 )
It is known for its insect repellent properties and for being a natural pesticide. For these reasons it is often used for the treatment of lice. Recall that some traditional lice treatments are often harmful to the hair and scalp. With eucalyptus this risk disappears thanks to the naturalness of the product.
A recent Australian study analyzed the use of essential oil in the treatment of lice on children. The results showed that its effectiveness in eliminating lice is 100% and without side effects. ( 9 )
There is a study in the Journal of Periodontology which shows that a chewing gum based on eucalyptus bring benefits to dental health.
The antibacterial and vermicidal properties of the plant also have positive effects on the teeth. In fact, they counteract the activity of the bacteria that cause caries, dental plaque and gingivitis.
This explains why its essence is used in the composition of mouthwashes, toothpastes and other products for oral hygiene.
An Indian study found that plant extracts are effective against a number of bacteria responsible for tooth decay, particularly against Lactobacillus acidophilus. ( 10 )
For external use it has healing properties and its use brings benefits in case of burns, cuts, skin infections and herpes. The essential oil, thanks to its analgesic and antineuralgic properties, also finds application in the treatment of insect bites.
Thanks to its refreshing properties, it is also used to combat oily skin. A few drops added to the shampoo make the hair softer and shiny and above all it regulates the amount of sebum in the scalp. A Japanese study found that long-term use of a scalp lotion containing eucalyptus extract improves the shine of the hair and improves its consistency. ( 11 )
It is stimulating, combats laziness and mental fatigue and can also be useful for solving cases of stress and mental disorders. It is normally used to stimulate the mind and to increase blood flow to the brain.
It has vasodilating properties that increase blood flow with consequent benefits at the circulatory level that can induce a lowering of blood sugars. Eucalyptus has been used as traditional medicine for the management of diabetes mellitus in South America, Africa and Iran. ( 12, 13 ) Studies conducted on streptozotocinic diabetic animal models have confirmed the plant’s anti-hyperglycemic and anti-inflammatory effects. ( 14 )
Its leaves are also used to treat infections, feverish conditions, stomach problems and to calm the cough. The oil must never be taken pure but must be diluted with water, both for external and internal use.
These massages are recommended for individuals suffering from low back pain, nerve pain, muscle contusions, rheumatism and tendonitis.
Cosmetic use of Eucalyptus
Thanks to its many properties, it is used for the preparation of cosmetic products for the health and beauty of our body. With eucalyptus, soaps and deodorants are prepared with a refreshing action on the skin. Another use is as a face cream that counteracts oily skin and pimples.
The essential oil is also used for foot baths and relaxing baths.
If taken in high doses the essential oil can cause nausea, vomiting, gastritis and convulsions. It can also interfere with some medications so it is always a must to consult your doctor in case of doubts.
Essential oil of eucalyptus is not recommended for pregnant women and children due to cineole present in good quantity.
In Greek the name eucalyptus means well hidden. According to scholars, it indicates the flower that is completely hidden by its petals.
From the eucalyptus the bees produce a honey particularly rich in enzymes with soothing, anti-catarrhal and anti-asthmatic properties.
In sports, together with camphor and other substances, it is used for the preparation of an oil which is used for muscle massages.
Although of Australian origin, it is also grown in Italy. However, the size it reaches is much less than that of the trees of the country of origin.
Some drops of essential oil of eucalyptus used to massage the temples can relieve headaches.
The tree adapts to almost any terrain and withstands both drought and too much humidity.
The plant does not have particular pests or diseases but it does not bear rigid temperatures. He died with temperatures lower to -5 °.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
In England, in the late 19 th century, the ‘ essence of eucalyptus was used to clean and disinfect catheters. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center claims that Aboriginal people used this precious plant to treat fungal infections and skin wounds. It is also used for the preparation of soaps and household cleaners.
The essence of eucalyptus, thanks to its aromatic properties, is used for the preparation of balsamic candies.
The essential oil is also used to ward off insects and mosquitoes. In the United States, eucalyptus was officially registered as an insecticide in the middle of the 20th century, its oil killing mites and ticks.
Eucalyptus: Properties and Benefits
Last updated: 12/01/2020
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