Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus globulus - South Africa
The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia but has spread to other parts of the world in recent years, mainly to India, Europe and South Africa. Australia, however, remains the primary supplier of eucalyptus essential oil in the world.
Throughout history, Australian aboriginals used the leaves of the eucalyptus tree as a treatment for fever, body pains and nasal congestion. In Western medicine, eucalyptus oil has been used in hospitals as an antiseptic during operations since the 1800s. Since then eucalyptus has been integrated into many over-the-counter medicines such as rash creams and inhalers, as well as in dental hygiene products.
Aside for its medical uses, eucalyptus essential oil has also been officially registered as an insecticide by the United Stated since 1948.
Eucalyptus essential oil has many healing properties and is best utilised as a bath treatment, insect repellent, massage oil or through steam inhalation.
This essential oil is useful in the treatment of wounds because of its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. It is used in the treatment of skin irritations and wounds, and while it aids in the healing of wounds it also protects it from developing further infection.
Eucalyptus oil is very effective in the treatment of respiratory problems such as cold related respiratory symptoms, bronchitis, sinusitis and asthma. The essential oil achieves these healing effects through its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, decongestant and antibacterial properties. Its vapours also soothes breathing by dilating the blood vessels, allowing more oxygen into the lungs.
Massaging this essential oil into the skin has several positive effects on the body. It relieves muscle pains, stress, boils, chilblains, shingles and skin infections. It also relieves the symptoms of tuberculosis and pneumonia when massaged into the chest or when it is inhaled as a vapour.
When ingested, eucalyptus oil can aid in the stabilisation of blood sugar, making it an effective additional treatment for diabetes.