Koala Eating Eucalyptus Leaves


Eucalyptus Oil comes from the Eucalyptus Tree, which is native to Australia, but is now grown in many places all over the world. The oil, derived from the crushed leaves of the tree, has made its mark as nature’s medicine.

Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties have been used over the centuries for cosmetic and dental use, to ward off insects, and to treat a wide range of respiratory problems.

Traditional Uses of Eucalyptus

With origins in Australia, Eucalyptus has been widely used for centuries in Aborigine medicine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, Aborigines used the oil to combat fungal and skin infections, and to reduce fevers.

It’s not just Australia that has made good use of eucalyptus oil for medicinal purposes. It has long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.

Even in England it was used to clean urinary catheters in hospitals in the 19th century. More recently, almost 70 years ago, Eucalyptus oil was officially registered in America as an insect repellent.

Different Species of Eucalyptus Tree

Several species of Eucalyptus are used for their medicinal properties, particularly in traditional and herbal medicine practices. Eucalyptus species vary in their chemical composition and therapeutic properties.

Here are some of the main species of Eucalyptus commonly used for medicinal purposes:

Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum): Eucalyptus globulus is one of the most widely used species for medicinal purposes. Its leaves contain essential oils rich in compounds such as cineole, which has expectorant, decongestant, and antiseptic properties. Eucalyptus oil derived from this species is often used in steam inhalations, chest rubs, and topical preparations to relieve respiratory congestion, coughs, and cold symptoms. It is also used in aromatherapy for its uplifting and invigorating scent.

Eucalyptus radiata (Narrow-Leaved Peppermint): Eucalyptus radiata is another species known for its medicinal properties, particularly its respiratory benefits. It contains similar constituents to Eucalyptus globulus but is considered milder, making it suitable for use with children and individuals with sensitive skin. Like Eucalyptus globulus, it is used for respiratory congestion, coughs, and colds, often in steam inhalations, chest rubs, or diffused in the air.

Eucalyptus citriodora (Lemon-Scented Gum): Eucalyptus citriodora is valued for its lemon-scented leaves, which contain citronellal and citronellol, giving it insect-repellent properties. It is often used in natural insect repellents and outdoor sprays to deter mosquitoes and other insects. Additionally, the essential oil of Eucalyptus citriodora may be used topically for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, though it is less commonly used in this way compared to other eucalyptus species.

Eucalyptus dives (Broad-Leaved Peppermint): Eucalyptus dives, also known as the broad-leaved peppermint, is valued for its essential oil, which contains high levels of piperitone, a compound known for its mucolytic and expectorant properties. It is used in steam inhalations and chest rubs to help clear respiratory congestion, relieve coughs, and support respiratory health.

Eucalyptus smithii (Gully Gum): Eucalyptus smithii is another species known for its respiratory benefits. Its essential oil is rich in cineole, making it effective for clearing nasal congestion, easing coughs, and supporting respiratory health. It is often used in similar ways to Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata.

Eucalyptus Promotes Good Dental Health

Eucalyptus oil is commonly added to toothpastes and mouthwashes, and for good reason. It’s not just the clean, refreshing aroma of the oil that makes it suitable for dental products, but it contains antibacterial properties that are believed to fight dental decay.

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology states that the oil is effective at eliminating the build-up of plaque and can kill bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. The oil also contains an antiseptic, known as cineole, which tackles bad breath and bleeding gums.

Eucalyptus to Improve Respiratory Health

Arguably one of the best-known health benefits of eucalyptus oil is in treating a wide range of respiratory conditions, such as coughs and colds, and even relieving the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis.

According to a study reported in Clinical Microbiology & Infection, it’s the antibacterial properties of the oil that have the power to zap bacteria responsible for many respiratory infections. It’s also a powerful decongestant, and many people inhale steam infused with vapours from the oil to relieve a blocked-up nose.

Eucalyptus for Pain Relief

Eucalyptus oil has been found to be effective at relieving pain when applied to specific areas, such as the joints or temples on the head. The oil contains analgesic properties that are associated with pain relief, but it also has a very cooling effect when applied to the skin, which can help to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and relax the muscles.

A study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation also backs up this theory, based on research undertaken.

Eucalyptus to Enhance the Immune System

Research published in BMC Immunology claims that eucalyptus oil boasts powerful properties to enhance the immune system. When applied to the skin, the oil can stimulate and strengthen immune cells, helping to provide a protective function against infections.

Eucalyptus to Treat Skin Infections

Eucalyptus oil has been used for centuries to treat skin infections, and according to a study reported by the University of Maryland Medical Centre, many cultures have long used the oil to heal wounds, reduce inflammation and treat skin infections, such as cold sores.

There are various compounds in the oil that give it super-strong antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, including cineole, citronellol and citronellal, and it’s these that are responsible for fighting infections.

Repel Insects with Eucalyptus

If you’re looking for an insect repellent that is natural and effective, Eucalyptus oil has been shown to work incredibly well. It’s particularly useful for anyone who is allergic to the ingredients used in many supermarket insect repellent products.

As well as applying the oil to your skin mixed with a little body lotion, you can add it to a vaporiser to release the aromas that biting insects particularly take a dislike to.

Eucalyptus Oil for Diabetes

Research into the effects of Eucalyptus oil on reducing symptoms of diabetes is still very much ongoing, but it seems that the oil may play a role in helping to lower blood sugar levels. Researchers are still not sure how this works, but if this becomes more apparent, it could pave the way for offering a new way to treat this debilitating condition.

Koalas and Eucalyptus Oil

It is interesting to note that Eucalyptus leaves are a primary food source for koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), iconic marsupials native to Australia. Koalas have evolved to specialize in consuming eucalyptus leaves, which make up the majority of their diet.

Here’s how Eucalyptus leaves are essential to koalas:

Nutritional Value: Eucalyptus leaves are highly nutritious for koalas, providing essential nutrients such as fiber, water, and certain vitamins. While eucalyptus leaves are low in protein and high in fiber, they meet the dietary needs of koalas, which have adapted to efficiently digest and extract nutrients from these leaves.

Specialized Digestive System: Koalas have a specialized digestive system that allows them to process the toxins and tough fibers present in eucalyptus leaves. Their digestive tract contains microbes that break down the complex compounds found in Eucalyptus leaves, enabling koalas to extract nutrients while minimizing the effects of toxins.

Water Source: Eucalyptus leaves contain a significant amount of moisture, which helps koalas meet their hydration needs. While koalas obtain some water from the leaves they consume, they still need to drink water from other sources to supplement their fluid intake, especially during periods of hot weather or drought.

Behavioral Adaptations: Koalas have evolved behavioral adaptations to efficiently feed on Eucalyptus leaves. They are highly selective in their leaf choices, preferring certain species of Eucalyptus trees over others based on factors such as leaf age, chemical composition, and moisture content. Koalas also spend a significant portion of their time resting and digesting, conserving energy for the slow metabolic process of breaking down Eucalyptus leaves.

Eucalyptus Oil Can Deter Rats

Rats have a strong sense of smell and do not like the potent smell of some aromatherapy oils, including Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Citronella oils. Soak some oil onto cotton wool balls and leave them in the places you think rats may be visiting and this will deter them.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Eucalyptus Herb Notes / Side Effects

Eucalyptus species vary in their chemical composition and therapeutic properties, so it’s essential to choose the appropriate species and preparations based on the desired effects and individual needs.

Additionally, it’s important to use Eucalyptus products safely and according to recommended guidelines, as concentrated essential oils can be toxic if ingested or used improperly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *