The eucalyptus is a variety of trees and shrubs that descend from the family Myrtaceae. It comes from Australia and Tasmania, and there are more than 700 different species around the world.Its leaves vary according to the age of the plant , in youth they are sessile (there is no stem) and have a gray, sickle-shaped oval shape. In the maturity of the eucalyptus, the leaves change to a more elongated shape and the gray color changes to a bluish one.Its arrival in Europe occurred in the 19th century, when it was used to reduce the levels of environmental humidity in the swamps. This function is due to its great capacity to absorb water . This property has allowed it to adapt to cultivation in various parts of the world.

What is eucalyptus for?

Eucalyptus is a plant that is used in the medicinal, food and industrial fields; all its components are useful.

It serves to:

  • Treat respiratory diseases
  • Antiseptic purposes
  • Decrease pain
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Preparation of medicines
  • Mitigate symptoms and diseases
  • Utilities for humans and the environment

Treat respiratory diseases

Eucalyptus is used primarily to treat illnesses such as flu and colds, and to clear the respiratory tract. This for its bronchodilator properties . It is added in syrups, lozenges, and cough ointments.

Antiseptic purposes

Eucalyptus leaves contain powerful antiseptic properties, which is why they are added in the formula of cleansing products against bacteria and fungi , in creams, ointments and antiseptic liquids.

Decrease pain

Preparations with eucalyptus help to calm ailments and pains.

Eucalyptus leaves are prepared in the form of tea for the treatment of trauma to the skin, joints, muscles and bones, reducing pain and inflammation and restoring tissues more quickly, providing well-being to the patient.

The infusion is prepared, first, by boiling water , in a sufficient quantity, depending on the application to be given to the eucalyptus. The eucalyptus leaves are then crushed to an almost powdery size. They are added to boiling water , so that they release the essence.

The essential oils of eucalyptus leaves diffuse into the water . This mixture is left to rest until the water turns yellowish. To apply it, thick towels are soaked with the infusion and applied, as hot as the patient supports them, on the affected areas.

Lower blood glucose

Eucalyptus has properties that can help lower blood glucose levels, especially when ingested, but it is only recommended under medical supervision, as it can be highly toxic if the dose exceeds the appropriate amount.

Eucalyptus oil, which is the extract of its leaves, is the component most used, both in naturopathic medicine and in traditional medicine.

Preparation of medicines

Today, both the leaves and oil of eucalyptus are used in the manufacture of a wide variety of medicines , from lozenges to calm coughs, to ointments for the skin and colds.

Although it is common for the eucalyptus leaf to be applied in the treatment of infections, the oil of this plant should not be ingested or applied to the dermis before being chemically treated in an industrial process, due to its toxicity.

This oil, in addition to its medicinal applications, is used in aromatherapy for relaxation and for healing purposes for stress. Its minty aroma is also suitable for cleaning products and cosmetics.

Since ancient times, poultices of infusions of the leaves, vaporizations and herbal teas have been used to combat various conditions, but it is not recommended to use pure oil or concentrated tea, as it is toxic, both in contact with the skin and when ingested.

Mitigate symptoms and diseases

Eucalyptus in all its forms is applied to reduce symptoms and diseases, among which are:

  • Tos
  • Phlegms (used as an expectorant)
  • Fever (used as an antipyretic)
  • Muscle pains
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatism
  • Flu (used as an antiviral)
  • Cold
  • Inflammation (used as an anti-inflammatory)
  • High glucose levels (used as a hypoglycemic)
  • Infections (used as an antimicrobial)
  • Dyspnoea or shortness of breath (used as a bronchodilator)
  • Wounds or sores (used as a healing)
  • Stress (used as an aromatic stimulant)
  • Arthritis
  • Sinusitis
  • Herpes
  • Insect bites (also used as a repellent)

Utilities for humans and the environment

The eucalyptus provides benefits in all its forms, from its leaves, its trunk and the oil that is extracted from it.

Humans benefit from the eucalyptus plant by using it as:

  • Disinfectant
  • Cutaneous astringent
  • Food flavoring
  • Air purifier
  • Timber tree
  • Agent that absorbs moisture from swamps

Contraindications of eucalyptus

It is not safe to ingest or apply eucalyptus in large quantities, due to the toxicity of its oil. Even from 3 or 4 milliliters can be enough to end a life.

The main signs of poisoning are:

  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomachache

It is important that, when these symptoms appear, you see a doctor immediately.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical opinion. Consult a doctor.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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