Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering plants known to possess many therapeutic applications ranging from fighting bacterial infections, controlling blood sugar, fighting skin diseases, and boosting the immune system.
The genus Eucalyptus is composed of trees and species that belong to the family Myrtaceae. They are said to be native to Australia, but now cultivated widely in the tropical and temperate regions of the world, including Africa, Americas, Europe, Middle East, Mediterranean basin, China, and the Indian subcontinent.
Eucalyptus oil is the essential oil obtained from the leaves of eucalyptus plant. It has a wide history of use in herbal and traditional medicine. It is a common ingredient in pharmaceutical preparations. It is also used for flavoring, as a fragrance, and possess many industrial applications.
In terms of medicinal applications, eucalyptus has gained special attention in recent years. Many scientific studies has been carried out on this wonderful plant, which validated most of the traditional medicinal uses practiced by our fore fathers many years ago. Below we will be looking at some of its uses.
Health benefits and medicinal uses of Eucalyptus and its oil
- Prevents skin diseases
- Good for the respiratory system
- Controls diabetes
- Great anti-inflammatory
- Treats wounds
- Good for dental care
- Eliminates intestinal worms
Prevents Skin diseases
Eucalyptus is a strong antibacterial, which fights and eliminate bacterial organisms capable of causing many skin diseases. Its oil is applied topically to heal skin irritations and infections. However, the oil may be so strong that proper dilution with water is necessary before application. Some experts even suggest the use of industrial preparations containing eucalyptus essential oil in place of the pure oil, due to the irritation associated with its high concentration.
Good for the respiratory system
The use of eucalyptus oil against respiratory infections is an age long remedy used by many folk healers around the world. The active ingredients present in its leaves act as expectorants, helping clear the respiratory tracts of mucus and harmful microorganisms.
It’s use against cold and catarrh is considered very effective by many. A very popular home remedy against cold and catarrh using eucalyptus oil is to place a little quantity of this oil in a boiling bowl of water, and then placing a thick cloth or towel over your head to inhale the resultant steam mixture for a few minutes.
Eucalyptus has been proven by many scientific studies to have anti-diabetic effect. Some of these researches showed how eucalyptus extract was able to enhance insulin secretion in diabetic animals while others compared eucalyptus extract with conventional diabetic drugs for effectiveness – with eucalyptus leading the way in reducing blood sugar level the most (1).
This property of eucalyptus is as well validated by scientific studies (2). Many people have suggested the consumption of its tea to relieve pains and aches caused by inflammation. Using it against arthritis or muscle strain might be helpful. It also possess an analgesic effect, and might do wonders to eliminate pain in case of injuries.
The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of eucalyptus oil makes it perfect for the treatment of wounds, cuts, abrasions, and sores. The analgesic effect of this wonderful oil also makes it to act as a natural pain reliever to the affected area, while speeding up healing process.
Enough cannot be said on the antimicrobial properties of eucalyptus oil. It makes it effective against dental plaque and cavities, and other dental infections caused by microorganisms. No wonder, this oil is found as an active ingredient in many toothpastes, and other dental care products.
Eliminates intestinal parasites
Eucalyptus oil is a great anthelmintic, and thus used to expel intestinal germs. The antimicrobial activity of this oil provides an unfavorable environment for the proliferation of intestinal germs, thus, can be used as an effective vermifuge.
Word of Caution
Eucalyptus oil should not be consumed in an undiluted form, especially for the children. The undiluted form of this oil can be poisonous. Proper consultation with a medical practitioner is needed before use of eucalyptus or its oil for any medicinal purpose.
Those who just had a surgery, and the children, are under great risk, and should avoid using eucalyptus and its extracts.
Diabetes : Using eucalyptus along with diabetic medications can cause blood sugar level to fall too much. Hence, a proper consultation with a physician is necessary before taking advantage of this medicinal property.