Herbal Supplements
Eucalyptus in Herbal Medicine
Biological Description
 
Eucalyptus is a genus that includes a number of species, Eucalyptus globulus being the synonym of the name and one widely used in medicinal purposes. The genus is native to Australia and Tasmania and stands out in botany due to the tallest plants producing flowers (growing up to 90 meters tall).
 
Eucalyptus globulus, also known as blue gum, have dark green shiny leaves, and grayish bark peeling over to reveal the inner layer of the cream colored bark. A great number of Eucalyptus species, evergreen trees and shrubs, produce copious sap from the bark and thus known as gum trees. 
 
The color of the flowers within genus varies from white and cream-yellow to red and pink. The cup-shaped base of the flowers carries multiple stamens, with no petals. The seeds from the plant are produced by cone-shaped woody fruits.
 
Growing 
   
Eucalyptus prefers growing in warm climates, being intolerant to low temperatures. Although, one representative of the genus, Eucalyptus paciflora, can grow in temperatures falling down to about -20 °C. The plant is usually cultivated in a well-drained soil rich in organic content. 
 
  
Parts Used 
  
The plant suggests various options of use when serving for medicinal purposes. The oil of the leaves is the component for various topical preparations, as well as other forms. It is distilled from the leaves, which are, in their turn, serve as a material for cigars and cigarettes from bronchial catarrh and asthma relief. Eucalyptus branch tops are sometimes used as the source of the oil, too. Medicinally used oil is mostly distilled from E. globulus leaves known for rich content of eucalyptol (also known as cineol) in them.
  
Market 
 
Dried and fresh eucalyptus leaves are widely used in teas, while alcohol solution made from herb (sometimes adding water) is sold in liquid extracts. But the essential eucalyptus product is the oil, so it is found in a wider variety of market forms – syrups, cough drops, vaporizer fluids, mouthwashes, toothpastes and liniments. 
 
Action
 
As mentioned before, the major constituent of eucalyptus is cineole (or eucalyptol) which when exposed to the air turns into crystalized resin. This key chemical provides most of the plant's beneficial effects. Flavonoids (rutin, hyperoside, and eucalyptin), and polyphenoic acids (caffeic, gallic, ferulic etc) are also found in the plant's chemical content. They provide anti-microbial, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and stimulant actions.
 
 
Health Benefits
 
For many years the antiseptic properties of eucalyptus oil have been known to the traditional and alternative medicine. It has been noticed, that the older the oil gets - the better it is, since more ozone in it is formed to provide disinfecting actions.
 
The medicinal preparation from the plant are used both internally and as topical applications. Applied locally, the oil serves as a stimulant to cardiac function and arthritis. Also, it is used as a component for the antiseptic gargle effective for spasmodic throat conditions.
 
Eucalyptus mouthwash relieves the symptoms of the dental plaque and gingivitis. Anti-inflammatory and mucolytic action of the oil makes it potent in treating respiratory diseases, such as bronchial catarrh, laryngitis, pulmonary tuberculosis and asthma symptoms. 
 
Being a diuretic, eucalyptus stimulates bladder, clears urine out of mucous and relieves pain associated with relevant conditions. Commonly known eucalyptus-based aromatherapy is aimed at relieving the symptoms of various health troubles. They include pain, headache, depression, and insomnia. In addition, eucalyptus honey produced from the flower pollen has shown some successful results too. It proved to be helpful in treating parasitic conditions, fever, and catarrh diseases.
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