Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulus

Eucalyptus leaves come with a good load of medicinal benefits. It is used in many products that tame the symptoms of cold, flu, cough, and congestion. It also stars as a leading ingredient in balms and ointments for muscular and joint pain.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Bluegum, Southern blue gum, Nilgiri taila
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves
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About Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is an epic tall tree that grows at an impressively fast pace. It is a large genus that houses more than 600 species of shrubs and tall trees, native to Tasmania, Australia, and the islands in the neighborhood. This pleasant-smelling plant appears in the form of shrubs, mallees (multi stemmed from the ground level), and tall trees. 

Almost all eucalyptus species are evergreen with leaves covered in oil glands. These oil glands are the key feature of this genus, imparting the plant its signature aroma and myriads of medicinal values. Its flowers are petal-less with numerous white, yellow, pink, or sometimes stamens that have a fluffy appearance.  

Eucalyptus leaves come with a good load of medicinal benefits. It is used in many products that tame the symptoms of cold, flu, cough, and congestion. It also stars as a leading ingredient in balms and ointments for muscular and joint pain. Eucalyptus oil serves the purpose of perfume, antiseptic, flavoring agent, excipient in dental preparations, and an ingredient in cosmetics. It has an excellent insect repellant property. It also serves as an antifungal, painkiller, immunity booster, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic.

 

Growing

Gardeners recommend growing eucalyptus in spring or summer to give the plant adequate time to establish itself before the arrival of colder temperatures. Choose a site that receives plenty of sunlight and space reasonable enough to accommodate the tree’s height. It can tolerate soil of any type, provided that it offers excellent drainage with slightly acidic to neutral pH.

Eucalyptus can also be grown indoors in containers but they must be provided with adequate direct sun exposure for appropriate growth. Although Eucalyptus acts as a somewhat drought-tolerant plant once fully established it should be watered before and after plantation.

Eucalyptus seeds take 2 to 3 weeks to sprout and send out roots and shoots. Being an intensively fast-grower, in no time eucalyptus can add several feet to its height per year. 

From late to early July, eucalyptus gives out cone-shaped flower buds that open approximately a year after their formation, revealing several stamens that give the flowers an exquisite tassel-like appearance. After being pollinated by insects and birds, they transform into a hard, woody pod that unbolts to release seeds. 

 

 

Harvesting

Go for the mature leaves during the growing season that feel leathery to touch as they are easy to preserve. As for the seeds, the pod itself releases the seeds when it ripens. You can do that on your own by picking the brown pods and splitting it open to collect the seeds inside.

Use the gardening scissors to cut the eucalyptus branches according to your desired length for harvesting the leaves. The seed pods, on the other hand, are handpicked.

Eucalyptus leaves are best stored when air-dried in a well-ventilated, cool, dry, and dark space, away from the direct sunlight. The crinkled leaves can then be kept in an airtight container to enjoy their prime taste year-round. 

 

Usage

From cosmetics to medications, eucalyptus has found its application in various formulations due to its stellar properties, compatibility, and ruling scent.

  • Tincture - Dried eucalyptus leaves are macerated in alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks in a dark, dry place. Strain away the plant material and store the resultant tincture in an airtight container.
  • Tea - One dried eucalyptus leaf is soaked in a hot cup of water for 15 to 20 minutes to form a eucalyptus tea.
  • Decoction - Boil the eucalyptus leaves in water for 30 minutes then strain the plant material away and bottle up the decoction in an airtight container.
  • Salve - Eucalyptus oil is incorporated in melted beeswax and congealed to formulate a salve.
  • Syrup - Fresh eucalyptus leaves are simmered in sugar syrup for not more than a minute to make its syrup.
  • Infused Oil - Fresh eucalyptus leaves are infused with a carrier oil (olive oil) for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill to produce eucalyptus-infused oil.