Herb of the Month - March/Eucalyptus




Eucalyptus globulus








Family: Myrtaceae

Names: blue gum, fever tree, Tasmanian blue eucalyptus, Tasmanian blue gum, Blue Gum Tree, Compact Blue Gum Eucalypt, Eucalipto, Eucalypt, Okaliptus, Stringy Bark Tree; Qahich’a waavu’it

Description: Tall, attractive tree growing to 195 feet or 115 in cooler climates. The trunk is smooth and cream colored with a covering of grayish-blue bark that peels off in narrowstrips. The narrow, leathery, sword-shaped leaves have a prominent mid-rib. They are studded with oil glands, fragrant and greenishblue
color. Creamy-white flowers are borne on short flat stalks, followed by fruit that is
concealed in an aromatic, camphor-scented, woody cup. It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees.
Cultivation: Prefers a sunny position in a moderately fertile well-drained moisture retentive circum-neutral soil. Succeeds in most soils, tolerating poor and dry soils, especially those low in mineral elements. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants should not be grown in frost pockets or windy sites. Requires a sheltered position, disliking cold, dry or desiccating winds. Eucalyptus species have not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow
until it is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example, the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also helps the trees to survive cold conditions.
The members of this genus are remarkably adaptable however, there can be a
dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations from the seed of
survivors growing in temperate zones. Trees have been planted in marshy areas where they have the ability to reduce the wetness of the land (because they transpire so much water) thus getting rid of mosquitoes that were breeding there. Eucalyptus monocultures are an environmental disaster, they are voracious, allelopathic and encourage the worst possible attitudes to land use and conservation. A very fast growing tree, new growth can be up to 2.5 metres per year. Trees are gross feeders and can severely stunt the growth of nearby plants. Trees are very amenable to coppicing. Plants are shallow-rooting and, especially in windy areas, should be planted out into their permanent positions when small to ensure that they do not suffer from wind-rock. 





They strongly resent root disturbance and should be container grown before planting out into their permanent position. The flowers are rich in nectar and are a good bee crop. Seed - surface sow February/March in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2°c. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the
second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and give them some protection from the cold in their first winter. The seed can also
be sown in June, the young trees being planted in their final positions in late spring of the following year. The seed has a long viability. Harvest the bark, roots, and leaves as needed.


History: The “eu” and “kalypto” is of Greek origin, meaning “well” and “cover” referring to the covered stamens. The Australian Aborigines called it “Kino” and bound the leaves around serious wounds and it is still highly valued by both orthodox and herbal practitioners for its strongly germicidal, expectorant, and decongestant properties. It was introduced into Europe as an ornamental
species around 1788 and was found to inhibit the growth of other plants in surrounding areas due to secreting a chemical poison into the soil.
Introduced into California in the 19th century and quickly used by desert Indians. Eucalyptus can store quantities of water in its roots, and for this reason, the tree was planted in swampy ‘fever districts’ to dry up the marshes and prevent outbreaks of malaria. Eucalyptus oil is commonly found in proprietary throat lozenges, while steam inhalations are particularly beneficial for clearing the head and chest of mucus and catarrh. Eucalyptus plantations destined for paper pulp have provoked severe criticism from environmentalists as some virgin
forests have been cut down to make way for this fast-growing, water-loving species. This species is the national emblem of Tasmania.


Constituents: essential oil with cineole, pinene, limonene, cymene, phellandrene, terpinene, aromadendrene, ellagic and gallic acid, biter principle, resin, tannin

Properties: expectorant, stimulant, antibiotic, antiseptic, rubefacient, Antibacterial; Antiperiodic; Antispasmodic; Aromatic; Deodorant; Febrifuge; Hypoglycemic

Energetics: spicy, warm

Meridians/Organs affected: lungs, kidneys

Medicinal Uses: Eucalyptus leaves are a traditional Aboriginal herbal remedy. The leaves are distilled to produce eucalyptol, which is used internally to treat bronchitis, tuberculosis, and nose and throat inflammations. Vapor made by boiling the leaves, bark, or roots, or distilling them in water has been used as an inhalant for diphtheria, coughs, and respiratory ailments. Leaf poultices have been used to bring abscesses to a head. The leaves have been prepared for internal use to treat intestinal worms. A tea made from the leaves is a good
treatment for coughs, colds, flu, croup, pneumonia and asthma. The essential oil found in the leaves is a powerful antiseptic and is used all over the world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and other infections. The essential oil is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies. Extracts of the leaves have antibacterial activity. The antibiotic properties of the oil increase when it is old, because ozone is formed in it on exposure to air. It has a decided disinfectant action, destroying the lower forms of life. The oil can be used externally, applied to cuts, skin infections etc, it can also be inhaled for treating
 blocked nasal passages, it can be gargled for sore throat and can also be taken internally for a wide range of complaints.
An oleo- resin is exuded from the tree. It can also be obtained from the tree by making incisions in the trunk. This resin contains tannin and is powerfully astringent, it is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea and bladder inflammation, externally it is applied to cuts etc. The oil is one of the most powerful antiseptics. It may be combined with olive or sesame oil. As an ointment, rub it directly on the chest or back to relieve congestion in the
lungs. An emulsion is made by combining equal parts of the oil with powdered slippery elm or gum Arabic and water. After being well shaken, the mixture is taken internally in teaspoon doses for tuberculosis and other infections and inflammations of the lungs. The oil is rubbed over aching muscles or trauma
sites to stimulate circulation and relieve pain and blood congestion.


Aromatherapy Uses:

Extraction: Essential oil by steam distillation from the fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs.
Characteristics: A colorless mobile liquid (yellow on aging), with a somewhat harsh camphoraceous odor and woody-scent undertones
Blends well with: thyme, rosemary, lavender, marjoram, pine, cedarwood and
lemon
Uses: Skin Care: burns, blisters, cuts herpes, insect bites, insect repellant, lice, skin infections, wounds
Circulation, Muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, etc.
Respiratoryasthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, throat infections
Genito-urinary System: cystitis, leucorrhea
Immune System: Chickenpox, colds, epidemics, flu, measles
Nervous System: Debility, headaches, neuralgia

Safety: Externally non-toxic, non-irritant (in
dilution), non-sensitizing. Internally as little as
3.5ml has been reported as fatal.

Toxicity: Eucalyptus oil should be used infrequently since it is difficult to eliminate through the kidneys. Contraindicated for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding as well as anyone suffering from low blood sugar. Commission E says it is also contraindicated for persons suffering from inflammatory
diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and bile ducts, as well as severe liver disease.

Other Uses: The leaves and the essential oil in them are used as an insect repellent. The trees can also be planted in wet areas where mosquitoes abound. The ground will be dried out by the trees, making it unsuitable for the mosquitoes to breed. The essential oil is also in spot removers for cleaning off oil and grease. A yellow/brown dye is obtained from the young leaves. It does not require a mordant. Grey and green dyes are obtained from the young shoots. A dark green dye is obtained from the young bark. Wood - heavy, durable,
fire resistant. An important timber species, it is used for construction, tool handles etc. It is also used as a source of pulp for paper.

Ritual Uses: Herb of the Moon and Pluto. Eucalyptus may be used to purify any space, whether preparing the temple or cleansing a home of unwanted energies.


Eucalyptus Tea Recipes


To make eucalyptus tea, pour 1 cup of boiled water over up to 1/2 teaspoon of the dried eucalyptus leaves, which can be found at most health-food stores. Cover and steep for 10 minutes; strain. Sweeten with honey, to taste. You can drink up to 2 - 3 cups a day.
 
Caution: In large doses eucalyptus can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Don't use more than 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water.
 
 
 
 
Herbal Tea Recipe for Asthma & Bronchitis
  • 1 1/2 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 ounce dried coltsfoot leaves
  • 1 ounce dried thyme leaves
Use one teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. Make this tea mixture to help open a tight respiratory tract and congested lungs. The herbal ingredients in this tea are known for their antispasmodic and disinfectant properties.



Herbal Tea Recipe for Acne
  • 1 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 ounce dried dandelion roots and leaves mixture
  • 3/4 ounce dried licorice root
  • 3/4 ounce fennel seeds
Use 1 teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. You can drink this herbal tea as prescribed above, or use it as a facial wash. Either way, it is effective in healing such skin conditions as acne.



Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Head Colds
  • 1/2 ounce dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 ounce dried peppermint leaves
  • 1/2 ounce dried chamomile flowers
Use 1 teaspoon of this herbal mixture per cup of boiling water. Sweeten with honey to taste. These herbs are prescribed for their decongestant and expectorant effects. Eucalyptus is antiseptic, as well, and is very helpful for a head cold, sinus congestion and the flu.

These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 






Category: 3 comments

3 comments:

Inis said...

I just use the eucalyptus and peppermintmix together in a tea, for every kind of cold. LOL just the two. LOL It is one of my favs. Some times I add a little green tea to it!
Hugz
Inis

MidnightSage said...

Always looking for wonderful ways to use herbs. Thanks!

witchesbrew said...

I love eucalyptus. One of my favorite herbs. I actually grew it last year in my garden. It grows extremely fast, and gets a trunk about as round as a golf ball. I didnt expect it to do so well in my garden, but it did!

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