The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – #Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain by Sally Cronin

Welcome to the repeat of the 2018 series about essential oils and aromatherapy and I hope those new to the blog will enjoy.

Twenty-two years ago I ran a health food shop and diet advisory centre here in Ireland and we sold essential oils for aromatherapy. I thought that I should learn more about it and took a course on the subject. I am looking forward to sharing this relaxing therapy with you.

What is Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy uses essential oils which have been extracted from specific sweet smelling plants for therapeutic massage. They are blended with specialised carrier oils to ensure that they are used in a diluted form and are easily absorbed by the skin. The oils can also be used to add these therapeutic aromas to our environment as well with the use of burners.

Last time I looked at Clary Sage essential oil and this week Eucalyptus a very useful addition to a winter medicine cabinet with many added health and household benefits.

Eucalyptus from Australia comes from the leaves and the twigs.

• Scent: Camphor
• Usage: Inhalation, Massage, Baths
• Note: Top
• Mood: Refreshing
• Safety: Avoid in Pregnancy and with any form of homeopathy.

One of the staples in my box of essential oils, Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) originally from Australia has a number of uses, apart from being an inhalent helping you breathe better when you have a cold.

Eucalyptus background.

There are actually hundreds of varieties of Eucalyptus and this results in around 400 different types of oil. Since there is somewhat of a time and space restraint, I will just mention one or two of the most common types.

Australian Aborigines use the leaves in infusions and have done so for thousands of years. Not only to treat respiratory problems and fevers but to treat pain in general in the body. Europeans began to use its powerful properties as early as the 1780s when two of the physicians with the first settlers, mainly convicts arrived in Australia. They distilled the oil from the leaves that grew close to the settlement but it was not until nearly 70 years later that it would become commercialised. It was used more extensively as a disinfectant in areas where there were fever outbreaks. It was Joseph Bosisto a Melbourne pharmacist that started the first commercial distillation plant in 1852 to extract the cineole from the leaves.

By the 1870s oil from the Tasmanian Blue Gum was being exported around the world and surgeons began using eucalyptus oil as an antiseptic during surgery.

The cost of producing the oil in Australia by the 1950s and transport costs, resulted in European sources gaining ground and Spain and Portugal now dominate with other regions such as South Africa and Chile also producing good amounts.

However, the finest oils with the highest concentration of active components is still considered to be from the Eucalyptus Polybractea (Australian Blue Melee tree)

For massage and handmade products aromatherapists around the world use three main varieties:

• Eucalyptus Globulus which has soft woody tones
• Eucalyptus Lemon oil which has more of camphor odour with a touch of citronella
• Eucalyptus Radiata Oil which has a crisp camphor odour, citronella but also floral tones.

China is the largest producer of cineole based oil, but most of it is produced not from the Eucalyptus but the Camphor Laurel, which is a massive tree that grows to around 100metres and the leaves when crushed produce the oil.

Usage of Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil is classified in three main types according to the oil’s properties and for what purpose… Industrial, medicinal and perfumery.

For example, if the oil is going to be used by the pharmaceutical industry it must have a minimum content of 70% of the active ingredient Cineole which gives its distinctive woody/sweet aroma. The highest cineole content is from the Australian Blue Leaf Mallee (Eucalyptus Polybractea), I mentioned earlier, with cineole range between 80 and 95%.

  • It is widely used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and is an major ingredient in topical treatments for arthritis and muscle strains.
  • It is also antiseptic and anti-bacterial, and is found in many cold medicines, including lozenges and as a preventative and treatment for respiratory infections. It may relieve the symptoms of pneumonia when applied as a lotion on the chest and back areas. Some of us have used Vicks products I am sure.. but I find a it a little strong and prefer a milder blend when used on chest and back.
  • It is also used topically to help with wound healing .
  • When taking in very small amounts as an infusion it may help eliminate unfriendly bacteria in the intestines restoring a healthier balance.
  • Some research has indicated that it may lower blood sugar and would therefore be of some therapeutic value to those who are pre-diabetic (If you are taking prescribed medication for diabetes you should not under any circumstances take without talking to your doctor first).
  • It is known to repel most insects and was first registered as a pesticide in the late 1940s. I have used Eucalyptus oil in a burner when eating outside in the summer evenings in Spain and mosquitos kept their distance… Wasps were not too keen either and I would put a couple of drops in my suntan oil.
  • This also applies to lice…. you will find that the industrially produced treatments are very harsh and also when applied to a child’s head can be toxic.
  • The food industry uses Eucalyptus oil in very small quantities in a number of food products and beverages as a preservative and to kill off any toxic pathogens to humans.
  • Household product manufacturers also use in detergents, soaps and in air fresheners. As the research has developed into the use of Eucalyptus oil its anti-bacterial properties has expanded into the toiletries industry and is used in bath and shower products and also toothpaste
  • The main chemical elements of the oil are eucalyptol (Cineole) and alpha-terpinol (similar to lilac in scent) which gives it the soothing element in its vapour and cooling when used in massage, alleviating fatigue.

Safety

When used in very low dosage the oil is safe for adults but it can be toxic if too much is ingested or used topically.

It is not recommended for children except in very low doses topically and should always be under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. My advice is to buy age appropriate preparations from a reputable source.

It may cause contact dermatitis and so you should always conduct a patch test at least 24 hours before in a spot that you are unlikely to wash in that time.. Perhaps behind your ear.

It is toxic for cats. If you use the oil in a burner or regularly in your toiletries or cleaning products watch out for these symptoms in your cat… drooling, unsteady on its feet and stomach upsets.

Eucalyptus is one of the oils not recommended during pregnancy or when breast feeding in any form ingested, inhaled or topically. If you think about it, as an adult you would use perhaps 25 drops in 500 ml of carrier oil which would relate to 2 or 3 drops each usage.

But your size and weight will mitigate the effect of that small amount. Then think about the size of a developing foetus from an embryo to only perhaps 7 or 8lbs at birth and you will understand the amplification of the effects the oil will have.

There are some oils that are safe for use during pregnancy and these include Bergamot, Chamomile, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Patchouli and Ylang Ylang… To be absolutely certain always consult a practitioner and do your own research before using any oil whilst pregnant or breast feeding.

Blending Eucalyptus and other oils.

Cedarwood from Algeria and Morocco is extracted from the wood.

• Scent: Woody
• Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage
• Note: Base
• Mood: Balancing
• Safety: Avoid in Pregnancy

Frankincense from Somalia and Oman is extracted from the resin.

• Scent: Incense, warm
• Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skin Care, Massage
• Note: Middle, Base
• Mood: Calming
• Safety: None indicated.

Lavender from Tasmania, England and France uses the flowers.

• Scent: Floral
• Usage: Inhalation, Bath, Skincare, Massage
• Note: Middle
• Mood: Soothing
• Safety: None indicated.

Marjoram is made from the whole plant and comes from Spain, Hungary, Bulgaria and Egypt.

• Scent: Herbaceous
• Usage: Baths, inhalation, massage.
• Note: Middle
• Mood: Warming
• Safety: None indicated.

Rosemary is made from the tips and the leaves and comes from Tunisia, Algeria, France and Hungary.

• Scent: Camphorated
• Usage: Massage, inhalation, skin care and baths.
• Note: Middle
• Mood: Uplifting
• Safety: Not for epileptics or in pregnancy.

Here is a video that might give you an idea of how to make a handful of preparations using Eucalyptus oil. Courtesy of Andrea Butje

I hope that you have found the post interesting and next week Frankincense one of my favourite oils.

23 thoughts on “The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – #Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain by Sally Cronin

  1. Another interesting article Sally…I use Tiger Balm here which is also used for aches, pains and mosi’s…I use the original which contains camphor but some of the other newer balms do contain eucalyptus…Pressed. Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – #Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain by Sally Cronin | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Adding a few drops to suncream is a genius idea and we’ve used a eucalyptus shampoo plus a nit comb on our lice-infested children rather than go down the strong toxins route. I’m still astonished at that point in the clip when she poured direct from a large bottle of vinegar without any mishaps!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up 1st – 7th November 2020 -Interviews, Streisand, War Poets, Short stories, Reviews, Books and funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health – Bronchitis by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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