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Eucalyptus is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to Australia and naturalized to California and Mediterranean countries. Its leathery, aromatic, blue-green leaves are stubbed with glands containing a strong volatile oil. Eucalyptus goes by other names such as Ribbon Gum and Shining Gum and is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees.
Eucalyptus is both the common and genus name and comes from the Greek words ‘eu’ and ‘kalypto’ which mean ‘well’ and ‘covered’ which refers to the flower’s cup-like membrane that covers the bud before the bud sheds it as it expands to flower. Eucalyptus is in the Myrtaceae or the myrtle family, which is a family of dicotyledonous including Myrtle, Pohutukawa, Bay Rum Tree, Clove, Guava and Allspice.
In its native Australia, the Eucalyptus tree is the main food for koalas. For thousands of years, Australian aborigines used Eucalyptus Leaf for its healthful properties as a tea or a topical application, It was first used by the Aborigines in the dry outback—they chewed the roots, which hold a high concentration of water. Aborigines used several species of Eucalyptus as tonics for gastro-intestinal symptoms and they drank Eucalyptus tea as a remedy for fever. As this use spread, Eucalyptus became known as Australian fever tea. Furthermore, Eucalyptus was used in traditional Aboriginal medicines to heal wounds and fungal infections; and various Eucalyptus species were used in concocting mixtures for the relief of aches and pains in muscles, joints and even teeth.
The highly concentrated oil that is steam-distilled from the leaves of the tree has been used medicinally since at least 1788, when doctors reportedly noted the presence of the oil and began using it to treat chest problems and colic. In the late 1800s, its ability to promote sweating and clear mucus led to Eucalyptus oil being prescribed for respiratory conditions including bronchitis, flu, asthma and coughs. Typical preparations today include facial or hydro-steams, aromatherapy and teas.
The energetics and taste of Eucalyptus are bitter, pungent, moistening and cooling. Eucalyptus has an affinity towards the gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculoskeletal system, circulatory system and the skin. For respiratory system support combine Eucalyptus leaf with Licorice Root, Ginger Root or Spearmint Leaf. For a facial steam combine Eucalyptus Leaf with Elderflower, Lavender or Rose Petals.
How to use:
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Eucalyptus to one cup of boiling water. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day.
Ideal to use as a face wash for its anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory properties; or in a steam bath as a respiratory aid.
Eucalyptus Honey Recipe:
Place Eucalyptus in the bottom of a jar and fill the jar almost to the top with honey. Using a chopstick, or other mixing implement, stir to coat the herb with honey. Top off with more honey to fill the jar. Wipe the jar rim with a clean cloth and cover tightly.
Let the herbs infuse for at least 5 days. If the herbs float to the top, turn the jar over a few times to keep them well coated. For a more intense flavour, infuse for another week or longer.
Strain the honey into a clean jar. Depending on the volume of honey and herbs and the size of the strainer, you may need to do this in stages.
Label the jar with the content and store the honey in a tightly covered jar in a cool, dry place. It will last indefinitely.
Cautions & contraindications:
Eucalyptus is widely tolerated, but as with everything, moderation is best. Overconsumption can cause adverse reactions, and it’s also possible to be allergic to this plant.
You should also stay clear of Eucalyptus tea if you have (or have had) gastric ulcers and any liver/kidney issues. It may also cause problems for anyone with chronic acid reflux and may trigger a bout of reflux following consumption.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.