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Meet The Plant - Eucalyptus

This month we will be talking about the eucalyptus tree (scientifically classified as Eucalyptus Globulus) and the health benefits of the essential oil. The eucalyptus tree is beloved by the koala for afternoon snacks and naps. The eucalyptus originated between 35 and 50 million years ago in Australia. During the past few centuries, the tree has been moved to other parts of the world including India, Europe, South Africa, and America, the birthplace of Purequosa.

In the 1850s, the Australians introduced eucalyptus trees to America during the California Gold Rush. By the early 1900s, acres of eucalyptus existed due to the climate being similar to Australia. The Americans were hoping that the eucalyptus tree would provide a renewable source of timber for construction, furniture building, and railroad ties. Sadly, it was found that the eucalyptus wood was unsuitable for railroad ties as the wood had a tendency to twist while drying. On a positive note, the eucalyptus tree provided windbreaks for highways and citrus groves in the treeless areas of California.

There are more than 700 species of eucalyptus. Most species are native to Australia, but some are from New Guinea and Indonesia. A mature eucalyptus may take the form of a small shrub or a very large tree, up to 150 feet. They are credited as being the tallest known flowering plant on Earth. Flowers have no petals, but instead, decorate themselves with many showy stamens in colors of white, cream, yellow, pink, or red.

Eucalyptus trees are also planted in areas where the water table needs to be lowered. The tree will draw a tremendous amount of water from the soil through the process known as transpiration.  Eucalyptus has also been used as a way of reducing malaria by draining the soil and swamps in particular areas of the world.

The wood and oil from the eucalyptus are used today in creative ways ranging from music to health aids. Eucalyptus wood is commonly used to make didgeridoos, a traditional Australian Aboriginal wind instrument.

The essential oil of the eucalyptus is obtained from the pores on the fresh leaves which are removed by the process of steam distillation. It takes approximately 50 pounds of eucalyptus leaves and twigs to make just one pound of essential oil. 

Eucalyptus essential oil has been known to aid with the following health issues:

Wound care - Used to heal wounds, ulcers, burns, cuts, abrasions, and sores. It is also an effective salve for insect bites and stings.

Respiratory problems - Aides in cold, cough, runny nose, sore throat, asthma, nasal congestion, and bronchitis treatments.

Mental exhaustion - A stimulant that helps remove fatigue and efficient in the treatment of stress and mental disorders. Since the essential oil is considered a vasodilator, meaning that it increases the blood flow around the body by relaxing the blood vessels and allowing more blood to circulate. 

Dental care - Effective against cavities, dental plaque, gingivitis and dental infections. Commonly found as an active ingredient in mouthwash, toothpaste, and dental hygiene products.

Muscle pain - The volatile eucalyptus oil is analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature. Is often recommended to patients suffering from rheumatism, sprained ligaments and tendons, stiff muscles, aches, fibrosis and even nerve pain. Adding eucalyptus essential oil to a carrier oil can be massaged into the skin for muscle and joint pain relief.

We love the healing abilities of the eucalyptus and use the hydrosol in our Purequosa rain. Plant hydrosol is the by-product of the essential oil distilling process. Hydrosols are the water in which the plant material boils in and releases a lighter and more gentle benefit into the water. Same benefits as the oil with less concentration making it gentler on the skin.

Stay tuned for our article on eucalyptus and skin health.

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