The eucalyptus belongs to the family of myrtle plants (Myrtaceae). Worldwide over 600 species are known.
The best-known species are:
The plant is an evergreen tree or bush with drooping leaves. Depending on the eucalyptus genus it can reach a height of 100 meters.
2. Origin/flowering time/harvest
The eucalyptus has its origin in Australia and is now cultivated worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. The genus Globulus blossoms from April to June, the other genera during late summer.
The older and thicker leaves are harvested all season long, as they contain the most essential oil.
The essential oil is obtained by water steam distillation from the leaves and twigs of the eucalyptus. For one liter oil, 50 kg leaves and twigs are needed.
The main ingredients of the oil (1,8 - eucalyptol, limonene, alpha-pinene) are perorally or percutaneously absorbed and leave the system by way of lung and urin (violet odor). Cineol can be detected in the blood after peroral absorption.
Essential oils function usually by the following principle: after a contact with mucous membranes results into a secrete liquefaction and a subsequent stimulation of the cilia activity. Additionally essential oils have a supportive antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect. That is why eucalyptus oil is used to treat colds, inflammatory diseases of mouth and throat and muscle and joint paints (rheumatism ointments). It is applied in form of pharmaceutical capsules, cold balsam, ointments or bath essence. Attention: do not use with children under three years of age, during pregnancy, inflammatory diseases in the gastrointestinal tract and open wounds or irritated skin.