The scientific name of the eucalyptus is Eucalyptus globulus Labill. It is also known as Australian blue gum tree, Blue gum eucalyptus, Blue gum tree, Iron bark, and Stringybark.
Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree that reaches a height of 15 meters or more. Bark is grayish, peeling off in thin, long strips, whitish gray underneath. Young leaves are cordate, glaucous-blue, and clasping the stem. Mature leaves are leathery, lanceolate, dark green, usually somewhat sickle-shaped, more than 30 centimeters long. Flowers are white, about 1.5 centimeters in diameter. Fruit is obovoid or somewhat rounded, about 8 millimeters in diameter.
– Usually planted as a garden plant in many places.
– Grows vigorously in the many area.
– Native to Australia.
– Also in North and South Africa, India, and southern Europe.
• Yields a volatile oil, 0.01 – 1.96% – cineol, 80%, d-alpha pinene, camphene, fenchene, butyric and caprionic aldehydes, ethyl and iso-amyl alcohols, acetic acid, cymol, sesquiterpene, eudesmos, 1-pinocarveol.
• Of the more than 300 species, the species with the highest yield of eucalyptus oil are E. globosus, E. tereticornis, E. polyanthemos and E. citriodora.
• Leaves, buds, branches and bark yield taxifolin and eriodictyol.
• Study of essential oil yielded 53 oil components:1,8-cineole, Î±-pinene, limonene, aromadendrene, Î´-cadinene, and globulol were the most abundant compounds, representing 93% of the total oil.
• Study of fruits yielded 15 compounds: beta-sitosterol, betulinic acid, stigmasterol, euscaphic acid, 2a-Hydroxybetulinic acid, macrocarpal B, macrocarpal A, oleanolic acid, 3,4,3′-O-trimethylellagic acid, 3-O-methylellagic acid 4′-O-(2″-O-acetyl )-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside, camaldulenside (cypellocarpin C, 3-O-methylellagic acid 4′-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside, 3-O-methylellagic acid, ellagic acid, and gallic acid.
Medicinal properties of eucalyptus
• Oils are in classified into:
(1) medicinal, containing eucalytol or cineol
(2) industrial, containing terpenes, used in mining operations, and
(3) aromatic, as in E. citriodora.
• Considered anesthetic, antibronchitic, antiseptic, anticatarrh, antiparasitic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antiviral, cooling, antiinflammatory, diuretic, febrifuge, rubefacient, analgesic, insect repellent, sedative, expectorant, stimulant.
Mature leaves, oil.
– Blue gum leaves used as therapeutic herbal tea.
Folkloric traditional medicine remedies and uses of eucalyptus
– As antiseptic and deodorant, leaves are crushed and applied on affected areas.
– Decoction of leaves as tea for cough, asthma, hoarseness, fevers.
– Pure eucalyptus oil, two drops in a tsp of warm water, for coughs, whooping coughs, asthma and bronchitis.
– Infusion of leaves used for asthma, catarrh, bronchitis, whooping cough, coryza, dysentery, diabetes, fevers and colds, malaria, rhinitis, tuberculosis.
– For sinusitis, breathing of vapor of decoction of leaves.
– Decoction of leaves used for washing and cleaning wounds.
– Other uses: Diabetes, lumbago, sciatica, toothaches, tuberculosis, dysentery, gout.
– In China, used for promote eschar formation.
– In France, leaf extract used as hypoglycemic.
– In Guatemala, leaf decoction for fever. Hot water extract of dried leaf used for ringworm, wounds, ulcers, pimples and as vaginal douche.
– In India, as mosquito repellent and insecticide.
– In Italy, as inhalation therapy for asthma; also for diabetes.
– In Kenya, for snail infestation.
– In Mexico, for urethritis, laryngitis, cystitis, gastritis, enteritis; as antipyretic and antimalarial.
– In Tunisia, for bronchial conditions and cough.
– In Spain, for colds, catarrh, diabetes.
Preparation for use:
Gather the leaves, dry in the sun for 5-6 hours. Place in a paper bag, tie and hang in the shade for a week. Decoct 50 gms of the dried leaves in a pint of boiling water; drink 6 glasses daily. For fresh leaves, use 60 to 70 gms to a pint of boiling water, drink the same amount.
• Mastitis: A herbal gel made from C longa, Cedrus deodara, G glabra and E globulus, applied twice daily, is used to treat and prevent subclinical mastitis in crossbred cows.
• Bovine endometriosis: Cow with endometritis were given an intrauterine infusion of a 10% solution of a tincture of E globulus.
• Ectoparasites: Two experimental herbal mixtures containing E globulus along with several other plant oils have been used on dogs to treat ectoparasites.
– Biopesticidal: Leaves burned for use as Insect repellant. Extract used to kill fleas.
– Timber: Although of poor quality, used for fence post and pole construction.
– Perfumery: Oil used in perfumery.
Extraction of oil
Boil mature leaves in water, condensing the vapor to recover the oil. Eucalyptus globulus yields less oil than the other varieties used for commercial production of medicinal grade oils.
Scientific proven benefits and uses of eucalyptus
Antibacterial Activity of Three Medicinal Plants: Eucalyptus Globulus, Aristolochial Latas and Vitex Negundo against Enteric Pathogens: The medicinal plants tested showed varying degrees of antibacterial activity with the maximum zone of inhibition obtained with E. globulus.
In the study, incorporation of eucalyptus in the diet and drinking water reduced hyperglycemia and associated weight loss of STZ-treated mice. The study showed pancreatic protection or regeneration following exposure to streptozotocin. Data indicate E globulus represents an effective antihyperglycemic dietary adjunct for the treatment of diabetes.
(1) Antibacterial activity of leaf essential oils of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus camaldulensis: Study suggested the potential usefulness of the two Eucalyptus species as a micobiostatis, antiseptic or as a disinfectant agent.
(2) Study of the antibacterial activity of E globulus leaf extract was done on isolates of S aureus, S pyogenes, S pneumoniae and H influenza from 200 clinical specimens. Results suggest further studies to clarify its therapeutic role in the treatment of respiratory tract infection.
• Chemical Constituents of Fruit:
Five compounds were isolated from the fruit: betulonic acid, betulinic acid, ursolic acid, corosolic acid and daucosterol.
Study on the acaricidal effects of the essential oils of two medicinal plants – Pelargonium roseum and E globulus – showed a dose-dependent effect on mortality rate for adult ticks and mass of egg production. Results showed both plants can be considered as potential candidates for the biocontrol of R annulatus in the field.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Diabetic:
Study results conclude that eucalyptus possess antioxidant and antidiabetic activities. Data indicated eucalytus either increase antioxidant power or reduce oxidative stress due to reduction in plasma glucose in diabetic rats, which prevents excessive production of free radicals through glycation of proteins.
Study showed the SCF (superficial fluid extract), methanolic and water extracts of the stem bark possess similar free radical scavenging and antioxidative activity higher than synthetic antioxidants BHT. The SCF extract also showed to be a good source of yellow natural food dye.
Study evaluated the effects of eucalyptus leaves on STZ-induced damage in pancreatic islets. Results suggest EG caused dose-dependent amelioration of the diabetic state by partial restoration of pancreatic beta cells and repair STZ-induced damage in rats.
Study of aqueous extract of E. globulus leaves on biochemical parameters of rat liver showed deleterious effects on liver membrane and functional integrity. Repeated administration produced a significant increase in ALP in a dose-dependent manner. Mechanism may be due to enzyme induction by the extract.
• Eucalyptone / Antibacterial:
Study of an ethyl acetate bark fraction of small twigs isolated a new pholoroglucinol, eucalyptone G, together with nine other known compounds. Eucalyptone G exhibited antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and E coli.
• Antiplasmodial / Antibacterial:
In a study for antiplasmodial activity and cytotoxicity of eleven extracts prepared from seven selected plants in Western Cameroon, seven extracts from five different plants, including E globulus leaves showed activity with weak or no toxicity. E. globulus also had the highest extraction yield.
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