By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0,
gum, fever tree, Tasmanian blue eucalyptus, Tasmanian blue
gum, Blue Gum Tree, Compact Blue Gum Eucalypt, Eucalipto,
Eucalypt, Okaliptus, Stringy Bark Tree; Qahich’a waavu’it
attractive tree growing to 195 feet or 115 in cooler
The trunk is smooth and
cream colored with a covering of grayish-blue bark that
peels off in narrow strips. The narrow, leathery,
sword-shaped leaves have a prominent mid-rib.
They are studded with oil
glands, fragrant and greenish-blue color. Creamy-white
flowers are borne on short flat stalks, followed by fruit
that is concealed in an aromatic, camphor-scented, woody
It is hardy to zone 9. It
is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The
scented flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by
Prefers a sunny position
in a moderately fertile well-drained moisture retentive
circum-neutral soil. Succeeds in most soils, tolerating poor
and dry soils, especially those low in mineral elements.
Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants should not
be grown in frost pockets or windy sites. Requires a
sheltered position, disliking cold, dry or desiccating
Eucalyptus species have
not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow until it
is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more
susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature
fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example,
the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become
dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch
around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also
helps the trees to survive cold conditions. The members of
this genus are remarkably adaptable however, there can be a
dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations
from the seed of survivors growing in temperate zones.
Trees have been planted in
marshy areas where they have the ability to reduce the
wetness of the land (because they transpire so much water)
thus getting rid of mosquitoes that were breeding there.
Eucalyptus monocultures are an environmental disaster, they
are voracious, allelopathic and encourage the worst possible
attitudes to land use and conservation.
A very fast growing tree,
new growth can be up to 2.5 metres per year. Trees are gross
feeders and can severely stunt the growth of nearby plants.
Trees are very amenable to coppicing.
Plants are shallow-rooting
and, especially in windy areas, should be planted out into
their permanent positions when small to ensure that they do
not suffer from wind-rock. They strongly resent root
disturbance and should be container grown before planting
out into their permanent position.
The flowers are rich in
nectar and are a good bee crop.
Seed - surface sow
February/March in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Species
that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold
stratification at 2°c. Pot up the seedlings into individual
pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed,
if left longer than this they might not move well. Plant out
into their permanent positions in early summer and give them
some protection from the cold in their first winter. The
seed can also be sown in June, the young trees being planted
in their final positions in late spring of the following
year. The seed has a long viability. Harvest the bark,
roots, and leaves as needed.
History: The “eu” and
“kalypto” is of Greek origin, meaning “well” and “cover”
referring to the covered stamens. The Australian Aborigines
called it “Kino” and bound the leaves around serious wounds
and it is still highly valued by both orthodox and herbal
practitioners for its strongly germicidal, expectorant, and
It was introduced into Europe as an ornamental species around 1788 and was found
to inhibit the growth of other plants in surrounding areas
due to secreting a chemical poison into the soil.
in the 19th century and quickly used by desert
Eucalyptus can store
quantities of water in its roots, and for this reason, the
tree was planted in swampy ‘fever districts’ to dry up the
marshes and prevent outbreaks of malaria.
Eucalyptus oil is commonly
found in proprietary throat lozenges, while steam
inhalations are particularly beneficial for clearing the
head and chest of mucus and catarrh.
destined for paper pulp have provoked severe criticism from
environmentalists as some virgin forests have been cut down
to make way for this fast-growing, water-loving species.
This species is the
national emblem of
oil with cineole, pinene, limonene, cymene, phellandrene,
terpinene, aromadendrene, ellagic and gallic acid, biter
principle, resin, tannin
stimulant, antibiotic, antiseptic, rubefacient,
Deodorant; Febrifuge; Hypoglycemic
Energetics: spicy, warm
Medicinal Uses: Eucalyptus
leaves are a traditional Aboriginal herbal remedy. The
leaves are distilled to produce eucalyptol, which is used
internally to treat bronchitis, tuberculosis, and nose and
Vapor made by boiling the
leaves, bark, or roots, or distilling them in water has been
used as an inhalant for diphtheria, coughs, and respiratory
Leaf poultices have been
used to bring abscesses to a head.
The leaves have been
prepared for internal use to treat intestinal worms.
A tea made from the leaves
is a good treatment for coughs, colds, flu, croup, pneumonia
The essential oil found in
the leaves is a powerful antiseptic and is used all over the
world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and other
infections. The essential oil is a common ingredient in many
over-the-counter cold remedies.
Extracts of the leaves
have antibacterial activity. The antibiotic properties of
the oil increase when it is old, because ozone is formed in
it on exposure to air. It has a decided disinfectant action,
destroying the lower forms of life. The oil can be used
externally, applied to cuts, skin infections etc, it can
also be inhaled for treating blocked nasal passages, it can
be gargled for sore throat and can also be taken internally
for a wide range of complaints. An oleo- resin is exuded
from the tree. It can also be obtained from the tree by
making incisions in the trunk. This resin contains tannin
and is powerfully astringent, it is used internally in the
treatment of diarrhea and bladder inflammation, externally
it is applied to cuts etc.
The oil is one of the most
It may be combined with
olive or sesame oil.
As an ointment, rub it
directly on the chest or back to relieve congestion in the
An emulsion is made by
combining equal parts of the oil with powdered slippery elm
or gum Arabic and water.
After being well shaken,
the mixture is taken internally in teaspoon doses for
tuberculosis and other infections and inflammations of the
The oil is rubbed over
aching muscles or trauma sites to stimulate circulation and
relieve pain and blood congestion.
A simple external ointment
or balm is made by mixing the oil with heated paraffin and
sufficient melted bee’s wax to harden to the desired
infusion of the leaves, 3-9 gms; oil, ½ -5 drops.
For local application to
sores, injuries and ulcers, mix one ounce of the oil in a
pint of lukewarm water and apply.
The ointment may be
applied freely as needed.
Essential oil by steam distillation from the fresh or
partially dried leaves and young twigs.
A colorless mobile liquid
(yellow on aging), with a somewhat harsh camphoraceous odor
and woody-scent undertones
thyme, rosemary, lavender,
marjoram, pine, cedarwood and lemon
Skin Care: burns,
blisters, cuts herpes, insect bites, insect repellant, lice,
skin infections, wounds
Circulation, Muscles and Joints:
Muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, rheumatoid
arthritis, sprains, etc.
asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, throat
System: Chickenpox, colds,
epidemics, flu, measles
The oil and coneol are
largely employed in the preparation of liniments, inhalants,
cough syrups, ointments, toothpaste and as pharmaceutical
flavoring, also used in veterinary practice and dentistry.
Used as a fragrance
component in soaps, detergents and toiletries, but little
used in perfumes.
Used for the isolation of
cineol and employed as a flavor ingredient in most major
non-irritant (in dilution), non-sensitizing.
Internally as little as
3.5ml has been reported as fatal.
Toxicity: Eucalyptus oil
should be used infrequently since it is difficult to
eliminate through the kidneys.
Contraindicated for women
who are pregnant or breast-feeding as well as anyone
suffering from low blood sugar.
Commission E says it is
also contraindicated for persons suffering from inflammatory
diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and bile
ducts, as well as severe liver disease.
Part Used: Leaves, Pods.
Herbe of the Moon and
Basic Power: Healing.
Eucalyptus may be used to
purify any space, whether preparing the temple or cleansing
a home of unwanted energies.
Stuff healing puppets and
pillows with the leaves.
Ring blue candles with
eucalyptus leaves and burn for healing vibrations.
Hang a branch of
eucalyptus leaves over the sickbed or in the sickroom, or
add a few leaves to flowers sent to the invalid.
String immature (green)
pods and hang around the neck to cure colds or sore-throats.
The leaves and the essential oil
in them are used as an insect repellent. The trees can also
be planted in wet areas where mosquitoes abound. The ground
will be dried out by the trees, making it unsuitable for the
mosquitoes to breed.
The essential oil is also
in spot removers for cleaning off oil and grease.
A yellow/brown dye is
obtained from the young leaves. It does not require a
Grey and green dyes are
obtained from the young shoots.
A dark green dye is
obtained from the young bark.
Wood - heavy, durable,
fire resistant. An important timber species, it is used for
construction, tool handles etc. It is also used as a source
of pulp for paper.
1 pot eucalyptus
½ cup alum
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
2 cups boiling water
1 lb wool
Chop up the leaves and
stems, cover them with water and boil them for an hour or
Meanwhile, mordant the
wool in another pot.
Dissolve the cream of
tartar, and then the alum, in the boiling water.
Add it to the 4 gallons of
Then put in the wet wool,
and raise the temperature to the simmering point, holding it
there for about ¾ hour.
Transfer the wool to the
dye ooze that has been strained from the plant material, and
simmer it for another ¾ hour.
Cool and rinse until the
water runs clear.
Color: dark yellow gold.
Dyeing the Natural Way,
Frances E. Mustard,
Greatlakes Living Press,
1977; ISBN: 0-915498-68-5
A Field Guide to Medicinal
& Connie Krochmal, Times Books, 1984; ISBN: 0-8129-6336-9
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia
Lawless, Element Books, 1995; ISBN: 1-56619-990-5
Magical Herbalism, Scott
Cunningham, Llewllyn Publications, 1982, ISBN: 0-87542-120-2
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, Lotus Press, 1978;
Plants for a Future Database
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