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May 2017--Eucalyptus

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Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus globulos

By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6154620  

Eucalyptus globulus

[yoo-kuh-LIP-tus   GLOB-yoo-lus]   

Family:  Myrtaceae    

Names:  blue 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

Description:  Tall, attractive tree growing to 195 feet or 115 in cooler climates.  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 cup.  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 bees.

Cultivation:  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 winds.  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 decongestant properties.  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.  Introduced into California in the 19th century and quickly used by desert Indians.  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.  Eucalyptus plantations 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 Tasmania.    

Constituents: essential oil with cineole, pinene, limonene, cymene, phellandrene, terpinene, aromadendrene, ellagic and gallic acid, biter principle, resin, tannin

Properties: expectorant, stimulant, antibiotic, antiseptic, rubefacient, Antibacterial; Antiperiodic;  Antispasmodic; Aromatic; Deodorant; Febrifuge; Hypoglycemic

Energetics: spicy, warm    

Meridians/Organs affected: lungs, kidneys     

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 throat inflammations.  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 ailments.  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 and asthma.  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 powerful antiseptics.  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 lungs.  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 lungs.  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 consistency.

Dosage:  standard 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. 

Aromatherapy Uses: 
Extraction:
Essential oil by steam distillation from the fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs. 

Characteristics:  A colorless mobile liquid (yellow on aging), with a somewhat harsh camphoraceous odor and woody-scent undertones

Blends well with:        thyme, rosemary, lavender, marjoram, pine, cedarwood and lemon

Uses: 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.

Respiratory System: asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, throat infections

Genito-urinary System: cystitis, leucorrhea

Immune System: Chickenpox, colds, epidemics, flu, measles

Nervous System: Debility, headaches, neuralgia

Other Uses:  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 food categories.

Safety:  Externally non-toxic, 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.   

Ritual Uses:  Gender: Cold.  Element: Air.  Part Used: Leaves, Pods.  Herbe of the Moon and Pluto.  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.

Other Uses: 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 mordant.  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.

Dye Recipe:  
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 so.  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 water.  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. 


References:
Dyeing the Natural Way
, Frances E. Mustard,  Greatlakes Living Press, 1977; ISBN: 0-915498-68-5
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants
, Arnold & 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; ISBN: 0-941-52427-2
Plants for a Future Database
 

Resources:
Companion Plants, www.companionplants.com
  plants
 

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http://www.herbalpedia.com Editor: Maureen Rogers.  Copyright 2017.  All rights reserved.   Material herein is derived from journals, textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information contained in any reference noted herein, for the misuse of information or any adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

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