When I was in high school, I was offered an amazing opportunity to be an exchange student in Australia. It was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in my life and has had an impact on me in so many ways. Before traveling to Australia, I was somewhat familiar with eucalyptus, but in the sense of “Hey Koalas eat that!”
That's me holding a koala!!!
Let me set a scene for you: Trafalgar Station is an 80,000-acre ranch in Queensland, which uses some amazing sustainability practices. The property is HUGE, and the owners are one-of-a-kind. The homestead of the ranch is too remote to allow for regular trips to “town”, or even to the mailbox. If I recall correctly, it was about a two-hour drive to get down the driveway!
I have a vivid memory of one of my days at Trafalgar Station. This day, we woke up early, ate ourselves some brekkie, and headed out to a dry riverbed. We had a “field day” of sorts, playing games, learning how to crack a bullwhip and so many other things. The moment that still stands out the most to me is sitting in the riverbed, picking up a handful of dried leaves, and crushing them in my hand. POW, the smell of eucalyptus will be forever burned into my memory, and instantly takes me back to this moment.
What is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus is a varied class of flowering trees and shrubs, with more than 700 known species. The genus is responsible for the vast majority of plant life in Australia, and most species are native to Australia. Most eucalyptus are considered to be evergreen, though there are some varieties that do lose their leaves at the end of the dry season (I think this is likely the leaves I found, since I was hanging out in a dried up riverbed). Eucalyptus leaves are covered in oil glands, which produce bountiful oils. The oils produced by the leaves of the plant are an important feature of the class.
Eucalyptus Oil & How it is Used
Eucalyptus oil, or eucalyptus essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of eucalyptus plants. Eucalyptus globuls is the number one source of eucalyptus oil around the world. Throughout history, eucalyptus oil has been used for a myriad of applications, as a repellent, antibacterial, pharmaceutical, scent, and in industrial uses.
In pharmaceutical applications, appropriate grades of eucalyptus oil are used readily to treat influenza, bronchitis, and the common cold. Used in things like cough drops, inhalants, and ointments, it has antibacterial effects in the respiratory tract, and is a decongestant. Additionally, eucalyptus oil is antimicrobial, antifungal, and has anti-inflammatory qualities. It is included in many personal hygiene products, mouth wash, and soaps.
Eucalyptus Oil Safety
Recommended usage rates have been put into place for the safe use of eucalyptus oils for adults, when used topically, or ingested. Please consult your health care professional for more information on the safety of eucalyptus oil.
You can read more about eucalyptus oil, its uses, and safety as published by International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)
Need Some Eucalyptus Now?
If you're looking for some Kilted Suds products containing eucalyptus, there are a TON. Check them out here