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Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

Botanical Description & Habitat

Eucalyptus globulus

Family
Myrtaeceae

Common Names
Australian fever tree
Blue gum tree

Habitat
Native to Australia and Tasmania, common in California and Florida.

Description
The eucalyptus is an large evergreen tree reaching more than 300 feet in height, and has peeling, violet-brown bark. The first leaves on the young tree are oblong, opposite, and sessile. They are replaced by bluish-green, petioled, leathery adult leaves dotted with oil glands. The flowers are white and grow alone or in terminal clusters. The fruit is a bluish capsule, containing numerous seeds.

Medicinal Parts
Leaves, oil, and bark

Historical Properties & Uses

Eucalyptus produces one of the most familiar essential oils in the world. This unique oil is an effective expectorant in hundreds of different cough medications. Like all strong essential oils, it is a general gastrointestinal stimulant, antibiotic, disinfectant, and antitussive.

Eucalyptus soothes many kinds of respiratory problems, from common colds to bronchial asthma. Pure eucalyptus oil should not be ingested. The pure oil is safe for external use, where its antiseptic quality benefits wounds, abrasions, sores, and ulcers.

Eucalyptus leaf has approval status by the German Commission E for catarrh and the oil may also be used topically for arthritis.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Eucalyptus oil has excellent antimicrobial properties
The antibacterial, antimicrobial, antitubercular and antiviral properties of this herb are well-substantiated. Essential oil extracts inhibit the multiplication of influenza viruses, A and A/PR8, both in vitro and in vivo.

Caryone, from the essential oil, was found to have anthelmintic properties against the larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis and Ancylostoma caninum.

Due to the presence of tannins, eucalyptus has been shown to have molluscicidal activity against Biomphalaria glabrata, the cause of schistosomiasis.

Eucalyptis Extract has hypoglycemic action
A crude extract of eucalyptus leaves have been shown to have oral hypoglycemic activity in alloxan-diabetic rabbits, but this effect could not be observed in rats.

To what extent the plant would affect man is not known. This activity is tentatively attributed to the presence of phenolic glycosides.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions

Eucalyptol, extracted from the Eucalyptus leaf, used as an aerosol, decreases aminopyrine plasma levels.

The German Commission E notes the possibility for the oil to weaken, or shorten, the effects of other drugs as it works via the liver enzyme system.

Possible Interactions

The tannin in eucalyptus may potentiate the antibiotic activity of echinacea. The tannin in tea made from the herb may be inactivated by the addition of milk or cream.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Most authorities consider eucalyptus and its oil safe for external use by man. Internal use of the oil is not recommended. Ingestion of as little as 3.5 ml has been reported as fatal.

Eucalyptus leaf has approval status by the German Commission E, with no known drug interactions.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Essential oil (produced by steam distillation)
0.05-0.2 ml. Dilute 1:5 for external application


Eucalyptus leaf and oil have approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

4 - 6 g leaf.
3 - 9 g tincture.

0.3 - 0.6 g oil.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Blacow, N.W. Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia. The Pharmaceutical Press: London, England, 1973

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Boukef, K., Balancard, C., et. al., Etude d'un heteroside phenolique isole des feulles d'eucalyptus globulus labill. Pl. Med. Et Phytother., X(2), 119-127, 1976.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Committee on Pharmocopaeia of the Am Institute of Homeopathy, The Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia of the United States. 8th ed., Vol 1. Otis Clapp and Son, Agents, Boston, l981.

Conference on drug metabolism in man. 1971. Proceedings, the New York Academy of Sciences, June 29-July1, 1970. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 179. pp. 9-773.

Fitzpatrick, F.K. Plant substances active against mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antibiotics And Chemotherapy, 4(5), 528-536, 1954.

Gilbert, B., et. al. Amatividade antelmintica de essenciaiae de seus com poncentes quimicos. An. Acad. Brasil Cieno 44, 423, 1972.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. Macmillan, NY.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Hendrickson, P.H. Periodontal Disease and Calcium De-ficiency. Acta Odontologica Scand., 26. 1968.

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

Leung, Albert Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredient used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. John Wiley and Sons, NY. 409 pp.

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Martin, E. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Co., Phila.

Maruzzella, J. & Sircurella, N. Antibacterial activity of essential oil vapors. J Of The Am Pharm Assoc, 49(11), 692-694, 1960.

Maruzzela, J.C. & Lichtenstein, M.B. The in vitro antibacterial activity of oils. J. Of The Am. Pharm. Ass., 45(6), 378-381, 1956.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Ohigashi, H. & T. Mitsui. Antimicrobial substances in higher plants. Botyu-kagak, 38(3), 165-180, 1973.

Renedo, J., Otero, J.A., Mira, J.R. Essential oil of Eycalyptus globulus L. from Cantabria (Spain). Planta Med Phytotber 24 (1990): 31-35.

Reuter, H.D. Fortschritte in der arzneimittelforschung. Zeitschrift Der Allgemein Medizin, 59, 1309-1312, 1983.

Vichkanova, S.A., et. al. Farmakologia I Toksikologia, 36, 339, 1973.

Vincent, D. & G. Segonzac. 1953. Comptes Rendus des Seances de la Societe de Biologie et de ses Filiales, 147. pp. 1776-1779.


Essential Oil

See Eucalyptus Essence under Aromatherapy