The image above is of some freshly harvested leaves from a Eucalyptus tree growing in Florida (USA). Fresh plant material contains higher concentrations of oils and active alkaloids. By simply running a fresh leaf through your fingers you can begin to smell the powerful fragrance of the oils which are beneficial to health when used properly. On this page I will discuss everything from the historic applications of this plant, to the scientific inquiry behind its use. I'll even go over a few folk lore related beliefs.
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Eucalyptus has a history of use in aromatherapy. The fragrance of it is very similar to that of Menthol that's extracted from various members of the Mint family. Both seem to open the respiratory passage ways and have a tingly cooling touch. It should be dosed very precisely because high enough doses of the oil can be toxic. This is an essential point and its intended to reduce and prevent harm.
"In ancient medicinal preparations, it was used to treat asthma, gastric complaints, incipient scarlet fever, and even worm infestations. The plant oils contain a phytochemical called Eucalyptol, which has anti-septic properties. Research indicates that this chemical can kill some influenza viruses and certain types of bacteria, making it useful for bronchitis. It's used in lozenges because of its ability to loosen phlegm in the chest area."[3(Swerdlow 2000 356)] Long before phytochemistry, Eucalyptus and others were already popular medicines. Never underestimate the power of observation.
The Native Americans were the original doctors of this land that we call home. Their innate love for nature and their ability to tune in to plants medicinal properties has influenced medicine to this day. They used Eucalyptus for asthma, bronchitis, the spleen, rheumatism, tumors, ulcers, worms, pleurisy, sore throats, and sinus related ailments, in the form of a tea by using the dried and steeped leaf. [2 (Rain 1990 129)] They took raw plant material, mashed it up, and made a compress which was used for chest colds and sore throat. [2 (Rain 1990 129)]
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Eucalyptus is said to have a warm energy, and aids in protecting its owner. In ancient times it was believed that when the leaves and twigs were hung above a sick persons bed that it would help them to heal, and ward off negative energy. Aside from the lore, in modern times we do have a scientific understanding of this valuable medicine. Back in the day people didn't need any more proof than they could observe, and these beliefs were indications of their faith in this medicine regardless of whether or not they could understand it scientifically.
"An aromatic consultant from Los Angeles named John Steele came up with a massage oil recipe that utilizes Eucalyptus for dealing with backaches. It consist of 4 drops of blue chamomile, 4 drops of birch, 4 drops of rosemary, coriander or eucalyptus, 4 drops of ginger or black pepper and 14 drops of lavenders essential oils. Its then added to 1/2 ounce of any carrier oil. Its applied by rubbing it in to the affected area after a hot bath." [1 (Gottlieb, Dollemore 1995 196)] As you can see plants such as this are versatile in how they can be used. Given enough knowledge and intuition, one can easily improvise methods for utilizing their medical potential.
"The essential oils produced by this plant are readily available and can be steam distilled from the leaves. They are used in cleaning, as an industrial solvent, antiseptic, deodorizing, and in precise dosages as an additive in sweets, cough drops, toothpaste and decongestants. The oils also have insect repellent properties, being the active ingredient in certain mosquito repellents." As you can see this plant is of great industrial importance. Whether you are aware of it or not, it's most probably helped you out over the years of your life.
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Eucalyptol is an active phytochemical that exist within Eucalyptus. It's also an active ingredient in Listerine. In fact, all of the active ingredients in this mouth wash are plant alkaloids. It's vital in the production of related industrial products intended for oral hygiene health, and other applications. While people out there guarding corporate interest may be telling the world that there is no scientific inquiry behind the medicinal properties and applications of plants, their businesses depends on them. The same is so for drug companies whom could not distribute opiate based drugs if it were not for the existence of the Opium Poppy
Flower where they originate but, I digress.
Lab Tested Mitragyna speciosa!
The truth is that plants create medicine. They are essentially the most complex chemist on the planet. Without being able to read a book, talk, or flip pancakes, they can utilize organic resources in their environment and convert them into mind-bogglingly complex pharmacological alkaloids. There is not one human chemist on the planet that can accomplish such a feat by means of naturally occurring biological activity. As humans we have to dedicated years to studying chemistry and still can't come close. How do we know this? There is an entire branch of chemistry dedicated to the study of the pharmacological alkaloids that plants produce, and it's called phytochemistry.
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