Friday, 22 May 2009

Eucalyptus Variations

Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Photo by ximenatapia.
When I first trained as an aromatherapist I thought I new what Eucalyptus smelt like and that there was only one. Recently, I discovered that there are in fact over two hundred varieties of Eucalyptus trees and five different Eucalyptus essential oils all with slightly different aromas.

The most common Eucalyptus oil is Eucalyptus Globulus, the other lesser known ones include Eucalyptus Citriodora, Eucalyptus Radiata (this one I am particularly fond of), Eucalyptus Staigeriana, and Eucalyptus Smithii.

They all have similar healing properties although some are better at one thing than another.

Eucalyptus Radiata has a similar composition to that of the essential oils from the Melaleuca family (e.g. tea tree). It stimulates the immune system making it beneficial to people who are tired, run down, and/or prone to frequent colds and infections. It is less likely to cause skin irritation compared with Eucalyptus Globulus. Eucalyptus Radiata is excellent for reducing inflammation helping with arthritis, sprains, strains, torn ligaments and tendons. It can also be beneficial in cases of Endometriosis. It is said to be absorbed by the skin better than the other Eucalyptus oils.

As the name suggests, Eucalyptus Citriodora is lemon scented and is often called Lemon Eucalyptus. It is a very rich source of citronellal making it a powerful insect repellent, it is hypotensive, calming to the nervous system, and a febrifuge (lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever). It has a similar strength anti-inflammatory property as Eucalyptus Radiata.

Eucalyptus Smithii is anti-viral and an expectorant. It is considered to be the mildest of the Eucalyptus essential oils making it more favourable for use with children and the elderly. It is less likely to cause skin irritation and the aroma isn’t quite as strong.

Like Eucalyptus Citriodora, Eucalyptus Staigeriana is also lemon scented. It is another gentler Eucalyptus so can be used on people with more sensitive skin including children and the elderly. It has similar physical properties to Lemon oil.

Eucalyptus Globulus is used in both Eastern and Western medicine especially in preparations which aid the respiratory tract such as colds/flu, coughs, and asthma.

Below is a table comparing some of the properties of these five Eucalyptus essential oils. It is not a definitive list as information about the lesser known Eucalyptus oils is not as widely available as that of Eucalyptus Globulus.

PropertyEucalyptus GlobulusEucalyptus RadiataEucalyptus CitriodoraEucalyptus SmithiiEucalyptus Staigeriana
AnalgesicY Y Y
Anti-inflammatoryYYY Y
Anti-microbialYYY Y
Anti-viral YYYY
Boosts immune system Y   
DecongestantYY  Y
Diuretic    Y
Febrifuge  Y  
Hypotensive  Y  
Insect repellant  Y  
Lowers blood sugarY   Y
MucolyticYY YY
Nervine  Y  
Sedative  YY 
StimulantY YY 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again, Sarah, for a very informative, useful article. I had heard of some of the different Eucalyptus oils, but didn't really know how to choose one over the other. Eucalyptus Citriodora smells like Citronella to me; guess that's why it's a good oil for repelling insects. ~ cindy