Eucalyptuses are huge trees with many thin long leaves that are cultivated worldwide. Its genus is Myrtaceae and it originated from Austria. Its leaves have oil which can be specially extracted and carefully distilled to make eucalyptus oil. This oil is highly valuable with many uses such as pharmaceutical, repellent, antiseptic, fragrance, flavoring and many industrial uses. Not all Eucalyptus leaves are worthy but only those of certain Eucalyptus species which are steam distilled to derive eucalyptus oil.
Common Types Produced
Eucalyptus Oil is categorized into three main groups for trade purposes according to their main use or their composition. They are grouped into Medicinal, Industrial and Perfumery. Currently, the main producers of true and pure eucalyptus oil include South Africa, Chile, Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Swaziland and Spain. Although China produces about three quarter of the world trade, most of it is derived from Camphor oil which is not the true and pure eucalyptus oil.
Main Uses of Eucalyptus Oil
Medical and Antiseptic
Eucalyptus oil has very many medical applications. The eucalyptol or cineole, a compound found in this oil is used in pharmaceutical preparation to relieve colds or influenza. It has antibacterial ability to counter any pathogenic bacteria found within wind pipe. Eucalyptus oilvapor is inhaled for bronchitis treatment and as a decongestant.
It has phagocytic ability which stimulates immune system mainly by monocyte and macrophages. Due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities, it has been used in production of liniment. For its antimicrobial power, it is widely used in soaps, dental care and covering wounds to prevent infection.
Repellant and as Pesticide
The high content cineole-based oil is mostly used as biopesticide and as an insect repellant. In America, it is registered as an insecticide and abiopesticide.
Eucalyptus oil has a good and attractive flavor. For this reason, it is used as a flavor in many products including confectionery, baked goods, beverages and meat products. Also, it has antimicrobial ability against foodborne pathogens and all food spoilage microorganisms hence it is used as a preservative too
Eucalyptus oil is widely used in the production of soaps, detergents, perfumes and lotions as a fragrance component. This gives a fresh and clean aroma.
Cineole-based eucalyptus oil aids in separation of ethanol and petrol fuel blends. It also contains a significant amount of octane and thus can be used as fuel. However, due to its high production cost it cannot be economically used as a fuel.