Eucalyptus globulus

Eucalyptus globulus

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name

Myrtaceae

Genus Name

Eucalyptus

Vernacular Name

Eucalyptus, blue gum eucalyptus, Tasmanian eucalyptus, Tasmanian blue gum

Original Habitat

E. globulus is a rapidly growing evergreen tree growing 35 to 50 metres tall. While native to Australia, it is found in other parts of the world and has even become an invasive species in the United States where it has displaced native plants after being introduced in the early 19th century. The characteristic shedding bark of the tree peels off in long strips. It has pale yellow-cream coloured flowers that produce a sweet nectar and fruits that are small and contain numerous seeds. The leaves are covered in a grayish blue wax that gives the plant its common name. The fact that this plant is considered an invasive species speaks to its ability to thrive in a variety of soils and conditions.

This species is the most common for the production of that which is simply referred to as Eucalyptus oil.

Plant Part Used

Leaves

Formulation

E. globulus essential oil is used regularly in the food and beverage industry. It is also found in topical ointments and vapor rubs. It is not regularly used in the fragrance industry.[1] In therapeutic aromatherapy it is used as a single oil and in more complex formulations for topical application or inhalation.

Description

The relatively thin essential oil of E. globulus is steam distilled from the leaves and is clear to pale yellow in colour. Its aroma is camphorous.[1]

Chemical Constituents

Terpenic oxides: Cineole (70-75%) (1-8 cineole)
Piperitone [2][3]

Medicinal Uses

Anticatarrhal, expectorant +++
Mucolytic ++
Microbicidal, antibacterial +++
Fungicidal ++

Antimicrobial: The anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity of E. globulus­ were tested against numerous strains of bacteria and two viral strains collected from patients suffering from upper respiratory infections. The essential oil demonstrated moderate anti-bacterial activity against several strains, and low level anti-viral activity.[4] These antimicrobial activities have been demonstrated in other laboratory settings. [5][6][7]

Antiviral: Eucalyptus essential oil along with Tea tree oil demonstrated anti-viral activity against the herpes simplex virus in a laboratory setting.[8]

Anti-inflammatory: An animal model demonstrated some moderate neutrophil dependant and independent anti-inflammatory activity for E. globulus essential oil and oils from two related species.[9] In a human study of head and neck cancers, topical application of Eucalyptus oil resulted in an observable reduction in inflammation.[10] It is suggested that some of this activity may be due to the oil’s anti-oxidant properties.[11]

Phagocytic: Eucalyptus essential oil (non-specified) was tested to determine its ability to stimulate cell-mediated immune response. Using human MDMs (monocyte derived macrophages) in vitro, and rat monocytes in vivo either with or without immune suppression initiated by chemotherapy, the essential oil was found to demonstrate a cell-mediated immune response.[12]  

Traditional Use

Bronchitis, rhinopharyngitis, laryngitis, influenza, otitis +++
Bacterial and candidosic dermitis +++

Asthma: Thirty two patients with steroid-dependent asthma were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial designed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of 1-8 cineol. Patients given the essential oil were able to reduce their intake of steroids at regular intervals over a 12 week period of time.[13]

Analgesic: In an animal model, mice with experimentally induce pain were treated with the essential oil of E. globulus and two other species of Eucalyptus. All three species demonstrated both central and peripheral analgesic effects.[9]

Antisceptic/antibacterial: A human study involving patients with malodorous head and neck cancers demonstrated significant odour inhibition and improved cell integrity using Eucalyptus essential oil as an adjunct therapy with existing treatment. Outcomes improved quality of life.[14]

Respiratory infections: In vivo studies have supported the traditional use of E. globulus as a treatment for respiratory infections by improving lung function.[15]

Contraindications and Precautions

Toxic if ingested.[16][17]
Not to be used on pregnant or nursing women or children.

A 48 hour skin patch test on humans did not identify any skin sensitivity to this essential oil [18] although one case study of toxicity due to topical application has been identified.[19]

 

 

[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

References

1.     Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

2.     Shahverdi AR. A TLC bioautographic assay for the detection of nitrofurantoin resistance reversal compound. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 1 May2007;850(1-2):528-530.

3.     Lee S. Cross-resistance of a chlorpyrifos-methyl resistant strain of Oryzaephilus surinamensis (Coleoptera: Cucujidae) to fumigant toxicity of essential oil extracted from Eucalyptus globulus and its major monoterpene, 1,8-cineole. J Stored Prod Res. 15 Oct2000;36(4):383-389.

4.     Cermelli C. Effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on respiratory bacteria and viruses. Curr Microbiol. Jan2008;56(1):89-92.

5.     Cimanga K. Correlation between chemical composition and antibacterial activity of essential oils of some aromatic medicinal plants growing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. J Ethnopharmacol. Feb2002;79(2):213-220.

6.     Karpanen TJ. Antimicrobial efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate alone and in combination with Eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and thymol against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Staphylococcus epidermidis. J Antimicrob Chemother. Nov2008;62(5):1031-1036.

7.     Schelz Z. Antimicrobial and antiplasmid activities of essential oils. Fitoterapia. Jun2006;77(4):279-285.

8.     Schnitzler P. Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and Eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture. Pharmazie. Apr2001;56(4):343-347.

9.     Silva J. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of essential oils of Eucalyptus. J Ethnopharmacol. Dec2003;89(2-3):277-283.

10.  Warnke PH. Antibacterial essential oils in malodorous cancer patients: clinical observations in 30 patients. Phytomedicine. Jul2006;13(7):463-467.

11.  Grassmann J. Antioxidant properties of essential oils. Possible explanations for their anti-inflammatory effects. Arzneimittelforschung. Feb2000;50(2):135-139.

12.  Serafino A. Stimulatory effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on innate cell-mediated immune response. BMC Immunol. Apr200818;9:17.

13.  Juergens UR. Anti-inflammatory activity of 1.8-cineol (eucalyptol) in bronchial asthma: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Respir Med. Mar2003;97(3):250-256.

14.  Warnke PH. Antibacterial essential oils in malodorous cancer patients: clinical observations in 30 patients. Phytomedicine. Jul2006;13(7):463-467.

15.  Zänker KS. Evaluation of surfactant-like effects of commonly used remedies for colds. Respiration. 1980;39(3):150-157.

16.  Day LM. Eucalyptus oil poisoning among young children: mechanisms of access and the potential for prevention. Aust N Z J Public Health. Jun1997;21(3):297-302.

17.  Tibballs J. Clinical effects and management of Eucalyptus oil ingestion in infants and young children. Med J Aust. 21 Aug1995;163(4):177-180.

18.  Willms RU. Local tolerability of two preparations with Eucalyptus oil and pine-needle oil. MMW Fortschr Med. 6 Oct2005;147(3):109-112.

19.  Darben T. Topical Eucalyptus oil poisoning. Australas J Dermatol. Nov1998;39(4):265-267.