Eucalyptus, the majestic evergreen from Australia, provides many uses as an entire plant. Oils from the tree, leaves, the wood and the tree itself all benefit humans. You may even currently use parts of the Eucalyptus tree for medicinal purposes and not even realize it.
Eucalyptus is one of the main ingredients in cough syrup, lozenges and vaporizer fluids. The pungent smell and anti-inflammatory qualities of the plant help clear a pathway through congestion. Fresh leaves in tea soothe sore throats and treat bronchitis. Ointments applied to the chest or nose help break up phlegm. Blue gum, also called Australian fever, is the cultivar most often used for medicinal purposes.
Eucalyptus oils and leaves are often made into ointments to help heal parts of the body. They contain tannins which help reduce inflammation, flavonoids with antioxidant qualities and cineole which is a powerful antiseptic. Rubbing the oil on wounds, boils and arthritic areas can help heal skin more quickly and alleviate pain.
As the tree grows tall relatively fast, creating a thick crown, people often use the tree as a windbreak. This protects other plants as well as buildings and other structures from harsh winds. Eucalyptus robusta works well in this role.
The wood of the Eucalyptus is versatile. Some farmers grow it to sell for timber, others sell the wood to pulpwood factories to make paper. Others still sell it for fuel purposes. Since the tree reaches maturity quickly, selling the wood is a profitable activity.