Uses for Fresh Eucalyptus Leaves
The leaves of the eucalyptus tree have been used in Aboriginal medicinal remedies for thousands of years. Nowadays they are also used in modern medicine to treat various common ailments. Fresh eucalyptus leaves can be used in home remedies, but always consult a health professional before following any course of treatment.
Eucalyptus is often used in a tea or a tincture to provide relief for cold and flu symptoms as well as sore throats, bronchitis, pnueumonia and chest infections. To make a tincture, put 300 grams of fresh leaves in a large jar and cover them with vodka before sealing the jar and leaving it for around two weeks, shaking it every few days. After the two weeks, strain the contents into another jar through a muslin cloth. Keep this mixture in a cool, dark place. The recommended dose is one tsp., mixed with water, two or three times per day.
An antiseptic bath can help relieve congestion, asthma and breathing problems; simply hang a mesh bag filled with eucalyptus leaves under the hot faucet while you run your bath. Boiling the leaves in a pot of water and then inhaling the vapors has a similar effect. An alternative eucalyptus bath can be created by adding a pre-prepared infusion directly to the bath water; make it the previous day by pouring a qt. of boiling water over two generous handfuls of leaves and leaving them to steep overnight. Simply strain before adding to your warm bath water.
Eucalyptus Massage Oil
Eucalyptus oil is often used to treat skin problems and irritations such as boils, cuts and wounds, arthritis and painful joints. It may also be applied to the skin to repel insects. The eucalyptus-infused carrier oil is created by filling a jar with eucalyptus leaves and adding olive, sweet almond or jojoba oil, filling to the very top of the jar. Place the jar on a windowsill in direct sunlight for at least two weeks, then strain and leaves and transfer the oil into a bottle. Apply the oil liberally where required.
Hanging your fresh eucalyptus leaves in a dark place until they become crumbly and dry makes eucalyptus potpourri, to which other herbs can be added depending on the desired use. Adding peppermint, catnip, spearmint and wintergreen berries can help repel insects, while adding fragrant citrus peels or other essential oils will create pleasant room fragrances.
- Gardens Ablaze: Medicinal Uses of Eucalyptus
- "Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family"; Rosemary Gladstar; 2008
Claire Gillespie writes about health, science, home and parenting. She has bylines on SELF, SheKnows, The Washington Post, Vice and more.