Monday, March 21, 2016

Sweet Smells of Eucalyptus

Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus

The lemon-scented eucalyptus tree is native to Queensland, Australia and the surrounding area. The leaves are pale green and begin in an oval shape, but mature to be narrow and tapered. When mature, the leaves can be as long as 8 inches and between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch across. Lemon eucalyptus leaves are used most commonly as an insect repellent, as citronella can be extracted from them. They are also used in aromatherapy.

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Peppermint Eucalyptus

The leaves of the peppermint eucalyptus tree are blue and heart-shaped, and mature to be thick and tapered. They can grow to be anywhere from 3 to 6 inches long and about 1 inch wide. The leaves give off a strong aroma reminiscent of peppermint. Because of the smell and flavor, the leaves are often used in mouthwash and deodorants and in the manufacturing of menthol. They also are used in aromatherapy. Aborigines used peppermint eucalyptus leaves in medicine, but their use has been abandoned in that field.

Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus

Young blue gum eucalyptus trees have blue oval-shaped leaves which mature into long yellow leaves with off-white flowers. This species of eucalyptus is the most widely grown and has the most applications, including being used in cough drops and other medicines. Essential oils can be extracted from the leaves and used in aromatherapy. The leaves can grow up to 10 inches in length, which is longer than most other species, and up to 2 inches wide. It's no surprise, then, that blue gum trees often grow to be taller than 200 feet, and some specimens have been reported to grow to 500 feet.

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Gully Gum Eucalyptus

The leaves of the gully gum eucalyptus tend to be pale green with white flowers. An essential oil extracted from the leaves is used in aromatherapy and is known to be less intense than other varieties of eucalyptus. The leaves also are used as a pain reliever to treat burns and as an antiseptic on open wounds. The oil from gully gum leaves is high in eucalyptol, also known as cineole, which is the compound that lends eucalyptus leaves their medicinal value and potent fragrance.

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