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Eucalyptus essential oil: uses, history and properties

Native to Australia, eucalyptus are perennial trees which can reach more than 60 meters in height and whose rapid growth has made them the main source of wood for the production of cellulose pulp, one of the most used materials in the manufacture of paper.

The name of this tree genus–eucalyptus–covers more than 700 species and comes from the Greek eukályptos, which could be translated into “well covered” referring to the pods in which their seeds are found.

Dried eucalyptus seed pod
Dried eucalyptus seed pod


It is said that these trees were introduced in Galicia in the mid-nineteenth century by Rosendo Salvado, a missionary destined for Australia who brought them with him on his return to Europe. Currently, the statistics of the Spanish National Forest Inventory indicate that the Eucalyptus globulus already represents a fifth part of the forests of this autonomous community, with the area occupied by this tree throughout the Spanish territory exceeding 700,000 hectares.

The usefulness of these trees is not limited to that to the paper industry. The essential oil contained in the globular cavities of its leaves is widely used in pharmacy, perfumery and cosmetics.

At Destilerías Muñoz Gálvez, we design aromas from the essential oil of two species of eucalyptus:

  • Eucalyptus citriodora (Corymbia citriodora): Classified until the mid-1990s as Eucalyptus citriodora, it offers citrus olfactory notes reminiscent of citronella and lemon, hence it is widely known as “lemon eucalyptus.”
  • White eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus): it offers balsamic and cineole olfactory notes with slight sweet nuances which clear the airways while transporting us to wide fresh spaces where untamed nature predominates that awakens liberating sensations in us.


Diving into the history of eucalyptus

Australian Aborigines used eucalyptus for centuries as a traditional medicine, making teas from its leaves to treat body aches, fevers and colds.

It would not be until 1788 that these trees were distilled, when doctors Dennis Considen and John White used the essential oil of a species of eucalyptus (E. piperita) to treat different respiratory problems of the convicts of a settlement located in Port Jackson, Australia.

Although this oil was extracted by settlers, it would be a long time before it began to be commercially exploited. It would then become known as Sidney peppermint, and would gain great popularity over the years, being used to reduce fever and to treat skin problems such as ulcers, burns and wounds.

Demand for eucalyptus essential oil would grow tremendously over the years, gaining popularity as an antiseptic in surgeries in the early 1880s and peaking as a medical treatment in the 1918 flu pandemic.

It is worth noting the role that this tree had in Algeria in 1955 where, due it its deep roots and quick growth, the French Government decided to use it to turn swampy areas full of malaria-carrying mosquitoes into dry land.


Eucalyptus essential oil current uses

Eucalyptus essential oil is currently widely used in the preparation of medicines due to its properties as nasal decongestant among others. It is also used in a wide range of cosmetic products and fragrances, finding a large part of its main applications in the manufacture of essences for air fresheners, detergency, shampoos, Epsom salts, etc.

Its use in the oral health field is also very popular, where it is applied in toothpastes and mouthwashes among others.

At Destilerías Muñoz Gálvez, we develop fragrances with eucalyptus essential oil for all kinds of applications, making its expansive notes the protagonists of uncountable compositions that seek to evoke sensations of freedom and freshness.

Do you want your product to have the properties that only eucalyptus essential oil can provide? Contact us without commitment.