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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

About Eucalyptus Oil and its usages


There's nothing quite like the scent of a eucalyptus forest after an extended dry spell is broken by rain - everything smells so clean and fresh!

Eucalyptus, more commonly known as gum trees, are the predominant genus of trees in The Nilgiris (India) and Australia - over 600 species; is comprising nearly 75% of our flora.

Unfortunately, they have become bothersome to some when planted in other parts of the world, such as California, Ooty (India); where they have been around since approximately 1853.

Neverless, it's an incredibly useful tree providing timber for building, cover and windbreaks in poor country, firewood, nectar for bees to produce honey, landscaping, pulp and even food.

One of the best known eucalyptus products is eucalyptus oil.

Eucalyptus oil production

Eucalyptus oil is steam distilled from the leaves of certain species - not all eucalyptus trees are suitable for oil production and different species have varying attributes medicinally speaking. It's highly flammable and contains compounds that are natural disinfectants and pest deterrents.

It's interesting to note that Australia only produces around five per cent of world requirements these days. The majority of the world's commercial production occurs in China, however this is often not 100% eucalyptus oil I've read, but mixed with a camphor extract (so always check the label carefully before purchasing).

While eucalyptus oil is used in many medicines; always exercise caution and professional advice if you're considering ingesting it as it can be toxic.

Uses for Eucalyptus oil around the house

Aside from medicinal uses, eucalyptus oil can be used around your home to replace many environmentally harsh synthetic chemicals.

Penny, a professional cleaner, wrote to me with these tips:

"I make a spray and wipe with water, eucalyptus oil and some washing up liquid.  The idea comes from a hospital cleaner and works well.  Proportions are not rocket science.  Fill bottle mostly with water - add a slurp of dishwashing liquid and then a capful or thereabouts of 100% eucalyptus.  Shake gently to mix.  Works well on all surfaces. 

I use it diluted again in a little water in a bucket and it is great for all those finger marks that are hard to move from laminex finishes."

- You can also make a general disinfectant for toilets etc and again, it's a very simple recipe. mix 50 ml (1.6 oz)  of eucalyptus oil with a liter (quart) of water. That's it - you can store it as you would a normal disinfectant.

- Eucalyptus oil can be used neat in order to remove sticker/decal residue from glass

- Add 1-2 teaspoonfuls of eucalyptus oil to your load of washing for a fresh scent along with the anti-microbial benefits

- Use the oil neat to help remove paint, grease and ink from clothes

- If you have a hanging car air freshener that's almost dead, reinvigorate it by adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil

- Half a teaspoon mixed with half a liter of water makes for a good bug repellant for plants

- Use it as a stainless steel cleaner

- To use as a room air freshener, Mix a quarter of a teaspooon or 15 drops of eucalyptus oil with a half teaspoon of vodka, place in an atomizer/spray bottle and add 2 cups of water. This should be quite subtle, so you may need to add more.


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