Nineteenth century, Rome, malaria raged in and around the city due to the marshy grounds on which the city itself stood. But at a certain point something happened, some monks who had settled in the abbey Le Tre Fontane, in Rome, began to work the hectares of land around the abbey and planted eucalyptus trees. These trees grew strong and soon the health of the monks improved day by day. Immediately it was thought that the reason was the healthy power of eucalyptus, even capable of absorbing the stagnant water of the subsoil and fighting malaria. Actually, as later studies were able to prove, the merit was more to be attributed to the great work of reclamation carried out by the friars but certainly this took nothing away from the balsamic and antiseptic properties of eucalyptus. So much that the monks continued in the cultivation of these trees and produced extracts, liqueurs, useful against asthma and phlegm, sore throat and affections of the bronchi and lungs, and, and this is a very recent piece of news, even a beer according to an ancient recipe that involves the use of eucalyptus leaves left to macerate. It is fascinating to see how ancient wisdom, traditions and medicine mix but above all how nature has always given us what we need. So, today let's talk about eucalyptus and its properties.
Eucalyptus, scientific name Eucalyptus globulus, belongs to the Mirtaceae family. If you have a tree of eucalyptus near you, try rubbing one of its leaves between your fingers, you will feel a pleasant scent due to the essential oils that are abundant in the plant and that give it the properties for which it is so famous. Cineole is one of the active ingredients most present in eucalyptus oil, since it appears in a percentage never less than 70%, and is antimicrobial, antiviral, immunostimulating, mucolytic, bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic and antispasmodic (Serafino et al, BMC Immunol, 2008). Thanks to these characteristics, both the inhalation and the oral intake of eucalyptus are beneficial in case of asthma, cough, by reducing the frequency of couch within a few days, colds, sinusitis, phlegm and bronchitis (Sadlon et al, Altern Med Rev , 2010 - Fischer et al, Cough, 2013). The antiviral properties of eucalyptus are also very interesting. In fact, the action of vapors containing eucalyptus essential oil against influenza A was studied and a strong antiviral effect was observed between 5 and 15 minutes after exposure to fumigations (Horvath et al, Flavor Fragr J, 2015 ). The antiseptic action of eucalyptus oil makes it a valid ally even in case of acne, also because, as has been shown by scientific studies, this essential oil helps regulate sebum production (Sinha et al, Biomed Res Int, 2014). Finally, the eucalyptus aroma is also a tonic for the body, fortifying it in case of stress and fatigue (Lin et al, Chin J Physiol, 2018).
Eucalyptus, uses and applications
Against coughs, colds and bronchitis you can prepare inhalations. Heat a saucepan full of water, when it boils, remove from heat, wait a minute and add 5-6 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the balmy vapors. Alternatively, rubbing a solution prepared with a tablespoon of a vegetable oil and 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil up to three times a day is also excellent.