In large doses, oil of eucalyptus, like so many essential oils has caused fatalities from intestinal irritation. Death is reported from ingestion of 4 - 24 ml of essential oils, but recoveries are also reported for the same amount. Symptoms include gastroenteric burning and irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, oxygen deficiency, ,weakness, dizziness, stupor, difficult respiration, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and death, usually due to respiratory failure.The plant is reported to cause contact dermatitis. Sensitive persons may develop urticaria from handling the foliage and other parts of the plant.
An essential oil is obtained from the leaves. It is used in perfumery and in medicines. The yield is about 0.9% by steam distillation. The essential oil is also in spot removers for cleaning off oil and grease. Yields of 40 to 45 kilos of oil per hectare have been reported. A yellow/brown dye is obtained from the young leaves. It does not require a mordant. Grey and green dyes are obtained from the young shoots. A dark green dye is obtained from the young bark.Wood - heavy, (or light according to another report), durable, fire resistant. An important timber species, it is used for various purposes such as carpentry, construction, fences, piles, platforms, plywood, poles, sheds, tool handles and veneer. The oil-rich wood is resistant to termites. This is one of the best eucalypts for pulp production for making paper.
The adult leaves, without their petioles, are antiperiodic, antiseptic, aromatic, deodorant, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic and stimulant. The leaves, and the essential oil they contain, are antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, febrifuge and stimulant. Extracts of the leaves have antibacterial activity. The essential oil obtained from various species of eucalyptus is a very powerful antiseptic, especially when it is old, because ozone is formed in it on exposure to air. It has a decided disinfectant action, destroying the lower forms of life. The oil can be used externally, applied to cuts, skin infections etc, it can also be inhaled for treating blocked nasal passages, it can be gargled for sore throat and can also be taken internally for a wide range of complaints. Some caution is advised, however, because like all essential oils, it can have a deleterious effect on the body in larger doses. The oil from this species has a somewhat disagreeable odour and so it is no longer used so frequently for medicinal purposes, other members of the genus being used instead. An oleo- resin is exuded from the tree. It can also be obtained from the tree by making incisions in the trunk. This resin contains tannin and is powerfully astringent, it is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and bladder inflammation, externally it is applied to cuts etc.The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Respiratory system'.
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This species is not very hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c and often succumbing to heavy frosts. There is a tree 35 metres tall on the Isle of Man, there are several taller trees in S. Ireland and a tree on the Isle of Wight was 20 metres tall when it was 9 years old from seed. Eucalyptus species have not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow until it is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example, the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also helps the trees to survive cold conditions. The members of this genus are remarkably adaptable however, there can be a dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations from the seed of survivors growing in temperate zones. The Tasmanian blue gum is the most extensively planted eucalypt species in the world with a total of 800,000 ha in dozens of countries. This species is commonly planted in S. Europe, especially in Italy, Spain and Portugal, for timber, soil stabilization and the essential oil in its leaves. Trees have also been planted in marshy areas where they have the ability to reduce the wetness of the land (because they transpire so much water) thus getting rid of mosquitoes that were breeding there. Eucalyptus monocultures are an environmental disaster, they are voracious, allelopathic and encourage the worst possible attitudes to land use and conservation. A very fast growing tree, new growth can be up to 2.5 metres per year. Trees are gross feeders and can severely stunt the growth of nearby plants. Trees are very amenable to coppicing. Plants are shallow-rooting and, especially in windy areas, should be planted out into their permanent positions when small to ensure that they do not suffer from wind-rock. They strongly resent root disturbance and should be container grown before planting out into their permanent position. The flowers are rich in nectar and are a good bee crop. The bruised leaves emit a powerful balsamic smell.This species is the national emblem of Tasmania.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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