Eucalyptus leaves are a favorite of one of Australia’s most adorable marsupials, but that isn’t the only use for eucalyptus foliage. What are eucalyptus leaves used for? You may be familiar with the aroma of eucalyptus since one of eucalyptus leaf uses is in over the counter flu and cold remedies. The aboriginal people of Australia have other uses for the leaves though. Read on to learn how to use eucalyptus leaves.
What are Eucalyptus Leaves Used For?
As mentioned, eucalyptus foliage is a common ingredient in herbal cold and flu remedies. Other common eucalyptus leaf uses include massage oils, bath additives, as a tea, and in potpourri.
While the wood has been used for centuries by aborigines for boats, boomerangs, and spears, the essential oils found in the foliage are prized for their antiseptic properties used to treat coughs, sore throats, and other infections.
What to Do with Eucalyptus Leaves
If you get a hold of some fresh foliage, you’re probably wondering what to do with the eucalyptus leaves. You can hang the leaves to dry and use either in potpourri or dried floral arrangements or turn the fresh leaves into a tincture or oil.
Eucalyptus plants contain components with antibacterial, antiseptic, and expectorant properties. One of these components is called cineole, which loosens phlegm, eases coughs, and aids other common respiratory issues.
How to Use Eucalyptus Leaves
Use fresh eucalyptus leaves by brewing them into a tea or making a tincture. To make a tincture, put a half pound or so (227 g.) of fresh leaves into a large jar and cover it with vodka. Seal the jar and leave it for a couple of weeks, shaking it every so often. After two weeks, strain the contents through muslin. Store the tincture in a sealed jar in a cool, dry area.
To make a tea, steep half a teaspoon of crushed leaves in boiling water for ten minutes. The tea will ease congestion and sore throats. Strain the leaves from the tea prior to drinking. Drink the tea three times per day.
To ease congestion, asthma, and other breathing issues, hang a mesh bag filled with eucalyptus foliage under the hot tap as you run a bath, or pour boiling water over the leaves and hang your head, draped with a towel, over the steaming vapors.
Another use for the leaves is to use as a massage oil which can be used to treat skin inflammation and arthritis. The oil will also repel insects. Fill a jar with the eucalyptus foliage and add your choice of oil such as olive, jojoba, or sweet almond. Place the oil in direct sun for two weeks and then strain the leaves out. Use the oil liberally as required.
Do not eat the foliage of a eucalyptus. It is highly toxic and can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and can even induce comas.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise, please consult a physician, medical herbalist, or other suitable professional for advice.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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