Ingredient Insight: Eucalyptus

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Eucalyptus is the generic name for a genus of the plant family Myrtaceae native to Australia and now cultivated worldwide. Many species are distilled for their oil. The global eucalyptus oil market size is predicted a six percent CAGR (2019-2023), according to Technavio. 36 percent of growth will come from Europe.

We look at five types of essential oil:

Eucalyptus Globulus
Eucalyptus Globulus is the most commonly seen eucalyptus essential oil, originating in East and Southeast Tasmania. It is also known as the Gum tree, Tasmanian Blue Gum and the Fever Tree. The oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs. The trees are typically 30-50 metres tall but can reach up to 90 metres. It is now planted in temperate South America, China and sub-Saharan Africa in which they are grown for timber and paper pulp.

Eucalyptus Smithii
Eucalyptus Smithii can grow up to 40 metres high . It is also known as Gully gum or Blackbutt peppermint. It has grey/green leaves which are native to New South Wales and Victoria in Australia. The variety is also widely grown in Southern Africa. The odour is woody, camphorous and fresh and has a similar essential oil composition to Eucalyptus Globulus.

Eucalyptus Dives
Eucalyptus Dives is a broad-leaved peppermint eucalyptus, also known as the blue peppermint tree. It is native of Southeast Australia now from South Africa. A tree is medium-sized and has blue, heart-shaped leaves when young, turning to thick, aromatic leaves with age. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs and has a camphoraceous-minty aroma. The major component is piperitone.

Eucalyptus Radiata
Commonly known as the narrow-leaved peppermint or Forth River Peppermint, Eucalyptus Radiata is a medium to tall tree to 30 metres high from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. The first type of eucalyptus to be commercially distilled in 1854.

Eucalyptus Citriodora
Eucalyptus Citriodora is a tall tree, growing to 35 metres native to North-Eastern Australia. It is now cultivated in Brazil and China. Eucalyptus Citriodora is also known as lemon-scented gum, blue spotted gum or Lemon Eucalyptus. The essential oil consists mainly of Citronellal which has lemon odour. The crude oil used in perfumery and the rectified oil is a major insect repellent.

Eucalyptus oil has use in a wide range of applications. It has pharmaceutical, antiseptic, insect repellent, flavouring, fragrance and industrial uses, in which it is best known for its respiratory relief.

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