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Botanical name

Eucalyptus tree - Eucalyptus globulus Labill.


Myrtle family (Myrtaceae)

Common name

Blue Gume Tree

Useful information about the plant

The eucalyptus tree is native to the subtropical rain forest of South Australia and Tasmania. Over 600 Eucalyptus species form the bulk of the trees in Australia, many of which are major suppliers of wood, some of them are ornamental trees. The very fast growing tree has been cultivated in the tropics, subtropics, and other frost-free areas for the drainage of swamps. You can find the eucalyptus tree today in North Africa, California up to Chile and the Mediterranean. The name is derived from the Greek word "eu" (= beautiful, good) and "kalyptos" (= hidden), which refers to the flower buds that are behind by a strong cover and thus "well hidden". The trees can reach heights of up to 60 metres. A characteristic feature is its silver-grey, warty bark and twisted trunk. The leaves of young trees are oval-heart shaped, only the aged, tough leathery leaves have the typical crescent shape. The flower bud is in a decorative silver capsule, its cover comes off when they bloom. The large white blooms are dominated by the long stamens.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

The dried leaves are used with their typical eucalyptus smell, which is clearly perceptible when the leaves are rubbed. It comes from an essential oil which is held in large pockets of oil in the leaf tissue. When a light is shone through the leaves, they appear as if they are dotted with glands.
The commercially available drug comes from imports from Spain, Morocco and Russia.

Ingredients of the drug

Eucalyptus leaves contain an essential oil ("eucalyptus oil"), with its aromatic scent of 1.8 cineole (main component), and also euglobales and macrocarpales.

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of the following drugs or drug preparations is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.):

  • Eucalyptus leaves (Eucalypti folium)
  • Eucalyptus oil (Eucalypti aetheroleum
The quality of Eucalyptus tincture (Eucalypti tinctura) is specified in the German Drug Codex (DAC).

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

Only the eucalyptus essential oil and and the extracted 1.8-cineol are used for medicinal purposes. Internally for colds of the respiratory tracts; externally as heat therapy for the treatment of rheumatic complaints (Commission E, ESCOP).

Traditional use

Traditionally used to support the release of mucous in the respiratory tract (traditionally use in accordance with § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

  • Cineole or eucalyptus oil in enteric-coated soft gelatin capsules for internal use, including boiled sweets
  • Eucalyptus oil in ointments, creams, bath oils (colds), inhalation liquids for external use


Prepared drugs: see package insert;
Eucalyptus oil and cineole: average daily dose 0.3 to 0.6g for internal intake, best in enteric soft gelatin capsules. For inhalation, 12 drops of essential eucalyptus oil into boiling water and inhale.


Use of eucalyptus oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not recommended, because there are as yet no studies on its harmlessness. This also applies for use in children and adolescents under the age of 12.
Never apply eucalyptus oil around the eyes. There is the risk of a spasm or respiratory arrest for infants and toddlers up to 2 years old, so do not apply eucalyptus oil to the face.

Side effects

In rare cases, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea.


Eucalyptus oil induces a xenobiotic-degrading enzyme system in the liver, the effect of other drugs may therefore be attenuated or shortened.


Drug monographs

Commission E, ESCOP, WHO Vol. 2

Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 249
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 90
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 139
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Eucalyptus leaves, no. 1328; Eucalyptus oil, no. 0390)

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