Eucalyptus Oil is steam distilled from the fresh or part dried leaves and twigs of the eucalyptus tree eucalyptus globulus.
A native of Australia and Tasmania, eucalyptus is now mainly cultivated in China, South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and Russia.
The principal constituent of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol (1-8,cineol) existing at varying amounts from < 70% up to 85%. (The British Pharmacopoeia Specification lists the eucalyptol content as not less than 70%). BP describes eucalyptus essential oil as “colourless or pale-yellow liquid with an aromatic and camphoraceous odour and a pungent and camphoraceous taste, followed by a sensation of cold”.
Other varieties of eucalyptus include eucalyptus citriodora (“lemon scented” – rich in citronellal), eucalyptus dives (“blue peppermint eucalyptus”), eucalyptus polybractea, eucalyptus radiata and eucalyptus staigeriana. Most varieties are available from Augustus.