When is eucalyptus essential oil not eucalyptus essential oil? The various species of eucalyptus trees produce different essential oils – and all eucalyptus oils are not created the same! There are differences in chemical components of the essential oils – and to some extent – use and application in aromatherapy practice. Here’s a quick guide to three different types of eucalyptus oil of the many species available; all species belong to the Myrtaceae plant family.
Blue Gum Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus var. globulus) produces one of the most common eucalyptus essential oils used in the United States. The tree is also known as the gum tree, Tasmanian blue gum and the fever tree. Blue gum is a tall, evergreen tree with blue-green oval leaves when young and narrow, yellow leaves in maturity.
The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tree; it has a camphoraceous aroma. In aromatherapy practice, blue gum eucalyptus essential oil is used for coughs, colds, asthma, aches and pains, and as an insect repellent. The main chemical components of this essential oil are oxides. Avoid in use with babies and young children.
Broad-Leaved Peppermint Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The broad-leaved peppermint eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives) is also known as the blue peppermint tree. This particular eucalyptus tree is medium-sized and has blue, heart-shaped leaves when young, turning to thick, aromatic leaves in maturity.
The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tree; it has a camphoraceous-minty aroma. In aromatherapy practice, broad-leaved peppermint eucalyptus essential oil is used for asthma, coughs and colds, arthritis and nervous exhaustion. The main chemical components of this essential oil are ketones and monoterpenes. Avoid in use with babies and children, and in pregnancy.
Eucalyptus Smithii Essential Oil
Eucalyptus smithii (Eucalyptus Smithii) is a tall tree with gray-green leaves. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs and has a camphoraceous aroma. In aromatherapy practice, it is used for colds, asthma, headaches and muscle pain. The main chemical components of eucalyptus smithiii essential oil are oxides.
Eucalyptus smithii essential oil is not contra-indicated for use with babies and children, even though it contains similar chemical components to blue gum eucalyptus essential oil (Price and Price, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals (4e), 2012, page 45). One reason for this could be that most bottles of blue gum eucalyptus essential oil have been rectified (Price and Price, Aromatherapy for Babies and Children, 2005, page 30).
Other Species of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
In addition to those eucalyptus essential oils listed here, there are various other eucalyptus oils used in aromatherapy practice (with differing chemical components); these include:
Lemon-scented eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) – main chemical components are aliphatic aldehydes
Eucalyptus staigeriana ((Eucalyptus staigeriana) – complex chemical make-up including monoterpenes, aliphatic aldehydes, esters, ketones, alcohols and oxides.
Study Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie
If you would like to learn more about essential oils and aromatherapy, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Aromatherapy Courses. To learn more, visit the courses home page.
Caddy, Rosemary, 1997, Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Colour, UK: Amberwood Publishing Ltd
Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
Price, Penny, Price, Shirley, 2005, Aromatherapy for Babies and Children, UK: Riverhead Publishing
Price, Len, Price, Shirley, 2012, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals (4e), UK: Churchill Livingstone
Author is a trained and UK certified aromatherapist