Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eucalyptus and Our Childhood Memories

So sorry for the delay between posts, but we had a very sad death in our family. To our Nancy...We miss you but we know that God is holding you close to his heart.

Now on with the business at hand....Eucalyptus and Our Childhood Memories

Do you remember when you were little and you had a bad cold and all you wanted was for your Mom to make you feel better.  At least at my house, one of the first things my mom would reach for was Vicks Vaporub!  She'd rub that stuff all over my chest and throat, under my nose, and sometimes make me swallow a gob of it (although taking internally is now frowned upon.)  Smelling that Vicks Vaporub always made me feel better.

When I had kids and they had a cold, the first thing that I reached for was good old Vicks Vaporub.  Just the smell of it made me feel better because it reminded me of how nice I used to feel when my mom fussed over me when I was sick.  There is the power of aromatherapy.....when smells bring back memories from the past!

Alot of that good smell can be attributed to Eucalyptus.  Eucalyptus has been used for colds, flu, chest and throat infections, swollen glands, and allergy symptoms for years and years, and is still used today.

Eucalyptus originated in Australia, and was introduced to other warm, tropical places in the world such as Central Asia, North Africa, and California.  The plant itself grows as shrubs and trees, and can grow very tall.  The trees are also called gum trees and they are evergreen.  Eucalyptus globulus is used for pharmaceutical remedies due to its large amounts of eucalyptol which has a very strong odor.  Much of the odor is lost in the distillation of the essential oil.  The variety of tree called Eucalyptus radiata has a more subtle and pleasant odor.  There are over 600 varities of the Eucalyptus tree.

The fragrance of the Eucalyptus leaf is very aromatic and fresh, reminiscent of camphor.  It's essential oil which is made by distillation of the leaf, is a top note and a volatile oil.  Doctors in the 1870's were the first to discover its vast medicinal properties which include antiseptic, anticatarrhal, and stimulant.  Anticatarrhal mean it helps to relieve the inflammation of mucous membranes such as those in the nose and throat. Its property of being a stimulant should be kept in mind when using.  It does not promote sleep or relaxation. It should not be used if you experience very high blood pressure.  There have been claims that it could lower blood sugar, so usage by diabetics is also not recommended.

It's value as an antiseptic makes it very helpful when applied to wounds in a diluted state in the form of a compress.  Dilute the oil with some water or carrier oil, wet a flannel cloth, and hold the compress over the wound.  Eucalyptus oil is helpful for sprains and sore muscles.  Either use the above compress method, or place a few drops in a massage oil and rub it on the sore area.

The oil is more widely used as a decongestant and expectorant.  Use the oil as directed above and place the compress on the chest for relief of congestion.  A few drops of oil can be placed in a diffuser or in a vaporizer and placed in the room of a patient with a cold, flu, or other respiratory ailments.  Breathing in the aroma allows for easier breathing and soothing the mucous membranes which are irritated during these illnesses.  As an added bonus, since eucalyptus oil is an antiviral, antibacterial, and an antiungal, the dispersement of the oil throughout the air of a sickroom will cleanse the air of the germs.

And just for fun, place a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a diffuser to freshen your house with the scent of your childhood memories when the world was a better place.