Eucalyptus Eucalyptus spp Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus originates from Australia, but nowadays the majority of its oil is produced elsewhere. Eucalyptus is grown in regions between 45o of latitude north and south of the equator for timber, paper pulp, hydro- or steam-distillation in oil production, or a combination of these uses. Europeans colonizing New South Wales began to distill the so-called peppermint gums, particularly E. piperita, in 1788. Commercial production of eucalyptus oil for medicinal use started in 1852 and Australia was the world's largest supplier between 1900 and 1950 until Brazil, Spain, South Africa, and, above all, China established production at lower cost.

Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus (the Tasmanian Blue Gum) and E. polybractea (the Blue-leaved mallee) are the two main species used for commercial medicinal production of the so-called "eucapharma oils." The former is found particularly in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, India, Russia, and Spain, where its oil is distilled from waste foliage from timber trees for use under the British Pharmacopoeia (BP) for coughs and chest conditions, as well as in household cleaning products and for balsam notes in perfumery. Eucalyptus polybractea oils are produced mainly in New South Wales and used in pharmaceuticals and dental products.

Corymbia citriodora (formerly E. citriodora) is endemic to Queensland, Australia, with large plantations in Sao Paulo, Brazil; in Russia, around the Black and Caspian Seas; and in China. In India (Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh) it is a small-farm crop. It is distilled for citronellal and hydroxycitronellal, which are lemon-scented oils widely used in perfumery.

Other species are E. dives, used in menthol and thymol synthesis, and E. radiata, used for antiseptics.

In Southeast Asia, cajeput oil obtained from Melaleuca cajuputi (a closely related genus, also in the Myrtaceae) has very similar medicinal uses to eucalyptus oils. Melaleuca quinquenervia is grown on a small-scale in the south Pacific for niaouli oil, and is an invasive, weedy plant in North America. Tea tree, M. alternifolia, is an increasingly well known source of antiseptic essential oil with medicinal value.

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