Eucalyptus sp.

Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Trees, up to 40 m high.  Stem erect; bark smooth, scaly.  Leaves simple, alternate, aromatic.

Many species were introduced into North and South America and almost all of them are used in traditional medicine.  Furthermore, hybridization has occurred between the different species which makes identification difficult.  Therefore, no detailed description is provided for a species.

Voucher(s)

Ochoa,265,HPMHV (E. tereticornis) Ríos,400,CECALLI (E. camaldulensis) Mercado,3,CIMCZA (E. cinerea) TramilCol,21890,CUCV (E. globulus)

flu:

  leaf, decoction or infusion with cinnamon, orally1-2

cough:

  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally1

For flu and cough:

Prepare a decoction or infusion with 5-10 grams of dried leaf or 30-40 grams of fresh leaf (15-20 leaves) in 1 liter (4 cups) of water22.

For decoction, boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot; for infusion, add boiling water to the leaves, cover and allow to cool.

Drink 1 cup (250 mL) 3 times a day3,23.

According to published and other information:

Use for flu and cough is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and available published scientific information.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should coughing last more than 5 days, seek medical attention.

Ingestion should be avoided in the event of gastrointestinal inflammation, inflammation of bile ducts, or acute hepatic disorder3.

Preparations containing the essential oil should not be applied facially to children younger than 3, as this may induce glottal spasm and bronchial obstruction, and can potentially lead to death from suffocation3.

Not for use during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 3 years old.

The hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) of the dried aerial parts of Eucalyptus globulus administered intraperitoneally to mice resulted in an LD50 of 562 mg/kg15.

The hydroalcoholic extract (1:1) of the leaf of Eucalyptus citriodora administered intraperitoneally to mice resulted in an LD50 higher than 1 g/kg16.

The essential oil of Eucalyptus globulus administered orally to rat resulted in an LD50 of 4.44 g/kg17.

The essential oil of Eucalyptus citriodora administered orally to rat yielded an LD50 higher than 5 g/kg; when administered subcutaneously to rabbit, the LD50 was shown to be 2.48 g/kg18.

The essential oil of Eucalyptus melliodora administered subcutaneously (135 mg/kg) to pregnant mice (6-15 days of gestation) did not exhibit teratogenic toxicity in vivo; the essential oil of Eucalyptus globulus with the same dosage and model demonstrated neither abortive nor teratogenic effects19.

The ingestion of the essential oil of Eucalyptus globulus may cause intestinal irritation.  Fatalities have been reported as a result of respiratory depression after ingestion of 4-24 mL (equivalent to 4-24 g of essential oil)20.

The essential oil of Eucalyptus globulus, inhaled as vapor, was shown to be innocuous to human adult; however, one case has been reported of a child who sustained skin irritation and burns from topical application of the essential oil in a bath21.

The leaf infusion or other Galenic preparations may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea3.

There is no information available documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in women during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

The leaf has been extensively studied and contains, among other components: essential oil (1-3%): eucalyptol (1,8-cineole), together with a wide range of other mono-, di- and sesquiterpenes, whose concentration and type varies from species to species, including 1,8-cineole, r-cymene, limonene and pinene, among others4-5.  It also contains flavonoids: eucalyptin6 and tannins7, which are highly species-specific in their distribution and concentration.

The aqueous extract of the leaf of Eucalyptus globulus showed antimicrobial activity in vitro against Escherichia coli (0.07 mg/mL), Staphylococcus aureus (0.09 mg/mL and 0.4 mg/mL), Bacillus subtilis (0.8 mg/mL) and Enterococcus faecalis (1.3 mg/mL)8.

The leaf extract (undiluted) in ether was active in vitro against Strongyloides stercoralis, Ancylostoma caninum and A. duodenale9.

The German “Commission E” has approved the oral use of aqueous preparations of the leaf as an anticatarrhal3.

The essential oil at 0.25% topically applied to the healthy skin of mice caused analgesic effects after 2 hours10.

Eucalyptol (cineole) is claimed to have antiseptic and balsamic properties11.  For external and internal uses, it is recognized as an expectorant12.

Menthol and camphor are reported to cause a refreshing sensation in the nasal mucosa13.

1,8-cineole is claimed to be effective as an anticatarrhal, antitussive, bactericidal, expectorant and sedative, while pinene is associated with antiseptic, bactericidal and expectorant activity14.

References:  

1 LAGOS-WITTE S, 1988-89, 1996 Encuesta TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Histología Vegetal y Etnobotánica, Dep. de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

2 GOMEZ H, GAITAN R, DIAZ F, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (Norte del departamento de Bolívar). Grupo de Productos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacéuticas. Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

3 PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2003 Eucalyptus globulus. The PDR® for Herbal Medicines, PDR Electronic Library, Medical Economics Company, PhytoPharm US Institute for Phytopharmaceuticals, Metuchen, USA, Feb.28,2003. URL: http://www.mdcc.edu/medical/library/catalog2.htm

4 SOOD VK, RIER JR JP, GHOSH RC, 1987 A gas-liquid chromatograph analysis of oil from young and old leaves of Eucalyptus citriodora Hooker. Parfuem Kosmet 68(8):495-498.

5 FERNANDEZ RR, SURI RK, 1981 Studies on the oil of Eucalyptus citriodora Hook, grown at Dehra Dun. Indian Forestry 107(4):243-248.

6 SHEN YB, YU Z, 1986 Chemical constituents of Eucalyptus citriodora leaves. Part I. Linchan Hua Hsueh Yu Gong Yi 6(3):28-31.

7 ATAL CK, SRIVASTAVA JB, WALI BK, CHAKRAVARTY RB, DHAWAN BN, RASTOGI RP, 1978 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. Part VIII. Indian J Exp Biol 16:330-349.

8 BRANTNER A, GREIN E, 1994 Antibacterial activity of plant extracts used externally in traditional medicine. J Ethnopharmacol 44(1):35-40.

9 GILBERT B, MORS W, BAKER P, TOMASSINI T, COULART E, DE HOLANDA J, RIBEIRO DA COSTA J, LOPES J, DOS SANTOS FILHO D, SARTI S, TURCO A, 1972 Anthelminthic activity of essential oils and their chemical components. An Acad Brasil Cienc Suppl 44:423-428.

10 MEYER F, MEYER E, 1959 Percutaneous absorption of essential oils and their constituents. Arzneim-Forsch 9(8):516-519.

11 PARIS R, MOYSE H, 1981 Précis de Matière Médicale. Paris, France: Ed. Maloine.

12 GARNIER G, BEZANGER-BEAUQUESNE L, 1961 Ressources médicinales de la flore française. Paris, France: Ed. Vigot Frères.

13 BURROW A, ECCLES R, JONES A, 1983 The effects of camphor, eucaliptus and menthol vapour on nasal resistance to airflow and nasal sensation. Acta Otolaringol (Stockholm) 96(1-2):157-161.

14 DUKE J, 1992 Handbook of biologically active phytochemicals and their bioactivities. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.

15 ASWAL B, BHAKUNI D, GOEL A, KAR K, MAHROTRA B, MUKHERJEE K, 1984 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: Part X. Indian J Exp Biol 22(6):312-332.

16 DHAR ML, DHAR MN, DHAWAN B, MEHROTRA B, SRIMAL R, TANDON J, 1973 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: Part IV. Indian J Exp Biol11:43-54.

17 DUKE J, 1977 Phytotoxin tables. Crc Crit Rev Toxicol 5:189-237.

18 ANON, 1988 Eucalyptus citriodora oil. Food Chem Toxicol 26(4):323.

19 PAGES N, FOURNIER G, LE LUYER F, MARQUES M, 1990 The essential oils and their potential teratogenic properties: Example of the essential oils ofEucalyptus globulus preliminary study with mice. Plant Med Phytother24(1):21-26.

20 DUKE J, 1988 Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.

21 SPOERKE DG, VANDENBERG SA, SMOLINSKE SC, KULIG KK, RUMACK BH, 1989 Eucaliptus oil, 14 cases of exposure. Vet Hum Toxicol 31(2):166-168.

22 CARBALLO A, 1995 Cálculo de concentración y dosis de las drogas vegetales TRAMIL: Mensuraciones farmacognósticas y aproximaciones técnico-clínicas. Laboratorio Provincial de Producción de Medicamentos, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.

23 KOSSMANN I, VICENTE C, 1992 Salud y plantas medicinales. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editorial Planeta Tierra. p113-115.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.