The Ancient History of Eucalyptus

The Ancient History of Eucalyptus

  • Aaron Dunham

You may think you don’t know much about eucalyptus. However, if you’ve ever watched a koala munching on leaves or sung about a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree, you’re actually familiar with this popular plant. Eucalyptus, also called the “gum tree,” has made quite an impact on various parts of the world. While koalas use it as food and kookaburras use it as furniture, humans have typically used it to build things, make paper, and formulate natural remedies.

At Clear Revive, we’re proud to use eucalyptus oil in our nasal spray. In addition to helping our consumers breathe easily and enjoy excellent nasal health, we want you to understand the ingredients in your healthcare products. We put a great deal of care and attention into finding high-quality components for our nasal spray, so we’re excited to tell you all about them! While you might heard nursery rhymes about this plant or watched an animal snack on it at the zoo, you probably don’t know that eucalyptus has a fascinating history. Read on to learn more about eucalyptus’ intriguing past.

  

The Genesis of Eucalyptus

This plant is truly ancient. According to the New World Encyclopedia, “eucalypts [trees of or similar to those in the eucalyptus genus] originated between 35 and 50 million years ago, not long after Australia-New Guinea separated from Gondwana [a prehistoric super continent in the southern hemisphere].” The encyclopedia explains that “about 20 million years ago...the gradual drying of the continent and depletion of soil nutrients led to the development of a more open forest type,” which allowed eucalyptus to develop further.

Then, “about fifty thousand years ago,” at approximately the same time as humans came onto the scene, “fires became much more frequent and the fire-loving eucalypts soon came to account for roughly 70 percent of Australian forest.” Since eucalyptus plants are “well adapted for periodic fires” and even often “dependent on them for spread and regeneration,” human beings helped this plant flourish in Australia.

 

Eureka! Eucalyptus!

Although humans had likely already been around it for thousands of years at this point, eucalyptus was officially “discovered” in 1642. As The Eucalyptus of California notes, “the first time that the eucalyptus tree appeared in recorded history was in Abel Janszoon Tasman’s journal during his voyage of exploration. In his journal entry for December 2, 1642, at the island of Tasmania [off the coast of Australia]...a reconnaissance party reported back that they had” found trees that secreted gum. This refers to the distinctive, gummy sap many eucalyptus trees produce. Other European explorers, such as William Dampier and Captain James Cook, also wrote about eucalyptus.

 

Eucalyptus’ Healing History

Australian First Peoples may have used eucalyptus as an antiseptic for decades, but one of the first recorded uses of eucalyptus in medicine was on the “First Fleet [the penal colony England sent to its Australian settlement] in 1778,” according to a paper from the University of Westminster. Surgeons aboard these ships “used E. piperita for wound healing, based on...properties similar to English Peppermint.” During the nineteenth century, “Ferdinand von Mueller, Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, promoted [eucalyptus’] antiseptic use.”

As it turns out, he was correct - a 2018 study published in the journal Microorganisms concluded that “[Western Australian] Eucalyptus oils show activity against a range of medically important pathogens and therefore have potential as antimicrobial agents.” Clear Revive has harnessed these benefits by using organic eucalyptus essential oil in our nasal spray.

 

The Old Gum Tree Comes to Europe

During roughly the same period, in the 1850s, the University of Westminster explains that eucalyptus seeds were “sent to Algeria and Europe for timber forestry and ‘sanitary purposes.’” Italian eucalyptus enthusiasts used this plant to help combat malaria, and a “chemical examination” of its oil was first mentioned in Pharmaceutica I Journal in 1870. Eucalyptus was recognized in the British Pharmacopoeia in 1885. This plant continued to be studied in European medicine until around the mid-twentieth century, when war caused “supply interruption” and the “discovery of antibiotics” decreased interest in the “use of plant-based antimicrobials.”

 

Eucalyptus in United States

It was only a matter of time before eucalyptus made its way to America. According to New World Encyclopedia, “in the 1850s, many Australians traveled to California...to take part in the Gold Rush.” Since California “has a similar climate to parts of Australia...some people thought it would be a good idea to introduce eucalyptus to the state.” Eucalyptus is now common in California.

 

Experience Eucalyptus with Clear Revive Nasal Spray

Now that you know a bit more about how eucalyptus came to be, you can enjoy its many advantages. Try Clear Revive nasal spray today!

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