Eucalyptus  is native to Australia and is the favorite food of koala bears there. Worldwide cultivation takes place in warm climate areas such as the subtropical and Mediterranean zones. The drug material is mainly imported from Spain, Morocco and partly from Russia. Many eucalyptus species are also important sources of wood, but are also cultivated as ornamental plants.

Eucalyptus as a medicinal plant

In herbal medicine, the dried leaves (subsequent leaves) of older trees (Eucalypti folium) and the essential oil from these (Eucalypti aetheroleum) are used.

Eucalyptus: characteristics of the tree

Eucalyptus is a fast-growing tree up to 60 m tall with a smooth trunk and typical peeling bark. The juvenile leaves are opposite, oval and slightly bluish, the following leaves are alternate, sickle-shaped and drooping. The tree bears large white flowers with a cap-like cap that bursts when it opens.

The name “eucalyptus” comes from the Greek and means something like “well hidden”. This means the seeds that hide under the dome-like closed calyx.

leaves as medicine

The eucalyptus leaves used as a drug are up to 25 cm long, slightly crescent-shaped and stalked. Especially on the underside you can clearly see the main nerve of the leaves. The smooth leaf edge is somewhat thickened.

If you hold the leaves up to the light, you can see many small dark dots that represent the excretion containers.

Eucalyptus: smell and taste

The leaves  smell , especially when crushed, very aromatic, the smell is reminiscent of camphor. The  taste  of eucalyptus leaves is slightly bitter and astringent.

Eucalyptus – application

Eucalpytus leaves are used to treat respiratory diseases associated with cough,  hoarseness  and  sore throat  . Traditionally, eucalyptus is used in combination with other plants to loosen mucus in the respiratory tract.

Eucalyptus in folk medicine

In folk medicine, eucalyptus is used as a stomachic and anti-bloating agent for ailments of the gastrointestinal tract. The plant is also used for bladder diseases.

Homeopathic use of eucalyptus

In homeopathy, the dried leaves of eucalyptus are used to treat diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, the kidneys and the urinary tract.

Ingredients of eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaves contain 1.5-3.5% essential oil with the main component 1,8-cineol and other components such as α- and β-pinene and various monoterpenes. Other components of the drug are tannins of the ellagitannine type, triterpenes and flavonoids. Various phloroglucin derivatives are also typical of the Eucalyptus genus.

Eucalyptus: Indication

With these indications, eucalyptus is commonly used:

  • respiratory diseases
  • Cough
  • hoarseness
  • Sore throat

Eucalyptus – dosage

Commercially available preparations usually contain eucalyptus oil. These come in the form of drops, capsules, balms, oil baths, and sprays.

Eucalyptus is often found  , also in combination with other plants, in the group of cold preparations. There are currently no tea preparations with eucalyptus leaves on the market.

Eucalyptus: the right dose

The average daily dose of 4-6 g of the drug when used internally should not be exceeded. For the tincture, the daily dose is 3-9 g, unless otherwise prescribed.

Eucalyptus – preparation

To prepare a  tea  from eucalyptus leaves, 1.5-2 g of the finely chopped leaves (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 1.8 g) are poured over with boiling water and, after allowing them to stand covered for 5-10 minutes, are poured through a tea strainer.

When not to use eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus leaves should not be used internally for inflammatory stomach and intestinal diseases,  inflammation  of the bile ducts and severe liver disease.

Preparations made from the leaves must not be applied to the face of babies and small children, as this can lead to the Kratschmer reflex, a spasm of the glottis with the risk of suffocation. With professional use, however, this danger does not exist.

storage and retention

Eucalyptus leaves should be kept dry, cool and protected from light.

Eucalyptus synonyms

German plant name: Eucalyptus
German synonyms of the plant: Eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree, blue gum tree, fever tree, fever gum tree, fever healing tree
Latin plant name: Eucalyptus gum
Latin synonyms of the plant: Eucalyptus globulus LABILLl., Eucalyptus cordata, Eucalyptus diversifolia, Eucalyptus gigantea, Eucalyptus glauca, Eucalyptus pulverulent
German drug name: Eucalyptus leaves
German synonyms of the drug: Eucalyptus leaves, fever tree leaves, blue gum tree leaves
Latin drug name: Eucalyptus leaf
Latin synonyms of the drug: Folia Eucalypti
English name: Eucalyptus leaf, Fever tree leaf, Blue gum leaf (Droge); Eucalyptus, Eucalypt, Gum Tree, Blue gum, Blue Gum Eucalyptus, Southern Blue Gum, Tasmanian blue gum, Fever tree, Stringy Bark Tree
Plant family Latin: Myrtaceae
Plant family German: Myrtengewächse


Eucalyptus – effect

Eucalyptus leaves have a slightly antispasmodic effect, sometimes due to the monoterpenes they contain, and facilitate the ejection of mucus from the respiratory tract. This is primarily achieved by increasing the activity of the so-called ciliated epithelium of the respiratory tract, which is responsible for removing mucus and foreign matter. The feeling of a clear nose is probably based on a stimulation of the cold receptors in the nose.

The monoterpenes also possess antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Eucalyptus: side effects

In very rare cases, taking eucalyptus-containing preparations can lead to  nausea , vomiting and  diarrhea  . However, these side effects are only to be feared in the event of an overdose.

Interactions with other drugs

Eucalpytus oil stimulates certain enzymes in the liver that are responsible, among other things, for the breakdown of foreign substances, including medicines. Taking the oil can therefore lead to increased degradation of various drugs and thus to a weakening and/or shortening of their effect.


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