Welcome to one of our Ingredient Spotlight posts, and this time it’s all about Eucalyptus.
What do you know about eucalyptus?
Beyond knowing the trees are native to Australia and koala bears love munching their leaves – because there’s a lot to know! These posts are designed to add to your essential oils knowledge database, whether you work on the technical or creative side with raw materials. We’ve added in history, facts and market products that contain this amazing oil.
- TYPE Natural raw material
- PART(S) USED Leaves
- EXTRACTION METHOD Steam distillation
- PHOENIX AROMAS AVAILABILITY Eucalyptus Citriodora Oil 85203-56-1 and Eucalyptus Oil Globulus 84625-32-1
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. There are over 500 different varieties. Eucalyptus can add an airiness to perfumes, with its green, camphor-y, lemon-ish facets.
A Brief History
Aborigines living in the Australian outback have used eucalyptus oil as a traditional medicine for many centuries. Natives chewed the roots of the leaves because they held so much water, and tea made from these leaves was considered a remedy for fever.
Eucalyptus was first brought to the Kew in the UK in seed form in 1774. The seeds and specimens collected at this time were from coastal regions where tolerance to frost was low. This meant that many collected plants did not survive the cold UK winters. It is only in the mid-1800s when seed from Tasmania was collected (from higher altitude, colder regions) that Eucalyptus plants started to survive in the UK.
In 1778, surgeons Dennis Considen and John White distilled eucalyptus that was growing wild on the shores of Port Jackson to treat convicts and soldiers and in 1852, Joseph Bosisto, a Melbourne pharmacist, established the commercial eucalyptus oil industry by opening the world’s first commercial distillation plant. In the 1870s, eucalyptus oil became an important Australian industry and was regularly exported to a burgeoning international market.
Eucalyptus oil from China
Although Australian in origin, in today’s market Eucalyptus is harvested in China. Eucalyptus was first introduced into China in 1890 and large plantations developed in the 1950s. Presently, China’s Eucalyptus plantations amount to 460,000 ha. and approximately 1.5 billion individual trees, that have been planted around villages and houses and along roadsides and canals, making up a good deal of China’s ecological landscape.
The uses and benefits of Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus essential oil has been used in Indigenous Australian medicine as an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent for centuries. In India’s Ayurvedic medicine, it’s often used in the treatment of respiratory ailments. In 17th century England, it was used for disinfecting hospitals and today is used heavily in aromatherapy ranges and scent collections to relieve mental exhaustion and rejuvenate the spirit.
For those reading who are not chemists or perfumers; Eucalyptus leaves and bark contain high concentrations of cineole. Cineole is a colorless, liquid organic compound. It’s sometimes also called eucalyptol because there’s so much of it in eucalyptus trees and shrubs. The fragrance of eucalyptus is primarily that of cineole.
Clinical research has proven the anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties of cineole. Using eucalyptus essential oils in topical wound treatment, skincare, and other disinfecting applications, as well as fragrance applications, is pushing the market forwards.
Hold a Eucalyptus leaf up to the light and you can see the oil in the tissue of the leaf. Crushing the leaves in your hand, you can feel and also smell the oil.
Eucalyptus & Sustainability
Eucalyptus wood is sustainable because new growth only takes a few years to mature. Many varieties reach early maturity ten years after planting, compared to other hardwoods, which can take 18-25 years to reach early maturity. Provided they have enough water and are in the right climate; eucalyptus trees are a renewable resource – an important fact for consumers who want to make better choices for the environment and are looking for ingredients that are more ‘planet-friendly.
Iconic fragrances and new product launches
Eucalyptus can be a hard note to use in perfumery, as it packs such a punch! However, there are plenty of iconic launches that include the ingredient plus many new launches within the fine fragrance, personal care, and home fragrance sectors.
Green is not only a trending note in fresh and clean scents, but also translates to trends in the form of colour in home and personal spaces. Eucalyptus as an ingredient and scent – is now linked to wellness and self-care, for its uplifting and refreshing properties – meaning this ingredient shows a high chance of becoming a ‘megatrend’ ingredient and translating into ranges with global appeal.
Some key fine fragrance launches that star Eucalyptus include: Calvin Klein Contradiction, Frederic Malle Carnal Flower, Yardley English Lavender, Gallivant Los Angeles (2019), 4711 Acqua Colonia Pomegranate & Eucalyptus (2019), Atkinsons 44 Gerrard Street (2020), Sarah Baker Far From the Madding Crowd (2020), Atelier Cologne Pacific Lime (2018), L.12.12 Eau de Parfum Blanc For Him Lacoste (2021) and Calvin Klein Escape for men (1993).
New launches in home fragrance and personal care based around eucalyptus as a key note/ingredient include; the Asda Wellness Collection candle and diffuser in White Mint & Eucalyptus, Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Springs, DW Home Freshly Picked Eucalyptus Mint, Paddywax Minty Verde, Field & Fleur Blu Eucalyptus, Trapp Watermint Eucalyptus, Thymes Eucalyptus White Tea, Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Rain, Beloved Green Clay & Eucalyptus body care range (at Target USA) and Isana’s Shower Gel; Inner Balance with eucalyptus and lemon.
If you think your technical or creative teams would like a sample of one of our exceptional Eucalyptus oils, or you are looking for a supplier of key raw materials, please use our enquiry form or contact page to get in touch with one of our team.