Eucalyptus: A Natural Pain Reliever
Dr. Warner here –
Why am I passionate about using eucalyptus as a powerful pain reliever?
The reason is simple – I love Koalas!
Just kidding. Although Koala bears do eat a lot of eucalyptus, that is not why I view this wonderful plant as a successful tool in the treatment and healing of part of connective tissue disorders.
Let’s look at eucalyptus and why it can be a staple in natural pain relief.
Eucalpytus In the Wild
Just about ¾ of the vegetation of Australia is a species of eucalyptus. There are over 650 types, actually, and almost all of these are exclusive to Australia. The Aborigines have been known to eat the roots or seeds of some of these species. Another great use of the roots is as a water source during droughts.
For me however, it is the volatile oils of the leaves that really makes sense for medicinal and wellness purposes. Applied directly to the skin, eucalyptus oil has been used for thousands of years to heal wounds and cure fungal infections. Breathing the vapors through aromatherapy helps to clear sinuses when a head cold has taken over.
Sadly, fires involving eucalyptus forests are almost impossible to extinguish. This is due to the chemical nature of the fire; the plant produces so much oil that it becomes almost a giant grease fire. The oils are actually volatile essential oils and as such become gas which is flammable in large amounts. Because Eucalyptus is also invasive, it will choke out other less hazardous plants.
Since the commercial distillation of the leaves became common practice, much research has been completed on this wonderful plant’s chemical properties. Click here to read more about herbal medicine safety concerns – and what you should consider before starting a natural therapy regimen.
Turns out that eucalyptus indeed has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. When properly distilled and rubbed onto an area of pain, the eucalyptus will provide relief from pain and tension. This is perfect for headaches, muscle aches, and tendon, ligament, and skin problems.
In 1856 the first eucalyptus plants made it to the USA and were planted in California. There is an abundance of eucalyptus in South America now as well.
In 1870, F.S. Cloez identified the main medicinal component of this plant, thus discovering eucalyptol. About a decade later, surgeons like me (but all men!) began to employ eucalyptol as an antiseptic. That denotes the absolute power of this herbal remedy to eliminate bacteria and fungus from the skin.
The commercialization of this herbal remedy started with the British Empire, of course. The British have a very strong tradition of using herbal medicine and easily incorporated different plants and methods from around the world into their formulas.
The leaves of this plant form a film; this film is white and will rub off the leaf when it is touched. Leaves can be up to a foot long. The essential oils developed in the leaves act as a natural defense mechanism for the plant itself. The oils protect plants from insects and bacteria. Leaves should be harvested before flowering. Today, there are large farms with these trees that are pruned regularly for mass oil production.
The volatile oil of the type cineole, called eucalyptol, is the predominant method of healing for this plant. This acts as an expectorant for us in Western Medicine.
In countries that easily blend herbal and western medicine (like we do in my clinic), it is used for many reasons. In Germany, it is actually an approved therapy for bronchitis. The volatile component of the plant will change the nature of human lung secretions and make them easier to remove. Cilia, or small hairs, line the lung and air passages and will actually physically move the mucus from the deep lung to an area that can allow coughing evacuation.
For asthmatics, eucalyptus is very helpful too. In one study, a group of asthmatics using eucalyptol were able to reduce their dosages of steroids; this was found in a study that compared that group to a placebo (fake medicine) group.
Eucalyptus is an awesome antiseptic. It combats the bacteria and viruses that cause upper respiratory infections.
Today we do not recommend the ingestion of eucalyptus. Although ancient peoples have and still do eat some of the parts of the plant, for us the ingestions can be harmful. There have been reports of nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure, increased heart rate and even breathing problems if the herb is taken orally.
This begs the question of how do Koala bears stand it?
I believe in the power of plant-based remedies and natural methods of healing, and I decided to blend this with the effectiveness of traditional western medicine in my Well Theory products.
Use Well Theory as your source for more methods of relieving pain for connective tissue disorders today.
Meredith Warner, MD
Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.
She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.
At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:
- Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
- Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
- Fill the gaps in our daily diets
- Manage pain associated with inflammation
Surgeon Formulated For Your Peace of Mind
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