Essential oils from Down Under
In my last post I talked about some of the essential oils coming out of South America, so I feel it’s only fair that this week I describe some of the essential oils native to Australia.
There are approximately 18,500 plant species in Australia(1). And as in the Amazon, the Australian aboriginals have an extensive pharmacopoeia going back most likely thousands of years.
Here are some of the essential oils, native to Australia, that you are most likely to encounter:
Blue Cypress (Callitris Intratropica) is native to Northern Australia. The resin was traditionally used for cuts, sores and upset stomaches and the wood would be burned to drive away insects. The tree owes part of its name to the blue colour of its essential oil.
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, insect repellant and stimulant (pineal and pituitary glands, the hypothalamus and amygdala).
Viral infections such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, papilloma virus, cold sores, etc.
Blends with: Cedarwood, frankincense, helichrysum, lavender, melissa and sandalwood.
Eucalyptus Dives (also known as the broad-leaved peppermint) is found in the mountain ranges of southern N.S.W.
Properties: Mucolytic, diuretic, anti-bacterial. Also excellent analgesic, antiseptic and expectorant properties.
Beneficial for treating muscular aches, rheumatism and headaches.
It has a fresh invigorating aroma that can assist in times of mental and physical fatigue.
Beneficial in treating colds, congestion and respiratory infections.
Eucalyptus Globulus (also known as Blue Gum) has been used for centuries by the Australian Aborigines to cover wounds. It contains a high percentage of eucalyptol (key component in many antiseptic mouth rinses).
Properties: Expectorant, mucolytic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-viral, anti-aging
Great for respiratory/sinus infections and as a decongestant
Soothes sore muscles.
Diffused in a room it works to purify the air.
Blend classification: Enhancer
Blends with: Geranium, lavender, lemon, sandalwood, juniper, lemongrass, melissa, pine, thyme
Eucalyptus Polybrachtea (also known as blue mallee eucalyptus) is found in Western N.S.W. and Victoria. It has a sweet camphoraceous scent.
Properties: Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, mucolytic, insect repellant.
Can be used in a massage oil to relieve muscular aches, arthritis and rheumatism.
Great for respiratory problems
Against viral infections such as Herpes and urinary tract/bladder infections.
Beneficial for treating acne
Works well to repel insects.
Diffusing it in a room, the scent is energising and uplifting to the spirit.
Eucalyptus Radiata (also known as the narrow-leaved peppermint) in Southern N.S.W. and Victoria. It’s lighter in smell than Eucalyptus globulus, but has many of the same properties. It is the preferred choice for children as it’s relatively gentle and non-irritating.
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, expectorant, anti-inflammatory
Viral infections – effective against Herpes simplex when combined with Bergamot.(2)
Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia Citriodora) is native to southern Queensland. It has a sweet and fresh lemon like scent.
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-viral, calming and sedative.
When diffused it can improve concentration as well as being refreshing and elevating
Suitable as a cleaning agent due to its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial properties.
(As it is a photo-sensitive oil, avoid placing on areas of the skin that will come in contact with the sun)
Melaleuca Alternifolia (also known as Tea Tree) is probably one of the best known, found along the east coast of Australia. It was once regarded as the original “snake oil” as it was found to be effective against rattlesnake bite.
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory
Great for respiratory ailments such as coughs, flus, sinusitis and congestion.
Use on insect bites, wounds and minor cuts to promote healing
Temporary relief for skin conditions such as cold sores, acne and rashes.
Blend classification: Enhancer and Equalizer
Blends with: All citrus oils, cypress, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and thyme
Melaleuca Ericifolia (also known as Rosalina) is found in N.S.W., Victoria and Tasmania. This melaleuca is gentler on the skin than the Alternifolia variant.
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory
Good for respiratory and sinus infections.
It also has good calming and sedative properties, helping to induce sleep.
Beneficial as a local anaesthetic for insect bites and tooth aches
Blend classification: Personifier, enhancer, equalizer and modifier
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
(1) The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain trust
(2) Higley, Connie and Alan. Reference Guide to Essential Oils (12th edition), Spanish Fork, Utah: Abundant Health, 2010
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