SEP 2016

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YOURWELLNESSSPA 66 DAYSPA AYSPA 66 DAYSPA | SEPTEMBER 2016 HERBAL HEALTH A member of the myrtle family, eucalyptus is generally identifi ed by its strong signature scent and connection to Australian koala bears, known to feed ravenously on the tree's leaves. So, it isn't surpris- ing to learn that early botanical records indicate that eucalyptus was discovered and collected on the island of Tasmania, off the coast of the land down under, in the 1770s. Since then, eucalyptus has naturalized and can be found growing on nearly every continent, in both tem- perate and tropical climates. It's considered one of the fastest growing trees in cultivation, and one of the tall- est—some species grow up to 250 feet—though it can also be cultivated as a small shrub. There are approximately 750 species of eucalyptus in the world today; about 25 of them are commonly used in medicinal preparations. The most desired species for these purposes are those whose leaves are rich in eucalyptol, the primary component in eucalyptus essential oil. These include E. polybractea (blue mallee), E. smithii (gully ash) and E. bakeri (baker's mallee). EARLY GROWTH For more than 200 years, eucalyptus has been integrat- ed into the healing systems of Traditional Chinese Medi- cine and ayurveda. The practical use of the tree began with 18th-century aboriginal Australians, explains Kath- arine L'Heureux, founder and CEO of skincare company Kahina Giving Beauty. "The tree exudes a sticky blue, gum-like sap," she says, hence lending the species its "gum tree" nickname. "Aboriginals used the substance to craft their spears and fi shing sticks, as well as treat their wounds and burns." Eucalyptus has been widely used to temper infec- tious outbreaks; in the mid-1800s, scientists started planting groves of eucalyptus trees in swampy areas to curb mosquito-spread malaria. "The groves ultimate- ly transformed the marshes into dry lands, eliminating the mosquitos' habitat," relates Kim Manley, founder and creator of Kim Manley Herbals. In 1865, chief surgeon at King's College London Dr. Joseph Lister (soon to be dubbed the Father of Modern Antisep- tics) had the idea to utilize eucalyptus oil vapors to There's a lot more to this easily recognizable aromatic than meets the nose. By Katie OÕReilly Eucalyptus, Lift Us! © GETTY IMAGES

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