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Eucalyptus leaves are long, slender, oval in shape, and taper to a point, averaging 7-10 centimeters in length. The surface of the leaves is leathery, waxy, and has a grey to bluish-green hue. The leaves grow in an alternate pattern facing downwards and are covered in oil glands. Eucalyptus leaves are intensely aromatic with a mix of menthol, citrus, and pine. On the palate, they impart pungent flavors that are bitter and warm that finish with a cooling sensation.
Eucalyptus leaves are available year-round.
Eucalyptus leaves, botanically classified as Eucalyptus globulus, grow on an evergreen tree and are members of the Myrtaceae, or myrtle family. There are over seven hundred species of Eucalyptus plants, and they are fast-growing and are among the tallest plants in the world. Eucalyptus leaves are most commonly used for aromatherapy and are mentioned in traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, Greek, and European medicines. They are considered to be toxic when ingested raw and should only be consumed boiled in small quantities of tea. Eucalyptus oil is also used as a natural insect repellent and as an industrial cleaning solvent.
Eucalyptus leaves contain eucalyptol, or cineole, which is a compound that can help reduce symptoms of coughs and phlegm.
Eucalyptus leaves are rarely used for culinary purposes as ingesting large quantities can be harmful, but there has been some documentation of it being experimented for use in infusions, jellies, cakes, and purees. Fishermen in Portugal are also said to use Eucalyptus leaves to lend a smoky flavor to grilled fish. Eucalyptus leaves are boiled and used to make tea, but no more than two or three leaves are recommended to be used. Eucalyptus leaves are used primarily in aromatherapy and traditional medicines. Eucalyptus leaf oil or extracts are commonly used in small doses in modern mouthwashes, toothpaste, cough medications, and cough drops. The daily recommended dosage of the oil is 0.05ml and lower. Topically, Eucalyptus oil has also been used to ward off insects. Children are never advised to be treated with Eucalyptus, as they would be at the highest risk for an overdose.
The Eucalyptus tree is abundant in Australian landscape and has been referenced in local art, music, and literature. Sydney's Blue Mountains are named after the Eucalyptus tree. On warm days, mist rises from the forest of the Eucalyptus trees, and the blue-tinged mist is a product of oils in the Eucalyptus leaf, released when temperatures climb. Australian Aboriginals used Eucalyptus oils in their medicines and dried the leaves to be used in teas. They also used the wood of the Eucalyptus to make the wind instrument, the didgeridoo.
Eucalyptus is native to Australia and Tasmania, and the first record of the trees was made in 1770. The tree has since spread worldwide due to its rich medicinal qualities and arrived in California during the gold rush as a promising renewable source of wood. Today Eucalyptus is cultivated in India, China, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East.
Recipes that include Eucalyptus Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Georgia Pellegrini||Eucalyptus Tea|