When people talk of eucalyptus oils, they generally refer to the oil of eucalyptus globulus, the strain that provides the raw material for vapo-rubs, inhalers and lozenges. There are many strains of eucalyptus, however, and many oils derived from them. One youÕre going to hear a lot more about is oil of eucalyptus citriodora, aka lemon eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus Citriodora (let's call it EC) is a colorless to pale-yellow essential oil that is steam-distilled from the twigs and leaves of the EC plant. Possessed of a strong, very fresh, rosy-cintronella-like odor, EC oil has an extraordinarily high native content of cintronellal. This makes it highly attractive to soapmakers as a base note for low-cost soap perfumes, soap flakes, detergents, sprays, etc. EC is a tested nontoxic, and has been used to treat a wide range of maladies, including hypertension, asthma, rheumatism, even dandruff. As one might expect, EC is said to be best used in the summer, when its qualities as an excellent insect repellent can be fully appreciated.
Up until now, EC's strengths have gone almost unnoticed by those outside the soapmaking industry. This should change as awareness and availability of EC grows. In particular, aromatherapists have much to gain adding EC to their collection of agents. Its powerful antiseptic qualities, combined with its soothing and calming bouquet, make it a worthy addition to anyone's list of favorite oils.
Sources of EC have evolved over the years. Like all eucalyptus varieties, the plant orginally came from Australia. Cultivators have since spread it throughout the world's tropical climates--EC is now distilled in such countries as Brazil, India, and Guatemala, to name only a few.