We have admired this awesome eucalyptus tree for a while and it spurred me to do some research on the tree because it is not native to Chile and I wondered how it got here and if it is used to make eucalyptus oil.
Eucalyptus of the Myrtle family is native to Australia and was brought to South America for timber purposes though it has naturalized quite well. It grows fast and is easily replaced. Here in Southern Chile, it is the choice for firewood as it is cheap, burns hot, and the bark peels off in big strips and makes perfect kindling.
The species grown here is known as ‘globulus’ or Blue Gum refering to the blueish color of the leaves which are lanceolate and hang downwards. The leaves, covered in oil glands, can be harvested to extract the oil but I have not found the leaves to be particularly aromatic. The oil is used as an insect repellent and natural cleaner and deodorizer. I always enjoy using it in an ointment for a chest rub when I have a congestion.
The locals harvest leaves from young trees for making a tea. These leaves seem to be a little more aromatic than the mature leaves. The tea, they claim, is good for bronchitis and leveling blood sugar. The tea can also be used as a face wash for acne and the bruised leaves used as a compress for muscle pain.