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Family Myrtaceae
Spiral eucalyptus
Eucalyptus cinerea
Muell. ex Benth

Scientific names Common names
Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth Argyle apple (Engl.)
Eucalyptus cinerea subsp. cinerea Mealy stringybark (Engl.)
Eucalyptus pulverulenta var. lanceolata A.W.Howitt Silver dollar eucalyptus (Engl.)
  Spiral eucalyptus (Engl.)
There are over 500 different species sharing similar medicinal properties.
This Philippine compilation includes several species of Eucalyptus, a few with a sharing a confusing crossover of color-referring common names: (1) Eucalyptus globulus, blue gum eucalyptus (2) Eucalyptus deglupta, bagras, rainbow gum (3) Eucalyptus camaldulensis, red gum eucalyptus (4) Eucalyptus tereticornis, red gum tree, forest red gum. (5) Eucalyptus robusta, beakpod eucalyptus, brown gum, red gum.(6) Eucalyptus cinerea, silver dollar eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus cinerea F.Muell. ex Benth is an accepted name. The Plant List

Spiral eucalyptus is a small tree with reddish brown, drooping branches. Leaves are opposite, stiff, leathery, silvery green to grayish blue, rounded, up to 7 centimeters across when young, becoming ovate to lanceolate, with a yellow midrib when mature.

- Native to New South Wales and Victoria, Australia.
- Recently introduced with limited distribution and cultivation.
- Usually planted as a garden plant.


- Yields essential oils, most effective is 1,8-cineole and anisole.
- Study evaluated the essential oil from different plant parts - leaves, flowers, and fruits. 1,8-Cineole was the main compound from leaves in spring, and flowers and fruits in winter. Other compounds in the aerial parts were a-pinene, limonene, a-terpineol, and a-terpinyl acetate.
- GC-MS analysis of essential oil yielded main components of 1,8-cineole (61%) and camphene (15.13%). An EtOAc-F yielded polyphenols, flavonoids, quinones, terpenoids, alkaloids, and tannins. (see study below) (7)

- Astringent and antiseptic.
- Studies have suggested repellent, fumigant, insecticidal, antimicrobial, larvicidal, pediculicidal properties.

Parts used

- Not widely used as a medicinal plant in the Philippines. But as with other eucalyptus pants, is
used as an antiseptic and deodorant.
- Used for infections, colds, sore throats, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, neuralgia and variety of skin infections.
- Decoction of leaves as tea for cough, asthma, hoarseness, fevers.

Extraction of oil
Boil mature leaves in water, condensing the vapor to recover the oil. Eucalyptus globulus yields less oil than the other varieties used for commercial production of medicinal grade oils.

• In South America, being studied for its use as a fumigant and repellant and head lice control. (Journal of Medical Entomology / Article: pp. 889–895)
Chemical composition of the essential oil of nine Eucalyptus species growing in Morocco:
The species studied included E. cinerea. All species were found to possess an oil rich in 1,8-cineole, exceeding 80% in E. cinerea. (1)
Fumigant / Repellent / Anti-Lice : In an Argentinian study of the fumigant and repellent properties of 16 essential oils and 21 chemical components against permethrin-resistant head lice, from 16 plants in Argentina, the most effective oil was the native M cisplatensis followed by E cinerea. (2)
Insecticidal Activity / Housefly: In a study in Argentina of 12 essential oils and 17 individual terpenes for insecticidal activity against the house fly Musca domestica, Citrus sinensis was the most potent insecticide followed by C aurantium and Eucalyptus cinerea. (3)
Larvicidal / Aedes Aegypti / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the homeopathic and larvicide effect of E. cinerea essential oil on Aedes aegypti. It showed a high larvicide effect. Results showed the essential oil was highly promisng for a public health system for control of A. aegypti. (4)
Essential Oil from Different Plant Parts / Antimicrobial: Study showed 1,8-Cineole was the main compound from leaves in spring, and flowers and fruits in winter. Other compounds in the aerial parts were a-pinene, limonene, a-terpineol, and a-terpinyl acetate. The essential oil showed antimicrobial activities against bacteria (Strep pyogenes, Staph aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and yeasts (Candida albicans). E. cinerea can be employed as a source of 1,8-cineole, since the aerial parts (leaves, flowers, and fruits) show to be rich in these compound in al seasons of the year. (5)
• Antibacterial Activity / Curative Biocontrol for Crown Gall Disease / Essential Oil: An EtOAc-F exhibited potent antibacterial activity attributed to polyphenols, flavonoids, quinones, terpenoids, alkaloids, and tannins, with lowest MIC and MBC of 0.312 mg/mL and 2.5 mg/mL, respectively. GC-MS analysis yielded significant antibacterial compounds including gallic acid (7.18%), shikimic acid (5.07%), and catechin (3.12%). In plant experiments, EtOAc-F significantly reduced gall weights. Results suggest a potential as curative biocontrol agent for crown gall disease. (7)
• Optimization of E. cinerea Oil Distillation: 1,8-Cineole is an ecofriendly compound with potential to replace ozone depleting industrial solvents. Study reports on the optimized process parameters for hydrodistillation and production of essential oil enriched with 1,8-cineole from Eucalyptus cinerea. GC-MS analysis showed oil produced from fresh foliage yielded higher 1,8-cineole content (84.4%) than dried foliage (77.6%). Other major constituents were limonene and a-terpineol. (8)
• Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Volatile Oil: Yield of volatile oil hydrodistilled from juvenile leaves and stems was 4.5 and 0.5%, respectively, with 1,8-cineole as the major oxygenated monoterpenoid (84.55% and 60.15% in the juvenile leaves and stems, respectively.) Leaf oil showed more potent antibacterial activity than the stems. MIC of juvenile leaves against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. faecalis, C. albicans, and A. flavus were 5.2, 5.6, 4, 4.8, and 12.8 µg/ml, respectively. Juvenile leaf oil also showed more active antioxidant activity. (9)
• Eucalyptus Oil Poisoning: Study reports on 2 pediatric cases of status epilepticus associated with accidental ingestion of Eucalyptus oil. Severe toxicity following ingestion is well-documented, but public awareness is lacking. Symptoms range from minor poisoning (ataxia, vomiting, abdominal pain) to major poisoning with coma. CNS symptoms may develop within 10 minutes of ingestion. In adults, death is commonly seen after ingestion of 30 ml. There is no specific antidote. Management of eucalyptus oil poisoning is main supportive and symptomatic. (12)
• Side Effects: Eucalyptus leaf is LIKELY SAFE in the small amounts found in foods. There is not enough information on on the safety of oral supplements that contain large amounts of eucalyptus leaf. • Eucalyptol, a chemical found in eucalyptus oil, is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth up to 12 weeks. • Undiluted eucalyptus oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when applied to the skin. • Undiluted eucalyptus oil is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. • The oil should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding. • The oil is LIKELY UNSAFE FOR children, by mouth or applied to the skin. (13)
• Interactions: (1) Eucalyptus interacts with medications changed by the liver (cytochrome P450 [CYP1A2, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, CYP3A4]) subtrates. • Eucalyptus leaf extracts may decrease blood sugar, and should be used with caution in patients on diabetic hypoglycemic medications. (13)

Toxicity concerns
- There are over 700 species of eucalyptus trees.
- Use of oil distilled from leaves have been reported in Australian aboriginal medicine.
- In present day use, eucalyptus is used in commercial cough lozenges and mouthwash.
- In large amounts, eucalyptus leaves and bark are considered poisonous, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma.
- Oil is toxic, and should not be ingested in any amount.

- Children should not ingest eucalyptus in any form. Over the age of two, eucalyptus rubs may be safe; but best to consult the physician. (11)
- As little as 3.5 ml of undiluted oil can be fatal. (13)
- Eucalyptol, an essential oil from leaves, consumed in small quantities by humans, are unlikely to be harmful. The NIH recognizes eucalyptus oil and leaves can be safely used in various therapies, including vaporizer treatments to cure congestion. The NIH cautions, eucalyptus oil should be diluted before oral consumption or skin application. (While domesticated animals should not be exposed to eucalyptus leaves and oils, the Australian koala is reported to subsist entirely on eucalyptus, eating pounds of the nutrient-poor plant each day.) (14)

- Wild-crafted.
- Essential oils in the cybermarket.

Updated December 2018 / January 2012

Photo ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
IMAGE SOURCE: Eucalyptus Cinerea, F.v.M. Argyle Apple / Plate XXVI / Chest of Books

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Chemical composition of the essential oil of nine Eucalyptus species growing in Morocco / S Zrira, J M Bessiere et al / Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Vol 19 Issue 2, Pages 172 - 175, Published Online: 4 Feb 2004 / DOI 10.1002/ffj.1289
Fumigant and Repellent Properties of Essential Oils and Component Compounds Against Permethrin-Resistant Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae) from Argentina / Ariel Ceferino Toloza et al / Journal of Medical Entomology 43(5):889-895. 2006 / doi: 10.1603/0022-2585(2006)43[889:FARPOE]2.0.CO;2
Essential Oils from Edible Plants as Insecticides Against the House Fly / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 8 (6), November-December 2009
Homeopathic and Larvicide Effect of Eucalyptus cinerea Essential Oil against Aedes aegypti
/ Patrícia Aparecida Mançano Cavalca, Maria Isabel Gomes de Assumpção Lolis, Bruno Reis and Carlos Moacir Bonato / Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology, Vol.53, n. 4: pp.835-843, July-August 2010 doi: 10.1590/S1516-89132010000400012
Essential Oils from Different Plant Parts of Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth. (Myrtaceae) as a Source of 1,8-Cineole and Their Bioactivities / Sayonara Mendes Silva, Simone Yae Abe, Fábio Seigi Murakami, Gustavo Frensch, Francisco A. Marques and Tomoe Nakashima / Pharmaceuticals 2011, 4, 1535-1550; doi:10.3390/ph4121535
Eucalyptus cinerea / Synonyms / The Plant List
Efficacy of Eucalyptus cinerea as a Source of Bioactive Compounds for Curative Biocontrol of Crown Gall Caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens Strain B6 / Yosra Kahla, Karama Zouari-bouassida, Fatma Rezqui, Mohamed Triqui, and Slim Tounsi / Biomed Res Int., 2017; 2017: 9308063. / doi: 10.1155/2017/9308063
Simulation of Eucalyptus cinerea oil distillation: A study on optimization of 1,8-cineole production / Garikapati D Kiran Babu, Bikram Singh / November 2012
Chemical composition and bioactivity of the volatile oil from leaves and stems of Eucalyptus cinerea / Fathy M Sooliman, Magda M Fathy, Maha M Salama, and Fatema R Saber / Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology, 2014; 52(10) / https://doi.org/10.3109/13880209.2014.889177
How to Make Eucalyptus Oil / wikiHow
Are Eucalyptus Leaves Poisonous to Children? / Kimberly Wilson / Livestrong
Eucalyptus Oil Poisoning / K Jagadish Kumar, Sandeep Sonnathi, C Anitha, and M Santhoskumar / Toxicol Int., Jan-Apri 2015; 22(1): pp 170-171 / doi: 10.4103/0971-6580.172259
Eucalyptus / Side Effects and Interactions / WebMD
Are Eucalyptus Leaves Poisonous? / Reference.com

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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