The eucalyptus tree is popularly known for it's aroma which is widely used or copied in cold medications. If you have ever used a cold relief product you know what eucalyptus smells like, that medicinal smell of the chest rub is eucalyptus. This aroma comes from the oil in the leaves which are still harvested to be used as medicine.
The eucalyptus tree normally grows in tropical areas and is most commonly found in Australia however it has been transplanted to a number of different locations. It is believed that it was the Australian aborigines who discovered many of the uses of the oil. Originally the oil was extracted through distillation which was not very efficient. In more recent times it has be extracted through a much more efficient abrasion process.
Eucalyptus has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, originally it was used for cleaning, it does make everything smell clean and it is a good disinfectant. It has also been used as an insecticide where it has proven effective at reducing the spread of malaria. However it is as a medicine the eucalyptus has become popular and widely cultivated.
In addition to it's use as a cold remedy there are a number of other claimed benefits to eucalyptus ranging from reducing dandruff to curing depression. The main way that eucalyptus is used for medicinal purposes is through aromatherapy, in which it's distinctive aroma has a number of benefits. In fact whether you know it or not you likely products in your medicine cabinet that contain eucalyptus.