Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus globulus.
Synonym—Blue-gum tree of Tasmania.
- A volatile oil, Chlorophyll Eucalyptol, resin, tannin, etc.
- Extractum Eucalypti Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Eucalyptus. Dose, ten to sixty minims.
- Specific Medicine Eucalyptus. Dose, five to thirty minims. Oleum Eucalypti,
- Oil of Eucalyptus. Dose, two to twenty minims.
Eucalyptol is the product of the distillation of the oil of Eucalyptus at a high temperature (347 degrees Fah.). It is identical with a substance found in cajuput, mentha, rosemary, curcuma, santonica, and some others. It is a colorless liquid, crystallizes, when reduced to a low temperature, in long needle-shaped crystals. It has an aromatic, camphoraceous odor and a cooling, pungent taste. It is soluble in alcohol and in glacial acetic acid, and should be kept in dark-colored glass bottle with ground-glass stoppers in a cool place. The dose is six to ten minims, in a capsule or emulsion, four times daily.
Physiological Action—In overdoses Eucalyptus produces drowsiness with a loss of muscular power, cold skin, pale lips and cheeks, feeble pulse, short and irregular breathing and contracted pupils. It produces increased action of the kidneys, pain in the stomach and bowels, indigestion and diarrhea. It is eliminated through all the emunctories. The inhalation of the vapor of too large a quantity of the oil has produced the nervous phenomena above described in children, but this result is rare.
After a moderate dose of the oil of Eucalyptus, in which its chief virtues reside, there is a feeling of exhilaration and buoyancy, while after very large doses there is depression, with drowsiness, loss of power in the limbs, skin pale, cold, insensible; pupils contracted, pulse imperceptible, breathing short, jerking and interrupted.
Poisoning by eucalyptus from taking a dram of the oil exhibited the following symptoms which developed very slowly: There was vomiting, and abdominal pain, which occurred in about four hours; diarrhea became marked, and in an hour later the boy became drowsy, semi-comatose, pale, collapsed, with small pulse, muscles generally relaxed, pupils medium sized and equal to some response to light; breathing shallow. Other than these the symptoms resembled opium poisoning, and the coma persisted several hours. There was an absence of nervous irritation, but the gastro-intestinal symptoms were marked. The agent scorned to inhibit the influence of the cerebrum. There was the odor of oil on the breath for three days.
The poisonous effects should be treated with the usual diffusible stimulants strychnia, alcohol and atropine.
Therapy—In therapeutic action this agent closely resembles cinchona. It is antimalarial, antiperiodic, febrifuge and tonic. The tree has been planted in malarial sections, and wherever planted the malarial conditions have been changed, the disease germs destroyed and the atmosphere purified, the locality becoming healthful and sanitary.
While acting similarly to quinine it may be prescribed where quinine is contraindicated. Its stimulating and antiperiodic influence is not so immediately marked, but its antimalarial influence is persistent, and satisfactory results are ultimately obtained, which can be said also of its antiseptic influence.
It may be given in low forms of fever where the stimulating influence of quinine is too great, increasing the fever. In these cases eucalyptus will reduce the fever.
In the condition known as dumb ague and masked intermittent fever, it will sometimes accomplish very satisfactory results. In all conditions where there may be malarial infection, especially where other disease is present which shows a marked increase at a given time each day, where there is much malaise and muscular aching or distress of a distinctly periodical character, this agent is directly indicated in doses of one-half dram of the tincture.
It is of much service in malarial neuralgia, in malarial headache and in vague intermittent conditions of an indefinable character.
Where night sweats follow malarial disorder, where an enlarged liver and spleen remain after the periodicity is broken, where jaundice has been a more or less persistent complication, this agent has been of much value, combined with other indicated measures.
The antimalarial and distinctly antiseptic properties of eucalyptus give it a prominent place in the therapeutics of typhoid fever;. while it has many of the essential tonic and restorative properties, it is most active as an intestinal antiseptic. It has been used in epidemics of typhoid where there could be no possibility of a mistaken diagnosis, and when given from the first all the symptoms showed positive amelioration. The temperature especially was kept under control, while the disease symptoms were markedly controlled. It has been especially noted by those who have used this agent persistently, that the attendants are not likely to contract the disease. This is attributed to the fact that the agent destroys the germ within the intestinal canal.
Eucalyptus is a valuable remedy in scarlet fever given in conjunction or alternation with aconite and belladonna. It answers an excellent purpose in many cases. It prevents the symptoms developing in a severe form by destroying the germs and assisting in the control of the temperature. It cures the throat symptoms quickly. It stimulates a normal action in the glands of the skin, and by encouraging elimination through these glands, prevents post-scarlatinal nephritis. Five drops in lard thoroughly rubbed together and applied to the skin daily, is one of the most efficient of applications. When nephritis is present it has a positively curative influence.
In the treatment of diphtheria, eucalyptus is an excellent remedy. It may be used as a gargle diluted, and when the membrane has formed in the larynx or in the nasal passages, if fifteen drops of a mixture of equal parts of the oil of eucalyptus and turpentine be dropped upon the surface of hot water in a close-mouthed vessel, and the vapor inhaled by the patient for a few minutes every two hours, there is nothing that will more speedily destroy the membrane and assist in its removal.
The writer has been successful in completely clearing the nasal passages within thirty-six hours by this measure when the occlusion was nearly complete. This course is almost equally applicable in membranous croup. A specific measure in this disease is to give internally every two hours five drops of a mixture of equal parts of the tinctures of eucalyptus and jaborandi. If the membrane has formed extensively, this course loosens it and permits it to be thrown off. If it is in the early forming stage, the growth ceases and the membrane disappears. These facts have all been confirmed in a multitude of cases.
Eucalyptus if further used in tonsillitis in chronic post-nasal and bronchial catarrhs in asthma, in which case the vapor either alone or with that of stramonium is very useful, and in those conditions of the lungs and bronchi where there is offensive expectoration, pus or a suggestion of gangrene. In the constitutional treatment of phthisis it is of value, and if a few drops of the oil be added to cod liver oil, it will remove the disagreeable flavor of the latter agent.
This agent has been used with excellent results in the treatment of chronic ulceration of the stomach. It stimulates the mucous surface to normal action, destroys the germs of the disease, prevents putrefaction and corrects excessive acidity. The ulcers heal rapidly under the influence of this remedy. It is equally efficacious in chronic diarrhea and dysentery with offensive dis. charges.
The agent has been extensively used in the treatment of catarrh of the bladder, nephritis, pyelonephritis and pyelitis, especially if the urine be decomposed and offensive. It is useful also in gonorrhea and in gleet and as a wash in specific vaginitis.
In uterine catarrh this agent is valuable used as a douche in the proportion of two drams of the tincture to a pint of water. Whenever offensive discharges from these parts are present, it is useful in ulceration of the cervix. It may be made into a suppository with cocoa butter and white wax, in the proportion of one part of the oil to three parts of the other mixed constituents. This suppository is of great service after labor, either where the douche cannot be used or to be inserted after the douche where there is traumatism. This suppository is of value in uterine cancer. It relieves pain and corrects the odor of the discharges.
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.