Prior to deep diving into aromatherapy, my experience with eucalyptus was this:
- what mom slathered in a humidifier to help my asthma
- the lozenge I sucked when feeling logy
- an exotic plant my koala stuffy Mia “ate.”
Aromatherapists most often use eucalyptus globulus, a varietal known for its balanced, primarily camphorous aroma. I add a bit for a fresh note in several products, like the 2-in-1 Doggy Shampoo and Conditioner. My friend, Annalee, at O’Connnor Farm Flowers started growing gorgeous eucalyptus and sharing her bounty with me for distillation and infusion. The lemon eucalyptus (e. citriodora) she gave me for infusion was as strong as any lemon eucalyptus essential oil. That infusion is in our No Nip flying insect repellent. The ‘skeeters were so thick this year we went through a truckload of it at our house.
Inspired by Annalee, I bought two kinds of eucalyptus last spring to see how much yield I could get in our relatively short growing season. Here in the Catskills, eucalyptus is an annual. In warmer climates it can become invasive. I bought organic ecualyputus melliodora (aka Honey Eucalyptus) and eucalyptus cinerea (round leaves, the kind you frequently see florists use). E. melliodora has a sweet, slightly floral aroma, whereas e. cinerea leans more minty, with a touch of citrus. This week I’m distilling what little grew of both plants. We’ve had 8 straight weekends of rain, and this did not exactly make for a bumper crop. But, I’m bringing the plants inside for the winter today and will try for a better yield next year. My hope is many things will be better this time next year.