Herb: Sydney Peppermint
Latin name: Eucalyptus piperita
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family)
Medicinal use of Sydney Peppermint:Eucalyptus leaves are a traditional Aboriginal herbal remedy. The essential oil found in the leaves is a powerful antiseptic and is used all over the world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and other infections. The essential oil is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is stomachic.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Found in most soils, especially if they are on the poor side, it prefers sandstone soils on the cool sides of valleys and ridges.
Other uses of Sydney Peppermint:The leaves yield up to 0.8% essential oil. This oil is rich in piperitone, which can be used in the synthesis of the medically active menthol, though it is not known whether this is commercially feasible. Wood - hard, straight grained but liable to gum veins. It makes a good fuel.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - surface sow February/March in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2°C. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and give them some protection from the cold in their first winter. The seed can also be sown in June, the young trees being planted in their final positions in late spring of the following year. The seed has a long viability.
Cultivation of Sydney Peppermint:Found in most soils, especially if they are on the poor side, it prefers sandstone soils on the cool sides of valleys and ridges.
Known hazards of Eucalyptus piperita:Citronellal, an essential oil found in most Eucalyptus species is reported to be mutagenic when used in isolation. In large doses, oil of eucalyptus, like so many essential oils has caused fatalities from intestinal irritation. Death is reported from ingestion of 4 - 24 ml of essential oils, but recoveries are also reported for the same amount. Symptoms include gastroenteric burning and irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, oxygen deficiency, ,weakness, dizziness, stupor, difficult respiration, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and death, usually due to respiratory failure.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.