Essential oils have been used all over the world for hundreds of years, and Australia is no different. With Australian flora being as diverse as anywhere else on the planet, and with its unique climate and weather conditions, certain breeds of plant and herb have found Australia the perfect location to grow and flourish.
Better still, many of these plants and herbs can be pressed and made into pure essential oils and essential oil blends which have many beneficial properties. Hundreds of Australians already incorporate a pure essential oil or two in their daily lives, so why not go one step further and use Australian essential oils which are certified organic and locally sourced?
We've picked our four favourite essential oils native to Australia; if you'd like to find out what these awesome oils are, read on.
1. Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil
The first oil on our list is lemon myrtle oil, unique to the Australian wilds. Lemon myrtle cannot be found anywhere else on the planet and grows naturally in the east of the country in our tropical rain forests. The lemon myrtle tree can grow up to 60 feet and has a very distinctive aroma, with it used widely in food to enhance flavour.
Lemon Myrtle's Multiple Health Benefits
However, lemon myrtle is not only used as a food ingredient, this versatile plant also has amazing antimicrobial properties against several organisms which can cause skin irritations and other diseases (1), and one study found overwhelming evidence that it helps in the treatment of water warts (2). In fact, lemon myrtle is such a dynamic plant that it is widely reported to be helpful in treating any number of skin complaints, depression, sore throats and in fighting bad breath! You can even use lemon myrtle essential oil to help clean fungus from your bathrooms and worktops given its anti-fungal properties. What more could you ask from a Queensland local?
2. Australian Blue Cypress Oil
Another pure essential oil on the list unique only to Australia is made from the blue cypress tree found in the Northern Territory. The beautiful and vivid blue colour of the oil is caused by the tree's bark, and when exposed to the air gives off a deep, woodlike aroma. Just like lemon myrtle, blue cypress also has a remarkable set of benefits attributed to it.
Blue Cypress Helps to Calm Breathing
The blue cypress is said to be helpful in relieving the discomfort and pains of respiratory conditions if applied directly to the chest or added to a warm bath. When the oil is diffused and its aromas are spread around your home this is said to help induce calmness and help relieve stress and anxiousness.
If you're interested in natural products which can help with anxiety, check out our blog post about our five favourite essential oils and dry herbs to relieve stress.
Given the many beneficial properties of blue cypress when it is breathed in and its pure earthy smell, it is also an awesome choice to rid your home of bad odours. All you need to do is infuse water in a handheld spray bottle with the blue cypress and spray the mixture around your home for a fresh and relieving ambience.
3. Tea Tree Oil
One of the most well-know essential oils out there, tea-tree oil is indigenous to Australia and is used in a huge variety of toiletries, from shampoo to face-wash to deodorant. It grows naturally in Southeast Queensland and across the border in New South Wales. It has been used in Australia for hundreds of years, well before Europeans even set foot on the island, and was most likely given its modern name "tea tree" after Captain James Cook used it as a replacement for the Brits' drink of choice. However, although Cook may have done, I wouldn't recommend drinking tea tree oil as its powerful medicinal properties can turn into a problem if consumed internally - tea tree is best used externally as a treatment for the skin.
Why is Tea Tree Oil So Popular?
The tea tree oil industry has been around since the early 20th century, making it one of the earliest essential oils to be traded internationally. Not only that, but due to its well-documented antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, it has been used effectively as a natural remedy for skin complaints and bacterial and fungal infection - one study found that tea tree oil reduced the plaque formation caused by herpes by more than 90 % (3).
Tea tree oil is used in particular for the treatment of acne, making it popular throughout the world. In fact, there are simply dozens of anti-spot creams with tea tree oil used as one of its main ingredients, demonstrating its success in treating the common skin condition.
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Most commonly associated as the sole food for Koala bears, the sustenance eucalyptus essential oil provides these cute-looking creatures translates amazingly well into an essential oil. Again, the aborigines were using eucalyptus as a home-made remedy for centuries before the European settlers began to appreciate its remarkable healing properties, and long before they started producing eucalyptus oil and distributing it around the globe.
What Can Eucalyptus Treat?
Eucalyptus is effective in causing the release of sputum, a mixture of saliva and mucus, in the air passages. Sounds disgusting doesn't it? Well yes, maybe, but this helps quickly rid a niggling cough and is actually very beneficial for the respiratory system. It is also used widely as a moisturiser, and can leave your hair feeling well looked after and keep that scalp nice and moist - nobody wants dandruff and a dry scalp.
Effective and Organic Australian Oils
In conclusion, it is safe to say that we in Australia are very lucky to produce some of the most versatile and effective essential oils on the planet and it would be a great shame if we were not to make the most of this fact. The diverse landscape of Australia has allowed these equally diverse oils to be created; whether you need to treat an annoying bout of acne, moisturise dry hair or just freshen up your home, you would be hard-pressed to find a better and more natural option than Australian essential oils.
(1) Hayes, A. J., & Markovic, B. (2002). Toxicity of Australian essential oil Backhousia citriodora (Lemon myrtle). Part 1. Antimicrobial activity and in vitro cytotoxicity. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40(4), 535-543.
(2) Burke, B. E., Baillie, J. E., & Olson, R. D. (2004). Essential oil of Australian lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum in children. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy, 58(4), 245-247.
(3) Schnitzler, P., Schön, K., & Reichling, J. (2001). Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture. Die Pharmazie, 56(4), 343-347.