Many associate Australia with eucalyptus oil due to their close association with traditions and of course the ever-loved Koala. However on a commercial scale, it is China that exports most around the world, in particular the industry standard Eucalyptus globulus (containing 80% cineole).
The quality of eucalyptus can be measured by its cineole content. Some species yield cineole levels above 95% but the industry has standardised on 80% for most everyday applications.
Eucalyptus can be found across a broad range of industries and applications and as a natural ingredient, it's one of the most commonly found in everyones household.
Around the house some common uses and applications could be as follows:
~ Cold and flu relief - drops of oils on towels, in vaporisers, steam rooms etc
~ Hair nourishment - lice control (usually with tea tree), dandruff and scalp cure
~ Hand cleaners - it's a natural degreaser
~ Household cleaners - in addition to a nice fresh fragrance to your home products, it adds vital antimicrobial properties as well. Soap, laundry detergents, toilet cleaners, window cleaners, worktop sprays to name just a few!
~ Treat wounds - antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that are effective at treating wounds, burns, cuts, abrasions, sores and scrapes
You can imagine the volumes absorbed into consumer goods are enormous. Last year China alone exported over 9,000 metric tonnes!!
China’s Yunnan province is famed for the eucalyptus tree and has quite a few plantations for oil extraction. Usually, the harvest is between July and September and between November and February. The year’s main crop season begins in November. Industry watchers are hoping for a healthy supply of raw material, accompanied by a slight easing of prices. Last year, there was an acute deficiency of raw material and prices had skyrocketed to touch the zenith. However, now the situation has eased out with steady raw material supply and a reduction in price. Though many of the farmers are not happy with these price points, citing that this is the bottom line for their production costs. However, the coming months will show how the dynamics pan out and what the situation is. In the eventuality that some farmers refuse to distil the leaves, there is a strong chance of a break in the raw material supply chain.
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