The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia and was first used by Aboriginal people to treat coughs and colds. “Lloyds History of Vegetable Drugs”, written in 1922, give us a window into its former uses.
Eucalyptus globulus and other species of eucalyptus, are indigenous to Australia, where the leaves are employed by the natives as a remedy for intermittent fever.
It was thus introduced to Europeans towards the middle of the 19th century. Possibly its employment by the crew of the ship La Favorita, who in the vicinity of Botany Bay were nearly decimated by fever, from which they recovered through the use of an infusion of the leaves of eucalyptus, first through the efforts of Dr. Eydoux and M. de Salvy, gave the drug conspicuity.
Dr. Ramel, of Valencia, however, has the credit of introducing the drug to the Academy of Medicine, 1866, thus brining it to the attention of the medical profession, by whom it is now used in extract form, in other directions than that for which it was originally commended.
The distilled oil of eucalyptus has now an extended reputation and use. The date of the first use of eucalyptus by the natives of Australia is unknown.