Camphor & Eucalyptus, the chemical cousins

Some plants are so close to one another that you keep thinking they might be related though they are not similar. When you are in the research for identifying the plants that can cure human ailments, this becomes critical. Let us look at some of them.

The camphor tree is native to China and is one of the most beautiful evergreen trees. The tree, prized in ancient times, has glossy leaves and a very sturdy trunk. They also grow to be very tall. The Great Camphor Tree of Kamo in Japan has a trunk circumference of 24.22 m, making it one of the largest in the world. The tree is used to make camphor. Camphor wood is also a very valuable commodity and in ancient times, Japan had a strict monopoly in the trade of camphor wood.

Camphor wood is so valuable because the wood is completely immune to insects. It has also been used to make camphor in the Far East. Initially, camphor was made by cottage industries in China and Taiwan. The Japanese took over a monopoly over the production of camphor after they colonised both countries. Camphor was one of their biggest exports and it was prized as a spice and a medicine. The cineol variant of camphor is used by Chinese industries to make fake “eucalyptus oil”. Thus, eucalyptus and camphor can be referred to as chemical cousins as well.

Contrary to common knowledge, eucalyptus is not the name of just one plant. Eucalyptus is a genus and consists of more than 700 trees. Eucalyptus is native to Australia and is the preferred diet of many of its indigenous fauna. It is also grown all over the world because of its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Since wildfires are very common in Australia, the genus has evolved to develop seeds that are resistant to fire. Eucalyptus oil is produced by distilling the leaves and it is a very good insect repellent and medicine. It is a distant chemical cousin of camphor and guggul as well.

Aren’t you amazed when you see how plants and their compositions are similar to each other in more ways than one?

#PlantScience #PlantMedicine #Plantfacts #Camphor #Eucalyptus #PlantScienceSkincare #skincare

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