Applying Eucalyptus Oil May be Mild on the Human Skin, But Not to the Environment
Having a balm underneath the pillow or on the table beside the bed is an unspoken culture among certain Indians. It has become a guilty pleasure, as with or without suffering from a common cold or fever, the balm comes in handy when the individual needs some shut eye. Some prefer ones that sting, while others prefer mild and soothing balms. One of the most aromatic and mild balms is the Eucalyptus oil. But did you know that this oil can be used for cooking and other purposes beyond serving as a balm? It’s vibrant applicative value is also the reason for its demand.
Demand in Cosmetics and Personal Care
Increasing disposable income and greater public awareness of the value of maintaining a skincare routine are contributing to the rise in demand for personal care products. Since eucalyptus oil has qualities that are beneficial to skin, it is frequently utilized in skin care products. Antioxidants and flavonoids, which both protect the skin from oxidative stress, are abundant in eucalyptus. Additionally, eucalyptus has the ability to cure wounds, making it helpful for insect bites, minor wounds, ulcers, and contusions. Numerous studies have shown that eucalyptus is quite effective at treating the herpes simplex virus. The market for eucalyptus oil may be significantly impacted by these factors.
The market is divided into conventional and organic products based on the natural world. Organic eucalyptus oil products are produced and processed without the use of chemicals or fertilizers. People would therefore favor natural eucalyptus oil over conventional eucalyptus oil. Items made from eucalyptus oil that have been certified organic are now used in a variety of products, including foods and beverages, medications, and cosmetics. Products are guaranteed to be organic if they bear organic labels like ‘Contain Organic Ingredients’, ‘100 percent Organic’, ‘Made with Organic’, and ‘Certified Organic/USDA Organic’.
Supermarkets, specialty shops, online channels, and others make up the market's distribution channel segmentation.Eucalyptus oil producers are concentrating on using internet portals to distribute their products since it reduces operational expenses and enables them to get in touch with niche markets anywhere in the world. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart have contributed to the growth of the eucalyptus oil business. To reach a larger audience and boost sales, several small- and large-scale eucalyptus oil producers are concentrating on selling their products online.
Cultivating Eucalytpus is Both a Pain and Gain
Due to its rapid growth and capacity to satisfy rural needs for fuel and shelter, eucalyptus plantations were widely encouraged. In addition, by providing the essential raw materials, it promoted the growth of the pulp and paper industries.
The other side of the story is that the eucalyptus controversy in India could not be related to the traits of the plant as a whole, but rather to the manner in which government advertisements for farm forestry are presented. The better off portions of society benefited from this type of forestry, but the lowest sections of society were ignored.
Foresters contend that Eucalyptus can help supply local communities and industry while assisting in meeting the increased demand for wood from diminishing natural forests. However, due to alleged ecological risks and the argument that the choice of species was fundamentally incorrect, environmentalists are hostile to eucalyptus. The numerous end uses required of tree species in India for community use are not well suited for eucalyptus.
Despite the excitement with which policymakers and representatives of the forest department have pushed and accepted eucalyptus, since its widespread establishment in India at the beginning of the 1980s, it has drawn vehement condemnation from environmentalists, social activists, and certain NGO's. Due to its high water needs, eucalyptus successfully outcompetes other species, reducing the amount of water that is available for them. Due to the high demand for water in dry regions, it therefore suppresses a variety of plant life, lowers soil moisture, prevents groundwater recharge, and may lower local water tables. This is made worse by a high transpiration rate that shows inefficient water consumption.
Eucalyptus doesn't aid in the production of humus. As opposed to other species, it does not add to the soil's long-term fertility, depleting the soil of its overall nutritional content. Eucalyptus is poisonous because of its allelopathic qualities, which also harm soil micro- and macro-fauna and diminish other plant life by preventing the germination of other species.
Although Eucalyptus may complete its life cycle in low-nutrient environments, the genus nevertheless has the capacity to react favorably to higher nutritional standards. Increased productivity and vigor are clearly reacted to when exposed to an environment with elevated nutrient levels, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. Therefore, the availability of nutrients has a significant impact on production.
Before being outlawed by the Karnataka High Court for wasting water, eucalyptus endured a similar fate at the National Green Tribunal in 2015. Using commercial eucalyptus production as one of the reasons for Punjab's significant overuse of groundwater, Safal Bharat Guru Parampara Punjab filed a lawsuit. The landmark decision by the Punjab and Haryana High Court found that eucalyptus growth is neither harmful to the environment nor harmful to the water table if it is managed properly. The bench from April 16, 2015 further reaffirmed that eucalyptus plantations could not be entirely prohibited in Punjab.
The responsibility for developing an acceptable policy, however, fell on the forest department. Through adequate regulations and ongoing oversight, the agency was able to control and limit the expansion of the aforementioned plantation in the safe and waterlogged areas. A report from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) claims that eucalyptus trees provide farmers with a net income that is greater than that of around 60 percent to 70 percent of agricultural products. On the strength of new productive clones now being developed, it can significantly contribute to raising future farm-level profitability. Eucalyptus trees enhance farmer income and help the government reach its goal of having 33 percent of the country's land covered in forests, which is now only at 22 percent.
Early in the 1980s, root trainer technology was used to create fast-growing, high-yielding, site-specific eucalyptus clones for improved adaptation. India first received this technology in the early 1990s. This method promotes the growth of numerous surface-feeding roots that only penetrate to a depth of 1-3 meters and have no impact on the groundwater table.
70 percent of plantations in the world today are a result of this technology. Eucalyptus is charged with several offenses. In addition to being mocked as the ‘water guzzler’, it is also criticized for acidifying the soil and exhibiting allelopathic effects.