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Eucalyptus Oil History In Malaysia

Eucalyptus Oil: a leaf out of the history books

The aromatic fragrance and medicinal properties of Eucalyptus Oil make it popular all over the world.  But its long and interesting history has a special chapter in Malaysia.

In the notorious Battan Death March of World War II, thousands of Australian, Malaysian and Filipino soldiers died when forced to walk more than 270km with no food or clean water.  Despite the horrendous conditions the soldiers’ true spirit endured, and those who survived honour the memory of their fallen colleagues in a unique way.

On 15 August each year in Sandakan a memorial service is held: war time survivors bring along branches and leaves from eucalyptus trees, and bury them as they recall their memories from the war.

Photo:  A memorial in progress

Why this tradition endures may only be known to the soldiers themselves.  Perhaps eucalyptus symbolised the close bond, borne of physical and emotional necessity, with Australian soldiers.  Perhaps the fragrance itself revived them on the side of a lonely road.  But what is certain is that eucalyptus trees and their fragrant oil hold a special significance to Malaysian war veterans that endures to this day.

Eucalyptus Oil has a happier war story to tell, too.

It assisted in the birth of many a new life as Australian nurses introduced this new “Wonder oil” to their Malaysian midwife sisters during the war.

Eucalyptus oil was used to clean and sterilise birthing instruments, clean hospitals and assist with wound management.  In times when medicines and antibiotics were scarce it helped keep infection at bay and the fresh crisp eucalyptus scent would be remembered by many a Malaysian grandmother!

These are just two chapters in an extraordinary history of Eucalyptus Oil, which is now being discovered by a new generation.  To find out more about the uses of Eucapro  Eucalyptus Oil, please visit


Photo: A map of the route, found on the memorial obelisk.