Eucalyptus oil is well known in the pharmaceutical industry for a variety of products such as cough lozenges, inhalations, linaments and mouth washes. It comes mainly from E. globulus but some is derived from E. camaldulensis, but it is in the supply of eucalyptus gum that the river red gum leads the field.

The Aborigines used the tree for its medicinal properties. A handful of young leaves, crushed and then boiled in water, was used as a linament that was rubbed in for chest or joint pain, particularly for general aches and flu symptoms. Young leaves were also heated in a pit over hot coals, and the vapours were inhaled, which helped with the treatment of general sickness.