Eucalyptus is a tree that is native to Australia. Eucalpytus oil is extracted from the leaves of the tree. Eucalyptus oil is available as an essential oil that is used as a medicine to treat a variety of common diseases and conditions including nasal congestion, asthma, and as a tick repellant.
Diluted eucalyptus oil may also be applied to the skin as a remedy for health problems such as arthritis and skin ulcers. Eucalyptus oil is also used to ease cold symptoms and provide respiratory health benefits.
Eucalyptol, which is often used in mouthwashes and cold remedies, is derived from Eucalyptus globulus. Eucalyptus is often used as an essential oil with a diffuser for aromatherapy health benefits.
Eucalyptus is available under the following different brand and other names: fevertree, gum tree, red ironbark, and white ironbark.
For many years, eucalyptus oil has been used to relieve coughing. Today, some over-the-counter cough medications have eucalyptus oil as one of their active ingredients. Vicks VapoRub, for example, contains about 1.2 percent eucalyptus oil along with other cough suppressant ingredients.
The popular rub is applied to the chest and throat to relieve cough symptoms from the common cold or flu.
Drives away bugs and pests: Mosquitoes and other biting insects carry diseases that can be dangerous to our health. Avoiding their bites is our best defense. DEET sprays are the most popular repellants, but they’re made with strong chemicals.
As an effective alternative for those who aren’t able to use DEET, many manufacturers make a botanical compound to repel the pests. Brands such as Repel and Off! use oil of lemon eucalyptus to keep the pests away.
In 2012, researchers from New Delhi, in India, found that E. globulus oil was active against the larvae and pupae of the housefly. They suggested that it could be a viable option for use in eco-friendly products to control houseflies.
Disinfect wounds: The Australian aborigines used eucalyptus leaves to treat wounds and prevent infection. Today the diluted oil may still be used on the skin to fight inflammation and promote healing. You can purchase creams or ointments that contain eucalyptus oil. These products may be used on minor burns or other injuries that can be treated at home.
Clear your chest & Breathe Assist: Respiratory conditions such as asthma and sinusitis may be helped by inhaling steam with added eucalyptus oil. The oil reacts with mucous membranes, not only reducing mucus but helping loosen it so that you can cough it up.
It’s also possible that eucalyptus blocks asthma symptoms. On the other hand, for people who are allergic to eucalyptus, it may worsen their asthma. More research is needed to determine how eucalyptus affects people with asthma.
Ease joint pain: Research suggests that eucalyptus oil eases joint pain. In fact, many popular over-the- counter creams and ointments used to soothe pain from conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis contain this essential oil.
Eucalyptus oil helps to reduce pain and inflammation associated with many conditions. It may also be helpful to people experiencing back pain or those recovering from a joint or muscle injury. Talk to your doctor about if it may be right for you.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), some essential oils can be hazardous, but those that are available commercially, from reputable sources, are safe to use if handled appropriately. The NAHA says that it is important to use “pure, authentic, and genuine essential oils.”
Eucalyptus products can generally be used safely on the skin, as long as the oil is diluted. It should not be applied directly onto the skin until it is diluted with a carrier oil, such as olive oil.
The dilution should be between 1 percent and 5 percent eucalyptus oil to between 95 percent and 99 percent carrier oil; this equates to roughly one to five drops of essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil.
Eucalyptus can produce irritation and a burning sensation. It should not be used too close to the eyes.
It is important to do an allergy test before using eucalyptus because it is highly allergenic. An allergy test can be done by adding the eucalyptus oil in the carrier oil and putting a drop on the arm. If there is no reaction in 24 hours, it is safe to use.
Allergies can develop over time. If you have used eucalyptus oil in the past and now seem to be having an allergic reaction to it, discontinue use.
In some individuals with asthma, eucalyptus can make their condition worse. Others find that it helps to relieve their asthma symptoms.
Side effects may include:
Signs of eucalyptus poisoning include dizziness, feelings of suffocation, and small pupils. It is important to note that eucalyptus may interact with other medications and can impact the liver.
Children are more sensitive to essential oils, so care should be taken when using eucalyptus with children. Use should be avoided during pregnancy.