The eucalyptus tree is a common food source for koala bears, but the oil steam-stilled from its leaves may very well transform your health.
Eucalyptus oil, known for its strong woody and sweet smell, has long been used on wounds, for respiratory conditions, and as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Widely researched, it’s considered a powerful natural medicine, also popular for its ability to stimulate immunity, provide antioxidant protection and improve respiratory circulation.
Eucalyptus oil is a common ingredient in many soaps, detergents and household cleaners. It’s also found in most mouthwashes, toothpastes and other dental hygiene products. The antiviral and deodorizing nature of eucalyptus oil makes it a popular air freshener because it kills bacteria and germs in the air, keeping the environment clean and sterile.
15 Reasons to Add Eucalyptus Oil to your Essential Oil Arsenal
- Antibacterial and antiseptic properties
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities
- Soothes and speeds wound healing, skin infections
- Respiratory problems and improved breathing
- Pain relief for joint and muscles
- Nasal congestion, bronchitis and sinusitis
- Dental care, fights cavities, dental plaque and infections
- Can use against lice and fleas; bug repellant and natural pesticide
- Fights intestinal germs
- Relief from influenza
- Stimulates immune system response
- Improved mental activity and blood flow to the brain
- Muscle relaxer, relieves headaches
- Helps regulate blood sugar
- Natural home cleaner, odor eliminator and spot remover
Eucalyptus oil is an important ingredient in Elan Veda’s essential oil blends including Muscle and Joint, All Headache and All Sinus.
Native to Australia, aboriginals first used oil-containing eucalyptus leaf infusions as a traditional medicine for body pains, fever, sinus congestions and colds. Interestingly, small towns in Australia discovered that eucalyptus oil could be converted into a gas to light their homes, hotels and shops.
It’s been used in a variety of other traditional medicine systems, including Chinese, Indian (Ayurvedic), and Greek and European.
As early as the 1880s, surgeons used eucalyptus oil as an antiseptic during operations. In 19th century England, most hospitals used the oil to clean urinary catheters. And in 1948, the United States also officially registered eucalyptus oil as an insecticide and miticide (one that kills mites and ticks).
The eucalyptus tree is one of the world’s tallest evergreen trees, with some varieties growing several hundred feet tall. It now grows in other parts of the world including India, Europe and South Africa.
There are many species of eucalyptus trees used to extract the oil, and the oils from the various species vary widely in character so it may be helpful to read on the different types. It is important to make sure you are using pure eucalyptus oil.
The health benefits of eucalyptus oil have been traced to a chemical known as cineole, often referred to as “eucalyptol” by the scientific community. There have been numerous scientific research studies on cineole with amazing results. This organic compound has astounding, widespread medicinal effects, including everything from reducing inflammation and pain to killing leukemia cells.
The oil is also used in a variety of over-the-counter products including rubs, inhalers, cough drops, rash creams, and mouthwashes.
For respiratory ailments, you can diffuse the oil into the air or inhale it for immediate relief. It’s effective in a vaporizer or humidifier, aroma lamp, or spray, or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head and breathe deep. You also can apply as a chest ointment, or gargle very diluted oil to relieve sore throats. Place a drop or two topically over the affected area, such as the throat, the Eustachian tubes for ear infections, lymph nodes, sore joints, and massage into the skin.
A double-blind study found a combination of eucalyptus and peppermint applied topically to forehead and temples relieved headaches better than acetaminophen and aspirin. It was found to increase intellectual capacities and logical thought processes.
You also can add eucalyptus oil to saunas, spas and baths to disinfect, refresh and reinvigorate.
Use care and caution with eucalyptus oil. Follow directions on the bottle or seek guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner or aromatherapist. Keep it out of reach of children and pets and away from the eyes. Do a spot test on sensitive skin to make sure there are no reactions. Adults should not take it orally except under a doctor’s supervision. It is not recommended for young children, including cough drops with eucalyptus.
This article is educational in nature and not intended to replace medical advice. Benefits of eucalyptus oil have not been evaluated by the FDA to treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician about possible drug interactions.
by Marla R. Miller