Eucalyptus oil has become a household name today due to the wide range of benefits it offers. In the past, however, it was primarily used in the treatment of colds and coughs.
Nevertheless, eucalyptus essential oil has proved to be more than just a simple cure for respiratory illnesses.
Eucalyptus oil is, in a sense, a pharmaceutical grade organic remedy with tremendous power. But such power comes with a lot of responsibility, and my mission is to present to you facts about eucalyptus essential oil so you can educate yourself about it before you start using it.
I’ll also share with you some of my eucalyptus oil recipes which you can easily do-it-yourself at home. They have a myriad of benefits of which a lot are explained in the research below.
What is Eucalyptus Essential Oil?
The term ‘eucalyptus’ finds its origins in the Greek language where the ‘eu’ means ‘well’ and the ‘kaplyptos’ means ‘cover.’ The Greeks gave it this name due to its ‘well covered’ bud caps which bloom while its growing but eventually fall off after the plant matures.
However, the plant soon proved its worth in medicinal benefits. This led to the changing of the meaning of its name to imply that the oil ‘covers well’ a variety of ailments.
Eucalyptus essential oil is derived by extracting it from the twigs and leaves of the eucalyptus tree. They are typically dried, ground, and then distilled to get the sweet smelling oil.
The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia where it makes for 90% of the forest trees in the land down under.
With over 700 species of eucalyptus trees, the most popular among them is the Eucalyptus globulus which is commonly referred to as the blue gum, gum tree, or fever tree.
It was named the fever tree by early Australian settlers due to its fever fighting properties. It is also the tallest among its species and grows to over 60ft tall.
Currently, eucalyptus oil finds its usage in a vast array of industrial and medicinal uses. Industrially, the eucalyptus oil is employed in air fresheners, disinfectants, deodorizers, and in mining when separating sulfides from their ores.
Additionally, it serves a variety of therapeutic purposes as well as being used in makeups, mouthwashes, liniments, inhalants, perfumes, lozenges, soaps, and antiseptics.
History of Eucalyptus Oil
For centuries, leaves from the eucalyptus tree were popular among the aboriginals of Australia. They used them as cures for ailments such as sore throats, colds, coughs, congestion, and breathing difficulties.
However, the first ever documented case of eucalyptus distillation was in 1788 by Dr. Dennis Cossiden and Dr. John White. They used the oil extract from the eucalyptus tree to treat colic and chest issues.
Nevertheless, it would be almost a century later before the eucalyptus tree extracts would begin gaining popularity around the globe.
The initial fame of eucalyptus essential oil is attributed to Baron Ferdinand von Millet, a German explorer, and botanist, who said that he believed the eucalyptus tree, had antiseptic properties similar to those of Cajaput oil which was a widely used disinfectant at the time.
The German botanist would ten propose that eucalyptus oil be used as a disinfectant in districts that had widespread fever cases.
The 1850s marked the first ever commercial production of eucalyptus essential oil in Victoria, Australia. The industrialization of this oil saw to it being converted to gas and being used to light up homes, hotels, and shops. This was a particularly welcome development as it was a superior alternative to coal.
The 19th century saw the adoption of eucalyptus essential oil in European hospitals where it was used as a disinfectant and antiseptic for surgical and medical tools. It was even referred to as ‘catheter oil’ for a moment. Later on, it came to be known as the ‘cure-all.’
The wide scope of medical and industrial applications covered by the eucalyptus is a statement of it being truly ‘an essential oil.’ At the moment, China is responsible for over 75% of eucalyptus oil production.
The other 25% is shared among a host of countries which include Australia, Spain, Swaziland, Brazil, Portugal, South Africa, and Chile. The United States has since begun producing its own varieties of eucalyptus oils.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Uses, Benefits & Studies
This oil acts as an effective cleansing and purifying agent. When mixed with bath salt, it will not only leave your skin feeling fresher but will also combat existing skin conditions.
Due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil serves as an effective organic treatment to acne, insect bites, wounds, and other minor skin issues.
Eucalyptol, an oxide of eucalyptus oil and one of its main chemical components, is what is responsible for its cleansing properties. When eucalyptol is topically applied, it will help in invigorating as well as rejuvenating your skin.
A 2017 study evaluating the effectiveness of essential oils as an alternative treatment to dermatological issues found that eucalyptus oil was effective against boils, blisters, cold sores, shingles, ulcers, cuts, insect bites, wounds, athlete’s foot, abscesses, and bacterial dermatitis.
This makes it a powerful weapon against numerous skin ailments. This explains why the oil was traditionally used to treat wounds.
Great for Your Hair
Eucalyptus oil is known for how it promotes healthy scalps. It contains some active ingredients that stimulate your scalp’s blood vessels making them to constrict.
This enhances the flow of blood to the hair follicles, therefore, encouraging the growth of healthy hair. Additionally, due to its insect-repelling properties, eucalyptus oil is able to effectively treat head lice.
As such, if you are suffering from hair loss, irritable scalps, or head lice, try rubbing eucalyptus oil that has been diluted in coconut oil onto your scalp and hair.
This will help in strengthening and moisturizing your hair as well as maintaining the health of your scalp.
As earlier mentioned, one eucalyptus oil’s first uses were to help in the healing of wounds. This antiseptic property is attributed to eucalyptol (1, 8 – cineole), a compound of eucalyptus, which is effective in treating scrapes, cuts, abrasions, burns, and blisters.
The efficacy of eucalyptus in the treatment of wounds was revered by English settlers. This is what sparked interest in Victorian Pharmacists that eventually saw them start the commercial production of eucalyptus oil.
An NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) study revealed that eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial properties to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, fungi, and viruses. Another study found out that the oil has aerial antimicrobial properties.
As a result, eucalyptus oil can be utilized as a non-toxic, organic disinfecting aerosol as it helps in eliminating viruses, molds, and bacteria.
Also, due to its deodorizing and insect-repelling effects, you cannot only maintain a germ-free environment, but you will also be ridding yourself off musty smells and insects as well.
Nerve and Muscle Pain Relief
This essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, anti-neuralgic, and analgesic characteristics as well. Due to its pain relieving properties, eucalyptus essential oil is effective in soothing aching and strained muscles as well as pain that extends to nerves (neuralgia).
As such, eucalyptus oil can be used as an alternative treatment for nerve pain, rheumatism, strained or stiff muscles, sprains, fibrosis, and lumbago.
Additionally, this oil also acts as a vasodilator. Thus, through widening blood vessels, it helps in enhancing blood circulation. This allows for freer blood flow into your muscles.
As such, eucalyptus oils are effective in offering muscle relief. So, if you have had a long day and your muscles are aching, massaging using diluted eucalyptus oil will not only relieve your muscles, but you will get enhanced mental clarity and mood due to its aromatherapeutic properties.
All you have to do is prepare your own home pain relieving cream by mixing your eucalyptus essential oil with some coconut oil then have it massaged on your body.
For an even better experience, add a small amount of eucalyptus oil into your bath water.
This randomized clinical study investigated the effects of consuming eucalyptus oil through inhalation on pain and inflammatory responses after undergoing a total knee replacement surgery.
The patients were given either almond oil or eucalyptus oil to inhale for 30 minutes on three consecutive rehabilitation sessions spread over three days.
The researchers discovered that the eucalyptus inhaling group reported significantly lower pain scores, in addition to low systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. This suggested that inhaling eucalyptus oil can be employed as an alternative means of pain relief.
The eucalyptus plant’s minty taste has seen to the plant being widely used in a lot of dental products such as mouthwashes and toothpaste as an active ingredient.
It’s application in dental products, however, is not limited to its refreshing properties, this oil has also been found to be effective at reducing plaque, killing germs inside the mouth, and assisting in the prevention of gum disease.
Curing Respiratory Illnesses
Shortness of breath, clogged sinuses, and tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, and whooping coughs are all the signs of respiratory disease. Even though there are a lot of over-the-counter medications for treating such ailments, organic remedies should be your first line of defense against respiratory illnesses.
Eucalyptus essential oil has found popularity in its effectiveness as a treatment for respiratory conditions such as asthma, colds, coughs bronchitis, and sinusitis. It has also been utilized historically for the treatment of the same.
Its components such as tannins and eucalyptol are renowned for their anti-inflammatory, bronchodilating, and mucolytic properties. These are the characteristics which allow eucalyptus oil to decrease the inflammation of the mucous membrane in the upper respiratory system so as to loosen the phlegm.
This is what alleviates the symptoms of common colds and coughs, sinusitis, asthma, among other respiratory issues.
Additionally, eucalyptus cough drops work by enhancing saliva production. Increased saliva means better swallowing which inadvertently lessens coughing impulses.
Moreover, due to eucalyptus oil’s broncho- dilating properties, when you inhale its vapor, it opens up the breathing passages and sinuses thereby facilitating easier and deeper breathing.
What’s more, the antimicrobial properties of eucalyptus oil make it an effective aid in the treatment of sinus infections.
In fact, this essential oil has been known to help alleviate the symptoms of tuberculosis such as decreasing inflammation and clearing the lungs thus aiding in fighting off the infection.
Eucalyptus oil is incredibly beneficial as a mood booster as it is an effective stimulant. Thus, on the days you are feeling physically and mentally drained or sluggish, this oil can reenergize you.
When you inhale the scent of eucalyptus essential oil, you will begin to feel reenergized and rejuvenated.
Remember the drowsy feeling that someone has after consuming a heavy meal? This is due to blood flow to the brain being sluggish because a lot of blood is being directed towards the gastronomic area to help in digestion.
Thus, when you are experiencing slow blood flow to the brain, you begin exhibiting drowsiness. As such, faster blood flow and circulation is what allows us to become mentally fresh and active which reduces feelings of being worn out and depression.
Eucalyptus oil, as a remedy, helps increase your alertness and mental clarity because it is a vasodilator. When you inhale the vapors of diffused eucalyptus oil, they get absorbed through your mucous membranes and into the blood.
After the absorption, the active components of eucalyptus that cause the vasodilating effect will then act to assist in enhancing blood flow to your brain as well as throughout the entire body.
This placebo-controlled, double-blind, and randomized cross-over research that was done on 32 healthy individuals discovered that whenever a concoction of eucalyptus essential oil, ethanol, and peppermint oil was applied on large sections of the temples and forehead, the individuals displayed increased cognitive performance.
The same oil blend also showed muscle and mental relaxing properties.
Vermifuge is a term used to describe any medicine that expels parasites from the intestine. Eucalyptus oil, therefore, is considered to be a vermifuge and is classified as safe to consume by the FDA (American Food and Drugs Administration).
Nevertheless, it is important that you consult a certified aromatherapist or health professional before you decide to ingest eucalyptus oil. You will have to first dilute the oil before consuming it as per your physician’s instructions.
A little of it, however, is effective at inhibiting bacterial and parasitic growth inside your body particularly in the small and large intestines.
Treating Fever and Infections
Settlers in Australia did not name the eucalyptus the ‘fever tree’ without reason. Eucalyptus oil has been used to aid in alleviating fevers for hundreds of years. Often, a fever is a sign of an infection. However, a fever isn’t an ailment by itself.
Nonetheless, eucalyptus oil’s antibacterial effects in addition to its cooling properties make it the ideal febrifuge. This benefit can be harnessed by adding eucalyptus essential oil to warm water and giving the febrile individual a sponge bath.
Also, you could topically apply diluted eucalyptus oil onto the skin for faster absorption into the body.
Eucalyptus oil’s infection-fighting capabilities have been repeatedly put under research. The Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine published a study where they discovered that this oil displays inhibitory effects against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli which cause staph infection.
Another study revealed that eucalyptus essential oil’s antiviral properties directly combat herpes simplex virus which often leads to infections such as genital herpes.
This oil can also serve as an anti-fungal agent against toenail fungus, candida, and other fungal infections.
Relieving Seasonal Allergies
Eucalyptus oil’s components such as citronellal and eucalyptol have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that help the oil relieve seasonal allergy symptoms.
BMC Immunology published an a study that discovered that not only did this oil display antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic effects; it also had immune-regulatory properties.
This is what helps alter the immune response which manifests whenever you come into contact with an allergen.
Due to eucalyptus essential oil’s expectorant properties, it will assist in unclogging your respiratory tract. Its antimicrobial effects help in clearing up infections that might result in fluid buildup inside the ear canal – which are what causes earaches and other ear infection symptoms.
You can, therefore, utilize eucalyptus oil to alleviate ear pains that might result from nasal congestion, colds, seasonal allergies, bacterial infections, and other factors that might cause fluid buildup inside the ear canal.
Eucalyptus oil can indeed assist you in naturally getting rid of rats. Although it might seem surprising, The Scientific World Journal Published a study in 2014 that suggested that eucalyptus can be used as rat deterrent in households.
After being sprayed with eucalyptus oil, the laboratory pens experienced no further visits from rats that frequented those places to get food.
In fact, the researchers reported significantly lower food consumption in the treated side as compared to the untreated area. This further verifies eucalyptus oil’s vermin repellant properties.
Here are some of my favorite DIY Recipes using Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
Green Tea with Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Green tea that has been mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus is effective for treating a cold. To make this concoction, put a green tea bag in a mug of hot water then add five drops of eucalyptus oil then let it steep for about three minutes.
You could also add honey or sugar to sweeten the brew.
Adding this oil to tea is a great way of enjoying its therapeutic effects.
Eucalyptus Massage Oil
- Five to eight drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
- One tablespoon of jojoba oil.
- Two tablespoons of moringa oil.
How to make it:
- Put all the ingredients in a small bottle and shake it until the oils form a blend.
- Moringa is employed because it acts as a great carrier for massage oils in addition to its anti-inflammatory characteristics.
This eucalyptus oil shampoo recipe is going to ensure that your hair stays clean, moisturized, and free from dandruff and head lice.
- 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
- 1 tablespoon of olive/argan carrier oil.
- 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
- 1/4 cup of liquid castile soap.
How to make it:
- Use a wooden spoon to mix all the above in a bowl and stir thoroughly.
- Now transfer your mixture to a glass jar that has an airtight or an empty shampoo container.
- Use as often as you need while remembering to store it in a cool and dry place.
Eucalyptus Home Disinfectant
Using this easy to make antibacterial eucalyptus cleaning spray, you will now be able to ensure that your sinks, kitchen tops, and other surfaces prone to germs stay clean and germ-free. The added benefit is that it smells nice too.
- 10 drops of eucalyptus oil.
- 10 drops of peppermint oil.
- 10 drops of citronella oil.
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar.
- 2 cups of water.
How to make it:
- Put all the above in a spray bottle and shake thoroughly.
- Spray it on the surface you need to clean then store it in a cool and dry place.
I have used the above recipes with a lot of success and I hope that you will enjoy them too.
However, such a powerful agent cannot be used without some precautions. Here’s what you need to know before you rush off to get this oil.
It might smell sweet but it isn’t as delicate to the skin when used carelessly; trust me, I learnt the hard way.
Eucalyptus Oil Side Effects and Precautions
Eucalyptus oil is only safe for ingestion in very small quantities. Consuming large or concentrated doses of this oil could induce vomiting and nausea. In fact, most of eucalyptus oil’s benefits come from being topically applied rather than being ingested.
Additionally, if applied without diluting with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, eucalyptus oil is likely to irritate your skin.
As such, you need to seek professional advice before you begin using eucalyptus essential oil to avoid the above side effects. Additionally, the oil cannot be used as a replacement for any prescribed medication.
Quick facts about Eucalyptus Essential Oil
• Eucalyptus oil has been and continues to be used as a cleansing, purifying, and an immune-boosting agent that is ideal for skin use, aromatherapy, disinfectants, and fabric fresheners.
• There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus.
• Koala bears feed exclusively on Eucalyptus trees.
• Eucalyptus essential oil soothes physical pains and supports the respiratory system.
• It is a common ingredient in inhalers, balms, dental hygiene products.
• Eucalyptus essential oil derives its healing properties from its anti-inflammatory, decongestant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and other invaluable effects.
Eucalyptus oil has, for centuries, proven its worth as the go-to drug for common ailments. Even though it is now most commonly used in aromatherapy, you can still enjoy its wonderful benefits from the confines of your home.
However, ensure that you consult with a medical professional before you begin using this essential oil.
What Company Should I Purchase Eucalyptus Oil From?
I hope you enjoyed learning about all of the cool benefits and uses that eucalyptus essential oil offers. It is definitely one of the most versatile oils because it can be used to create so many different types of blends to solve your everyday problems.
My personal favorite brand that I purchase most of my oils from is doTERRA. I find that they offer the highest quality oils, starter kits, and diffusers. They are especially good if you are brand new to oils because they offer a lot of free resources and education once you become a customer.
I started my journey with essential oils about 2 years ago after the birth of my first child. To say that they changed my life forever would be an understatement. I share my story with you, so you can thrive and change your life, like it has done for me. Click here to read about my story.