Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus leaf and tree, native to Australia. It is also known as Tasmanian Blue Gum and its products are used widely across the world in everything from flavourings and fragrances to pharmaceuticals. Most people have heard of it already although some might not realise just how useful it can be and how a tiny amount can go a long way!
It’s not only a great food source for cuddly koala bears and has been used by Aborigines for many years, it is also used in everything from odour removal to skin care. Eucalyptus oils are made up of over 100 different compounds.
Its use is popular in healthcare and referred to as eucalyptol and the chemical cineole has various medicinal uses, such as reducing inflammation.
Eucalyptus Oil Uses and Benefits
In this article we take a look at how eucalyptus oil can be used, its health and other benefits, any potential risks or side effects and how to get your hands on some to try out yourself …
Eucalyptus Oil Uses For skin care
Eucalyptus can cut through grime and grease so it is often added to skin cleansers. It can be added to Epsom salt in a bath as a great way to clean your body and soothes sore muscles. Eucalyptus oil also has moisturising benefits which makes it another reason it is widely added to skin creams and lotions. Similarly to tea tree, the oil is sometimes added to face washes for the way in which it treats facial sores and spots or soothes skin irritations, such as acne or psoriasis.
Eucalyptus Oil Uses For hair care
By adding a drop or two of eucalyptus oil with some coconut oil or olive oil and adding it to your hair as a mask before rinsing your locks, the hair will be nourished and moisturised. Eucalyptus is also good for easing an itchy or irritable scalp, scalp conditions and preventing or reducing dandruff. It is sometimes used as a natural way of killing or hair lice as well! Talk about multi-functional!
Eucalyptus Oil Benefits For health
- Reducing inflammation:
Eucalyptus oil can have soothing properties and is often applied to sore muscles and can help alleviate issues such as joint pain. It is especially useful for older people with general joint aches, post-exercise muscle soreness and people with conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis.
- Eucalyptus Oil For Colds & Flu :
Probably most well-known for its cold busting properties, eucalyptus oil is often the vapour of choice when it comes to zapping those nasty cold and flu viruses. This is why when somebody has a cold they can often smell of it, after dabbing some oil on their handkerchief or tissue. Eucalyptus helps to cleanse the body and rid it of toxins. Inhaling the vapour (using a few drops of essential oil in a diffuser), can soothe cold and flu symptoms and aide a restful sleep and recovery. Alternatively, it is a good addition to a steam facial by breathing in the fumes deeply while placing your head over a bowl with a towel around it. This will clear the airways and help you breathe easier. Eucalyptus oil can boost the immune system meaning you are less likely to get a cold in the first place or at least, not see one return for a while!
Similarly to zapping cold and flu symptoms, eucalyptus oil is beneficial for allergies and sinus problems. An NYU Medical School study found that patients experienced an improvement to their sinus problems when using eucalyptus oil. They took it orally or inhale a drop or two on some tissue.
- Sore throats:
We have already learnt that eucalyptus oil is effective when you have a cold or allergies and it is recommended to use a tiny amount in water to gargle for a soothing way to reduce the soreness from sore throats. It is sometimes used it throat lozenges.
- Bites and wounds:
Due to its antiseptic properties, Eucalyptus oil is an effective way to treat burns, cuts, sores and wounds. This can be done by applying a few diluted drops to a cotton wool pad and applying directly to the affected area. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in insect repellent and in treating stings and insect bites. This is because the smell can deter bugs and the eucalyptus is a natural pain relief soothing painful areas and speeding up the recovery and healing process.
- Respiratory Issues:
Eucalyptus oil is used for treating a whole range of respiratory problems, including asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis. Many people who struggle with asthma and breathing, use the oil to help open up the restricted blood vessels, allowing more oxygen to reach the lungs. It can be mixed with peppermint oil and coconut oil and rubbed on to the chest for relief, or inhaled (adding a few drops to a tissue and breathing in the vapour). Asthma users often use a nebuliser device and a few drops of eucalyptus oil can also be added to this. As we’ve already mentioned, eucalyptus can reduce inflammation and it does the same within the respiratory tract.
- Oral hygiene:
You might have noticed eucalyptus as an ingredient in toothpastes and mouthwashes. It can help fight against bacteria and bad breath and leave breath fresh. It is good for dental health as it has antibacterial properties and can fight against tooth decay.
- Body odour:
In the same way it is used against bad breath, it is effective in body lotions and even deodrants for neutralising body odour.
- Pain relief:
Linked to why it is so effective in reducing inflammation and for wounds, research has shown that eucalyptus oil has analgesic properties. In other words, it can ease aches and pains.
Eucalyptus oil can help us feel more awake and more alert because of its refreshing qualities. As such, it is thought of as a stimulant and can be used to give us a brain boost and help against exhaustion or fatigue. The scent of it can increase blood flow to the brain, making us more alert and better prepared to recall information. It is a great prep for an exam!
Are there any side effects ?
- Consuming eucalyptus oil in small doses is said to be generally safe for adults. Like everything, precautions should always be taken and with anything new you are unsure about, it is worth getting healthcare advice from a professional. You should always do your own research.
- Care should be taken when giving children eucalyptus oil as it can be very potent, so only very tiny doses are necessary. In fact, the same goes for adults – just a single drop can go very far and a small bottle can last a very long time.
- Eucalyptus oil is applied topically and generally safe to do so, but should be avoided on the face of children under the age of 2.
- It is advisable to avoid eucalyptus in oil form when pregnant or breastfeeding until more research is carried out on any potential risks or possible side effects that may occur.
- If you are applying eucalyptus oil to the skin or ingesting it, it must be diluted for safe use and never used at its full strength. In other words, a drop or two is usually more than enough to have an effect and it can be added to a glass of water or another oil such as coconut oil to serve its purpose.
- If you do consume too much eucalyptus oil, the side effect is eucalyptus poisoning. If you think you might be positioned, action needs to be taken as quickly as possible. Signs include stomach pains, burning sensation, muscle weakness, dizzy spells, a feeling that you are suffocating and reduction in the size of the eye’s pupil. Other side effects can include nausea and diarrhea. It is important to stop taking eucalyptus oil and seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
- As with any natural remedy or otherwise, it is important to ask a doctor or other healthcare professional for advice if you have any health conditions or take other medications. For example, some research suggests that eucalyptus leaves can lower blood sugar which can be a concern for diabetics. If you have diabetes and choose to try eucalyptus oil, it is advisable to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully before, during and after consumption or use. For the same reason, it should be used with caution before and after surgery in case of its effect on blood sugars.
How To Use Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There are different ways to use eucalyptus oil and its versatility is one of the reasons we love it so much! It can be use aromatically as a vapour (in an essential oil form), applied topically or ingested. It is often an ingredient in a massage oil or cream. Many people add a drop to a bath because of its many health benefits and how it is good for moisturising skin and easing aches and pains. One of the easiest ways to start using it if you are new to the oil is to burn a few drops in an oil burner and enjoy its smell and how it gives you a natural lift. If you are using eucalyptus oil for reducing inflammation or for other first aid reasons such as to treat stings and bites, you can add a drop or two to a lotion or apply diluted solution on to a cotton wool pad. It is always worth keeping a bottle of essential oil in the medical bag or cupboard.
Where to buy Eucalyptus Oil
The oil is sold in many health and beauty stores and general lifestyle shops. It is also widely available online. It is a popular natural health remedy and most people know about it to some extent. It is important to have a good read of the label, packaging and instructions before purchase and use. Alternatively, you can make some yourself …
How to make Eucalyptus Oil
You can make your own eucalyptus oil from the plant’s leaves. This will save money in the long run. For some, it might be a bit too much effort, but if you enjoy giving things a go yourself, here’s how …
You’ll need to get your hands on some eucalyptus leaves (of course), weighing scales, olive oil, a large cooking pot, a strain and an airtight container (the best would be a jar with dark glass).
To make the oil, simply crush a couple of ounces of fresh eucalyptus leaves gently. Do this with your fist in a large pot to release oil from the leaves. As you do this, add the carrier oil such as olive oil (one cup for ever quarter of an ounce of leaves crushed). Now turn the stove heat on low and place the large cooking pot on the heat. Leave to work its magic for 6 hours (check on it from time to time). Once this is done, strain the oil through a mesh strainer and store in the dark glass jar. The jar must be well-sealed. It can last for 6 months if stored correctly (in an airtight jar and in a cool, dry storage area), It can last even longer if you keep it in the fridge. To use the oil as an antiseptic, you just need to add one part eucalyptus oil to one part of apple cider vinegar and apply on wounds or bites.
Here, we’ve concentrated on the benefits of eucalyptus oil as a natural health remedy and how good it is for our skin and our hair. It is also hugely popular for a whole range of other reasons, from use in saunas and shower cleaners to removing stubborn stickers, as a room freshener or removing stubborn marks from materials such as carpet. The great thing about essential oils is that they are versatile and mix well with other oils. For example, eucalyptus oil blends with lavender, thyme and lemongrass for various reasons and smells. This versatile health and beauty remedy is definitely one to stock in your home!