In the history of essential oils, Eucalyptus is a relative newcomer, only having become known from its native Australia in the mid 19th century. However this in no way diminishes its amazing array of beneficial effects.
Eucalyptus can not only be used a fantastic aromatic and freshener, but it also has a number of medical applications as a result of its antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. The benefits of Eucalyptus oil are as follows:
Coughs, Cold, Flu
Eucalyptus oil can be used to treat many of the symptoms of coughs, colds and ‘flu. To help alleviate the symptoms of congestion, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Or alternatively add a couple of drops to a tissue or handkerchief and inhale the vapours as required throughout the day. Also a drop on a tissue or handkerchief placed inside your pillowcase can provide overnight congestion relief.
Following on from the use of Eucalyptus oil to act as an overnight decongestant, Eucalyptus oil can also help to alleviate some people’s snoring, especially when used in conjunction with Lavender. Again adding a drop to your pillowcase or using a room vaporiser can work wonders for those whose snoring results from restricted nasal airways.
A study published in Laryngoscope (2004:114:738–42) has shown that suffers from acute non-bacterial sinusitis had a nearly halved recovery time when they were administered with capsules containing cineole (also known as eucalyptol, one of the volatile elements naturally occurring in eucalyptus). There has been anecdotal evidence for many years that Eucalyptus oil can be used to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, and now this has been conclusively and medically proven.
When suffering from a chesty cough or infection, a rub can be made up of 6 drops of pure eucalyptus oil mixed into 10ml of a neutral massage oil (such as olive, sweet almond or sunflower), when massaged into the chest this can provide soothing and relaxing relief.
As with the use of Eucalyptus oil for chest rubs, the same preparation can be applied to areas experiencing muscular aches and pains, rheumatic pain and areas of poor circulation.
During the 19th century, Eucalyptus was used in hospital to clean catheters and other medical equipment, due to its antiseptic properties. Although no longer used for this purpose, Eucalyptus is still an ingredient in many pharmaceutical topical antiseptics. As with the rubs, never apply pure Eucalyptus directly to skin, but when mixed with a neutral base oil, liquid or cream it can provide a handy remedy for insect bites, stings, cuts and wounds.
Developing research suggests that Eucalyptus may have properties that can help to lower blood glucose levels in patients suffering from Diabetes. However this research is still undergoing and so final conclusions have not yet been reached. Under no circumstances do we recommend using Eucalyptus oil without sanctioned medical advice.
Either regular Eucalyptus oil or Lemon Eucalyptus oil can act as excellent natural insect repellents. Simply mix 10-20 drops of the pure essential oil with 2 tablespoons of a neutral skin safe carrier oil and either massage into, or spray over, skin to repel those pesky little critters!
WARNING: When used correct and safely, Eucalyptus (as with other Essential Oils) can provide an amazing range of benefits. HOWEVER WHEN USED IN TOO GREAT A QUANTITY OR UNDILUTED EUCALYPTUS CAN HAVE SEVERE AND DANGEROUS SIDE EFFECTS. EUCLAYPTUS SHOULD NEVER BE USED FOR BABIES, CHILDREN, PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN. We recommend only ever using Essential Oils after having read up carefully on the subject, or after consulting a qualified aromatherapist. An excellent introductory home-use guide called “Aromatherapy” is available from the Books section of our shop.