Eucalyptus essential oil - Benefits, uses & effects
Eucalyptus is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to Australia. As an ingredient in many products, it is used to reduce symptoms of coughs, colds, and congestion. It also features in creams and ointments aimed at relieving muscle and joint pain.
The oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree is used as an antiseptic, a perfume, as an ingredient in cosmetics, as a flavoring, in dental preparations, and in industrial solvents.
Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic, Greek, and other European styles of medicine have incorporated it into the treatment of a range of conditions for thousands of years.
There are over 400 different species of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus globulus, also known as Blue Gum, is the main source of eucalyptus oil used globally.
Leaves are steam distilled to extract the oil, which is a colorless liquid with a strong, sweet, woody scent. It contains 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol.
The leaves also contain flavonoids and tannins; flavonoids are plant-based antioxidants, and tannins may help to reduce inflammation.
What are the benefits of Eucalyptus essential oil?
Eucalyptus oil has traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including:
Used to relieve coughing
Help you get the mucus out of your chest
Effective insect repellent and insecticide
Controls blood sugar
Soothe cold sores
Fight the germs that cause mouth odor
Eases joint pains
May stimulate an immune system response
Like many essential oils, researchers have been working to evaluate the potential health benefits of Eucalyptus oil and its components.
How to use Eucalyptus essential oil?
Natural antibacterial cleaner
Blend together a homemade disinfectant spray to clean surfaces, the bath, sink, cupboards, and wherever else germs may lurk. Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups hot water; add ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and 12 drops of eucalyptus oil and pour into a glass spray bottle. Shake well before use. The perfect multipurpose 100% natural surface cleaner.
Natural grease remover
Eucalyptus oil is also a hard-working grease buster for pretty much any surface in your home. Think stoves, sinks, your microwave oven, kitchen cabinets, benchtops – everywhere in the kitchen where grease and grime build-up. Simply use your all-purpose surface cleaner to cut through all the nasty stuff. And if your stainless-steel appliances are looking a little lackluster, just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a clean cloth and wipe. No more fingerprints or streaks; just sparkling clean.
Homemade hand sanitizer gel
For a quick and easy DIY option, in a 2-ounce bottle, add a ratio of two-thirds rubbing alcohol and one-third aloe vera gel, plus 3 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils. Add a little distilled or boiled water if you need to fill it up.
Remove bad odors
Whether it be your garbage can, stinky gym shoes, or a stale car smell, just drop in a cotton ball moistened with 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil to immediately freshen the air.
Clear a blocked, stuffy nose
To help clear the airways, diffuse 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil or simply take a couple of sniffs out of the bottle. There’s also nothing quite as effective as a eucalyptus steam session to ease all that congestion when you’re feeling blocked up. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a hot bath to clear out your sinuses and relax at the same time.
Treat muscle and joint pain
Eucalyptus is great for sprained muscles, aching joints, rheumatism, easing those all-over body aches brought on by the flu, and more. Use a little eucalyptus oil to massage all the aches and pains away. A heat wrap warmed in your microwave uses both the powers of eucalyptus and heat to double-up on pain relief benefits.
Are there any side effects?
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.
It is not safe to take eucalyptus oil orally because it is poisonous.
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.
The bottom line!
Eucalyptus essential oil can be used to reduce symptoms of coughs, colds, and congestion. It also features in creams and ointments aimed at relieving muscle and joint pain.
As with any essential oil, make sure to use eucalyptus oil safely. Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before using eucalyptus oil.
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