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Eucalyptus essential oil is a potent aromatic liquid containing various volatile compounds including 1,8‐cineole, α‐pinene, and camphor, which exhibit biological activities. (1) These compounds give eucalyptus essential oil multiple healing properties that can help improve your health in different ways.
It is credited with analgesic, antiseptic, insecticidal, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. (2)
This article explains the widespread usage of eucalyptus oil in traditional and alternative medicine to alleviate some common ailments.
- Eucalyptus oil is not safe for consumption and can prove fatal even in small doses. (3)
- Applying or inhaling eucalyptus oil can trigger toxic side effects in children below the age of 6 years, so consult your doctor before use.
Uses and Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Here are some medicinal uses of eucalyptus oil.
1. Reduces pain and inflammation
Eucalyptus oil contains 1,8-cineole and α‐pinene, which are strong antioxidants that curb free radical damage, swelling, fluid retention, and inflammation in the body.
Moreover, cineole, which makes up more than 70% of this oil’s composition, exhibits analgesic properties. In fact, it may work like morphine to relieve pain. (4)(5)
How to use:
- Add 2–3 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 tablespoons of lukewarm coconut oil.
- Massage this oil blend on the affected areas for 5–10 minutes.
- Repeat 2–3 times daily.
2. Improves respiratory diseases
The chief component of eucalyptus oil is cineole, which is credited with mucolytic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve cough, sore throat, and nasal and chest congestion associated with a variety of respiratory ailments such as the common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, rhinosinusitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
It helps reduce swelling and mucus secretion in the airways, thereby facilitating normal breathing. Plus, it makes the phlegm less sticky and thick so that you can easily cough it out.
Note: Three adverse events were reported from treatment with cineole, namely, irritation, burning in the eyes, and burning in the mouth. (6)
How to use:
- Mix a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in warm water and gargle with it to soothe a sore throat. Ingesting the oil can cause toxicity, so make sure to spit it out after gargling.
- Put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a handkerchief and smell it time and again to relieve respiratory distress.
- Add 10–15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam for about 5–10 minutes to ease nasal and chest congestion. You can do this multiple times a day until your condition improves.
- Pour some eucalyptus essential oil into your warm bath water and soak in it for a few minutes, breathing in the vapors. (7)
Note: Topical preparations containing eucalyptus essential oil should not be applied to the face of infants or young children, especially around the nose. Moreover, oral intake of eucalyptus essential oil is strictly prohibited for both adults and kids as even small doses can prove fatal. (3)
3. Removes head lice
Eucalyptus oil contains a strong-scented compound called eucalyptol, which exhibits potent insecticidal and antiseptic properties that can help eliminate head lice and nits.
This was corroborated by a 2017 study that showed that a mixture of eucalyptus oil and lemon-scented tea tree oil was quite effective in getting rid of head lice after just two applications. (8)(9)
How to use:
Combine eucalyptus oil with tea tree oil in equal proportions and then mix it in your shampoo before applying it to your hair.
4. Repels mosquitoes
As mentioned earlier, eucalyptus oil works as a natural insecticide due to the presence of eucalyptol in it. Applying it to your skin or spraying it in your vicinity can help repel mosquitoes, which are carriers of serious diseases such as malaria and dengue. (10)
How to use:
- Combine ½ cup of water with equal amounts of witch hazel.
- Mix in about 40 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
- Transfer the solution into a spray bottle and spritz it around your house or open areas to keep mosquitoes away.
Note: Eucalyptus oil can be quite toxic for kids and pets, so do not use this spray around them.
5. Maintains oral health
Eucalyptus oil exhibits strong antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and anti-inflammatory effects that can help improve oral hygiene.
You can use it as a mouthwash to curb the overgrowth of oral bacteria, which are responsible for dental plaque, cavities, foul breath, and gum infections.
Plus, it may help alleviate gum swelling and tooth sensitivity. (11)
How to use:
- Add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to a glass of lukewarm water.
- Use this solution as a mouthwash once a day.
Caution: Be careful not to swallow this mouthwash. Oral intake of even small amounts of eucalyptus oil can result in seriously toxic side effects and even death. (3)
6. Relieves headaches
The main component of eucalyptus is camphor, which acts as a brain stimulant. This means it increases the levels of certain chemicals in the brain and enhances alertness, attention, energy, and physical activity.
Eucalyptus oil is also effective in relieving headaches triggered by blocked sinuses. It works as an anti-inflammatory and mucus-clearing agent that helps open up your airways to reduce pressure on your sinuses. (12)
How to use:
- Mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water.
- Lean your face over the bowl but at a safe distance.
- Cover your head with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping.
- Inhale the steam for 5–10 minutes.
- Do these 2–3 times a day, until you feel relief.
Most-Asked Questions About Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Does eucalyptus oil disrupt sleep?
No, eucalyptus oil can actually help you sleep better. It gives off a soothing aroma that deeply relaxes your senses to make you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. This is especially useful when you are struggling with a blocked nose or wet cough, which can keep you up at night.
Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil just before bedtime will help clear the excess mucus or phlegm from your airways to restore normal breathing. It will also induce a mild sedative effect, which can help you get the good night’s sleep that you so desperately need. (13)
Does eucalyptus oil help with anxiety?
Yes, aromatherapy with eucalyptus oil can help reduce stress and anxiety due to the presence of eucalyptol in it. This aromatic compound has a relaxing effect on the mind and body.
However, bear in mind that this is only to be used as a complementary measure rather than a standalone treatment for stress disorders.
Does eucalyptus oil cause gray hair?
No, quite the opposite. Eucalyptus oil may help reduce premature graying of hair by addressing some of its underlying causes such as hair damage and scalp disorders.
Eucalyptus essential oil can be used topically or in aromatherapy to ease some common discomforts and illnesses. It provides natural healing properties and improves common ailments without the adverse side effects associated with traditional medication. (14)
This potent oil is generally considered safe for external use, but some precautions must be taken when using it such as the ones mentioned in the article.
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