Eucalyptus Oil: Benefits, Usage, Properties, and Side Effects
From cooling your body in summer to treating sunburns, and restraining insects, the eucalyptus oil benefits are phenomenal. The uplifting fragrance of the eucalyptus essential oil makes it irresistible to use.
So, let’s understand about this oil in detail here.
What is Eucalyptus Oil?
Eucalyptus essential oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of Eucalyptus Radiata through the process of steam distillation. The eucalyptus tree belongs to the Myrtaceae family and grows to a height of 100 feet.
It has rough black bark at the lower half, a smooth bark at the top, thin leaves, and numerous flowers. The tree is usually found growing along the banks of rivers, creeks, and mountain regions (1).
The principal places of production of eucalyptus essential oil include Australia, Russia, South Africa, and Tasmania.
Scientific Name of Eucalyptus Oil
The botanical name of eucalyptus is Eucalyptus radiate.
History of Eucalyptus Oil
Described as the most appropriate eucalyptus oil for aromatherapy, the essential oil obtained from Eucalyptus radiate has been used for centuries. It is native to Australia and was the world’s first commercially-used Eucalyptus species.
The tree is also called as Fourth river peppermint. Eucalyptus radiata exudes a type of white gum and hence, the name “river white gum.”
The term Eucalyptus came from the Greek language, where “eu” means “well” and “kalypto” means “I cover.”
Therefore, eucalyptus generally refers to the cap that covers the buds of the flowers until the buds mature. Once the buds are mature, they force the cap to open.
There is also an interesting study claiming that the aroma of eucalyptus essential oil helps to control the craving for chocolates.
Colour, Consistency, and Smell of Eucalyptus Oil
- The color of eucalyptus oil is colorless or pale yellow.
- The consistency of eucalyptus oil is thin.
- The smell of eucalyptus oil is fruity, woody, slightly camphorous, and sweet.
Properties Of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of eucalyptus essential oil include:
- Analgesic – Reduces pain sensation
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
- Anti-infectious – Prevents uptake of infection
- Anti-inflammatory – Alleviates inflammation
- Antimicrobial – Prevents microorganism growth
- Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation
- Antiphlogistic – Acts against inflammation and fever
- Antirheumatic – Relieves the symptoms of rheumatic conditions
- Antiseptic – Destroys microbes and prevents their development
- Antispasmodic – Prevents or relieves spasms, convulsions, or contractions
- Antitussive – Relieves coughs
- Antiviral – Prevents viral growth
- Decongestant – Reduces congestion such as mucus
- Expectorant – Promotes removal of mucus from the body
- Febrifuge – An antifebrile (anti-fever) agent
- Immunostimulant – Stimulates the action of the immune system
- Pectoral – Beneficial for diseases or conditions of the chest and respiratory system
- Spasmolytic – Helps in treating muscle spasms
- Tonic – Refreshes, invigorates, and restores the bodily functions
- Stimulant – Enhances the overall body function
- Vulnerary – Heals sores and wounds
Chemical Compounds in Eucalyptus Oil
The chemical composition of eucalyptus oil varies with season, extraction method, and the area of production.
The compounds found in the oil extracted from Eucalyptus radiata include 1,8-Cineole (60.4–64.5%), a-Terpineol (0–15.2%), (Z)-Piperitol (0.9–14.9%), (þ)-Limonene (5.4–6.3%), Piperitone (0.4–4.7%), Geraniol (0.2–2.8%), a-Pinene (2.0%), b-Caryophyllene (0.1–1.6%), Terpinen-4-ol (0–1.5%), and b-Myrcene (1.1%) (2, 3).
Note that the content “1,8-cineole” primarily determines the action of Eucalyptus essential oil.
Health Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil
Though the eucalyptus oil benefits are enormous, the most prominent ones include:
- Soothes bronchitis symptoms
- Combats candida infection
- Remedy for sinus infection
- Cures rheumatism
- Reduces abdominal cramps
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Gets rid of headaches
- Eliminates mental exhaustion
- Treats nail infections
- Heals insect bites
1. Soothes bronchitis symptoms
Inflammation in the lining of bronchial tubes – the ones that carry air to & from your lungs is termed as bronchitis. It may be acute or chronic. The causes vary from viral or bacterial infection to smoking tobacco and air pollution.
The symptoms differ in each stage. Wheezing, persistent cough, headache, and fever are the most common symptoms during the acute phase. In the chronic stage, bronchi inflame, swell and become narrow. There is an overproduction of mucus in case of bronchitis.
Just inhaling the aroma of eucalyptus essential oil during the night would help a lot. You can dilute the oil and rub it around your rib cage. You can also rub it all over the front torso.
Rest is crucial at this time. Always try to keep yourself warm and avoid smoke.
All types of eucalyptus oil can be used to treat bronchitis. You can also make a blend using 1 drop each of eucalyptus oil, thyme oil, ginger oil, frankincense oil, and ravensara oil. Take this mixture and dilute it with a carrier oil before using it on the skin (6).
2. Combats candida infection
You have been introduced to Candida when you were born. It resides in a healthy human being, and it is significant too. However, when it overgrows, it is called an infection.
The severity depends on the region it grows. Initially, it is not a big issue, but when left untreated, it may be fatal.
The candida infection always has an underlying cause. It usually includes diseases that compromise the human immune system. Studies have found that the topical application of eucalyptus & peppermint oil had significant inhibition of the Candida species (7).
All you have to do is blend 10 drops of peppermint oil with 5 drops of eucalyptus oil. Take 4 drops from the mixture and dilute it using 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply the infected region twice a day and massage it in a clockwise motion. Always keep that area away from moisture.
3. Remedy for sinus infection
All of us have 14 to 16 sinus cavities filled with mucus. However, the little mucus helps filter the air we breathe and prevents us from infections. Inflammation in the sinus is called sinusitis.
Inflammation causes excessive mucus secretion. It, in turn, leads to sinus congestion. Sinusitis causes cough, nausea, sore throat, headache, and diarrhea.
You can use eucalyptus oil in two ways to relieve sinus congestion:
- Steam inhalation
Steam Inhalation: Blend 2 drops of eucalyptus oil with 3 drops of rosemary oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil. Take 3 drops of the combination and add it in a bowl of boiling water.
Inhale the steam through the nose. KEEP THE EYES TIGHTLY CLOSED DURING STEAM INHALATION.
Massage: Blend 5 drops of rosemary oil with 2 drops of geranium oil, 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, and 1 drop of peppermint oil. Take 3 to 5 drops of the mixture and dilute it with 2 tablespoons of suitable carrier oil.
Massage around the neck, front, and back of the ears, cheekbone, nose, and forehead. Be cautious about the eye region.
4. Cures rheumatism
Eucalyptus oil is a household name for healing knee and joint pains. The easy availability of the oil makes it the most sorted remedy for alleviating arthritic pain. Many scientific studies claim that eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy for rheumatism.
Eucalyptus oil is one of the best ways to heal knee and joint pains. Since it is easily available, it makes the most-sorted remedy for alleviating arthritic pain.
Many scientific studies claim that eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy for rheumatism.
Rheumatism is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and pain in joints. It is a chronic disease that restricts activity and reduces the quality of life.
Studies have found that the 1,8-cineole content in eucalyptus oil reduces inflammation and pain. The oil exhibits both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (11).
Dilute 4 – 5 drops of eucalyptus oil in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and massage it on the joints twice a day.
5. Reduces abdominal cramps
Abdominal pain and cramps may occur due to various reasons. The most common ones are constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, intolerance, and stomach flu.
For any minor uneasiness in the abdomen, a gentle massage using eucalyptus oil provides instant relief.
For this, make a blend using 2 drops of thyme oil, 3 drops of eucalyptus oil, and 3 drops of cardamom oil. From the mixture, take 3 drops, and dilute it with a tablespoon of coconut oil or castor oil.
Massage the abdomen in a clockwise motion and take proper rest.
6. Eases menstrual cramps
Unhealthy lifestyle, improper nutrition, and stress have made menstruation a more painful phenomenon. But little did you know that a gentle massage using eucalyptus essential oil helps in relieving the pain immediately.
It gives you hormonal homeostasis. It can also be used to alleviate pain during premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
All you need is pure eucalyptus oil and suitable carrier oil. Dilute 4 – 5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil like jojoba oil or castor oil. Massage your abdomen and back in the clockwise direction to get instant relief. Then, take proper rest.
7. Gets rid of headaches
Headaches arise from a variety of causes. Scientific research has found that the combination of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil alleviates headaches.
The oil inhibits serotonin and muscle contraction, giving a relaxing effect. It is also believed that the blend of peppermint and eucalyptus oil increases cognitive performance, relaxes the muscles, and calms your mind.
Blend 10 drops of peppermint oil with 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Take 4 drops from the mixture and dilute it with 2 tablespoons of warm coconut oil. Massage it on your head and take a good rest. (16, 17)
8. Eliminates mental exhaustion
Stress and competition are common in today’s hectic lifestyle. But relaxation is crucial. However, it is easier said than done. We are working with many factors that cause physical and mental exhaustion.
Desire & economic needs make people stretch their work potential, making them grumpy and aggravates even a small problem.
From insomnia to high blood pressure, mental exhaustion may manifest serious issues. But eucalyptus can do a great deed. (18)
Just inhaling its aroma or a gentle massage helps the body to relax and sleep better so that your energy is reserved. It relieves any pain in the body and makes you feel energized.
9. Treats nail infections
Your nail tells a lot about your health. Traditional medical systems in India and China always had the practice to look at your hair and nails to figure out what is wrong with your body.
The analysis includes seeing whether the nail is fragile, deformed, flat, too soft, or too hard. Doctors also examine the color of the nail.
Fungal nail infection is also common, and it begins like a white or yellow spot. It is treatable but can come back. It causes nail deformation and thickening. (19)
Eucalyptus essential oil helps you to maintain healthy nails and treat general nail infections. Blend 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of Eucalyptus oil. Take 3 or 4 drops from the mix and dilute it in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage the nail bed and regions around the nail 3 times a day for better results.
10. Heals insect bites
Blend 5 drops tea tree oil with 5 drops of eucalyptus oil. Take 3 drops from the mixture and dilute it with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply it on the insect bite.
Eucalyptus oil is an excellent mosquito repellent. Dilute 3 drops of oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply it on your neck, writs, ankle, and other exposed areas of your body to repel mosquito from biting.
What Blends with Eucalyptus Oil?
Eucalyptus oil blends the best with:
- Basil oil
- Black pepper oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Chamomile German oil
- Chamomile Roman oil
- Elemi oil
- Peppermint oil
- Fragonia oil
- Geranium oil
- Grapefruit oil
- Immortelle oil
- Juniper Berry oil
- Lavender oil
- Lemon oil
- Manuka oil
- Niaouli oil
- Pine oil
- Ravensara oil
- Ravintsara oil
- Rosemary oil
- Tangerine oil
- Tea tree oil
- Thyme oil
How To Use Eucalyptus Oil?
The easy availability of the eucalyptus oil makes it cheaper, and it is generally not adulterated. When used appropriately, eucalyptus oil would serve its benefits.
- Topical Application: Like any other essential oil, it is necessary to dilute the eucalyptus oil before applying it. Higher dilution is recommended, as the oil may sometime irritate dry or sensitive skin. Researchers suggest that eucalyptus oil should not be used more than 20%. We strongly recommend you to perform a patch test before using it.
- Aromatherapy: Diffuse the oil using a vaporizer or a diffuser for aromatherapy benefits.
- Ingestion: Eucalyptus oil is strictly not recommended for oral intake. Scientists claim that there are many instances of eucalyptus oil poisoning when ingested, and it may even be fatal.
Side Effects of Eucalyptus Oil
- High 1,8-cineole content of eucalyptus essential oil may cause CNS and breathing problems in young children. Avoid exposure to infants and children under ten years of age.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using eucalyptus oil.
- Eucalyptus oil is found to be reactive with certain drugs and medications. Do not use the oil with homeopathic remedies.