We are familiar with eucalyptus today as an ingredient in many over-the-counter cough and cold products that help relieve congestion. Eucalyptus acts as an expectorant (helps loosen phlegm). Eucalyptus oil is also used in creams and ointments to relieve muscle and joint pain. In aromatherapy, eucalyptus essential oil can help increase performance.
It is also ideal for applying to abrasions, cuts, and sores; it makes an effective, soothing salve for insect bites and stings, also. Scientists found eucalyptus protects an open wound or irritated skin from developing infections.
There are more than 700 species of eucalyptus in the world, and most are native to Australia. Eucalyptus varies in size from an ornamental shrub to a giant tree, growing as high as 230 feet. The tree’s bark is a distinct blue-gray color while the inner bark is a cream-color. The dark green, shiny leaves vary from 4- to 12-inches in length and are dark green and shiny. Eucalyptus essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and stem. It takes a little over 50 pounds of eucalyptus plant material to yield one pound of the essential oil.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil History
The volatile eucalyptus oil is analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature. The oil was first used in traditional Aboriginal medicines to heal wounds and fungal infections. Eucalyptus soon found its way into Chinese, Greek, and European medicines.
Eucalyptus oil was first distilled in 1788. During the 19th century, hospitals in England used eucalyptus oil to clean urinary catheters. Laboratory studies later found eucalyptus oil contains substances that kill bacteria. It also may kill some viruses and fungi.
Eucalyptus oil was in high demand during World War I as an antiseptic to kill germs. The oil was also used during the 1918 Flu Pandemic (1918-1920) which wiped out an estimated three to five percent of the world’s population, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Today
Besides acting as an expectorant, eucalyptus oil creates a cooling and refreshing effect on the skin. Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly used to stimulate mental activity and increase blood flow to the brain because it relaxes blood vessels, allowing more blood circulation.
Massaging eucalyptus oil on the surface of the skin at the site of joint or muscle aches can help relieve the pain. Studies show Eucalyptus essential oil is also useful in helping reduce tension. In small amounts, in mouth rinses, eucalyptus helps promote oral health and freshen breath.
The oil is also good for cleaning surfaces as well as the air. Today, eucalyptus oil is an industrial solvent, an antiseptic, and deodorizer. It also has insect repellent properties; it is even an active ingredient in some commercial mosquito repellents.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Uses
The main chemical components of Eucalyptus essential oil are Eucalyptus Radiata are Eucalyptol and Alpha-terpineol, making it an ideal oil to promote feelings of clear breathing and open airways and for creating a soothing massage experience. Eucalyptus also has purifying properties that can be beneficial for the skin.
Some common uses today of Eucalyptus Essential Oil are:
- Combine with a drop of Lemon and a drop of Peppermint in a spray bottle and use it to wipe down surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Add one drop to your favorite moisturizer before applying to the skin for revitalizing benefits.
- While in the shower, put a few drops of the oil in your hands; place your hands over your nose, and inhale deeply to invigorate and promote vitality.
- Helps to clear the mind.
- Can help promote feelings of relaxation.
- Promotes clear breathing.
Directions for Use
You can diffuse Eucalyptus essential oil or apply it to your skin.
- Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of your choice.
- Topically: Apply one to two drops to the desired area. You may want to dilute with Fractionated Coconut Oil or other natural oil to minimize any skin sensitivity.
As with all essential oils, please be aware of possible skin sensitivity. Keep Eucalyptus essential oil out of the reach of children. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician before using Eucalyptus oil.