What is Eucalyptus Essential Oil?
Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the best known and used oils that exists. It is obtained by steam distillation from young branches and fresh or partially dried leaves of Eucaliptus Globulus, native to Australia and belonging to the Mirtaceae family.
Australian aborigines have used it to heal wounds, eliminate fungal infections, relieve muscle pain, as an effective fever reducer and also as an expectorant.
The eucalyptus essential oil has a viscous texture and its color is pale yellow, almost colorless, which may turn greenish over time. It has a well defined, penetrating and intense aroma, refreshing camphorated, woody-balsamic and with a sweet and herbaceous note.
Also called the “gum tree,” eucalyptus is an evergreen, and its leaves are broad, whitish-green, and waxy.
Nowadays, China produces about 75% of the world trade, but most of this is derived from the cineole fractions of camphor laurel rather than being true eucalyptus oil. Significant producers of true eucalyptus oil include South Africa, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Chile, and Swaziland.
This versatile and economical oil blends well with the following essential oils: lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, peppermint, lemon, cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, marjoram, pine, thyme, orange, oregano, tea tree, basil, bergamot and citronella essential oils.
History and Myth about Eucalyptus Essential Oil
“Eu” and “kalypto” have Greek origin, and mean “well” and “covered”, by reference to their stamens.
Eucalyptus tree has been propagated in the five continents, through forest plantations that seek to take advantage of its wood. This is how it occupies large swaths of our world territory.
The information of its medicinal properties and its constituents can be found in the literature of almost all continents.
In the 19th century, the German botanist and explorer Ferdinand Von Müller pointed out that the fragrant emanations of leaves, probably served as an antiseptic.
The first Essential Oil of Eucalyptus (from Eucalyptus piperita) exported to England, was named “Sydney Mint”. The Australian aborigines called it “Kino” and wrapped it, healing the wounds, and severe ulcerations with their leaves.
Later, it was introduced in Europe as an ornamental plant, approximately in 1788, and it was discovered that it inhibited the growth of other surrounding plants, since it diffuses through the ground, a toxic substance.
At present, eucalyptus derivatives are used in the pharmaceutical, food and perfume and cosmetics industries.
On the other hand, eucalyptus wood has technical qualities that make it very required in the pulp industry, as well as its wood is widely used in the production of furnitures.
Active Principles of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oils are comprised of more than 100 different compounds. However, the main constituent of the therapeutic grade eucalyptus oils is 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), which must comprise at least 70% of the contents.
Other important constituents that we can find in eucalyptus oil are:
- a (alpha) – pinene
- b (beta) – pinene
- a (alpha) – phellandrene
- d (delta) – limonene
Properties of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
As we mentioned before, the essential oil of eucalyptus is one of the most used worldwide. When you see the following listing of its many properties, you will not have any doubt about why it is so famous.
The eucalyptus oil is:
- Litholithic (dissolves kidney stones)
- Energy cleaner
Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Repellent and biopesticide
Cineole-based eucalyptus oil is used as an insect repellent and biopesticide. In the U.S., eucalyptus oil was first registered in 1948 as an insecticide and miticide.
Cineole-based eucalyptus oil is used as a flavoring at low levels (0.002%) in various products, including baked goods, confectionery, meat products and beverages.
Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial activity against a broad range of food-borne human pathogens and food spoilage microorganisms.
Non-cineole peppermint gum, strawberry gum and lemon ironbark are also used as flavoring.
Eucalyptus oil is also used as a fragrance component to impart a fresh and clean aroma in soaps, detergents, lotions, and perfumes.
It is known for its pungent, intoxicating scent. Due to its cleansing properties, Eucalyptus oil is found in mouthwashes to freshen breath.
At the physical level, eucalyptus essential oil is very useful for:
- Relieve Articular and rheumatic pain.
- Antidote for insect bites.
- Diminish cellulite .
- Prevent and combat cold and flu.
- Eliminate phlegm and mucus accumulated in the respiratory tract.
- Reduce fever.
- Repel insects.
- Reduce blood sugar levels.
- Remove germs.
- Neutralize unpleasant odors.
- Relieve asthma symptoms.
- Improve skin diseases.
- Remove fungi.
- Fight infections by bacteria.
- Eliminate mites.
- Decrease accumulated tension in the musculature.
- Stimulate the nervous system.
- Fight dandruff, oily hair and eliminate lice.
- Accelerate healing.
- Eliminate intestinal worms.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Increase cellular respiration.
- Regulate excessive activity of cutaneous glands.
- Accelerate healing of different kinds of herpes.
- Relieve congestion and irritation of the skin.
- Disinfect wounds, abscesses, burns, ulcers, eczema, psoriasis, etc.
- Reduce headaches and migraines.
- Stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation.
- Treat gastrointestinal and genitourinary infections.
- Dissolve gallstones.
As for our emotional side, eucalyptus oil can help us:
- Invigorate the mind, enhancing concentration and increasing intellectual capacity.
- Restore balance during periods of emotional overload, increasing energy and counteracting the psychic and emotional weakness.
- Appease the state of agitated mood characteristic of anger.
- Overcoming indolence and laziness.
- Grant us lucidity and security in ourselves.
- Raise our vibrational frequency, especially after troubled moments or after having bad times.
Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The benefits of eucalyptus oil are due to its ability to stimulate immunity, provide antioxidant protection and improve respiratory circulation.
It is a natural antiseptic of the respiratory tract; relaxes and dilates the muscles of the trachea, bronchi and lungs, loosening and expelling mucus, reducing inflammation, relieving cough, lowering fever and can also prevent attacks of bronchial asthma. Additionally, it fights bacterial and viral infections that cause cold, flu, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, etc.
Originally referred to as “eucalyptol” by the scientific community, the health benefits of eucalyptus oil come from a chemical substance known as 1,8-cineole, an organic compound that has been shown to contain amazing medicinal effects, including from its analgesic and anti-inflammatory action, to its ability to kill leukemia cells.
Currently, more than 1,200 scientific research studies have been conducted in reference to 1,8-cineole, and the results are simply incredible.
Although eucalyptus has higher cineole levels than any other plant, and consequently, the same as its essential oil (up to 80-95%), scientists have discovered that other species also have significant levels of it, which include the following essential oils:
Some Studies and Investigations with Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Some of the most exciting research with eucalyptus oil that are carried out today, show that it can help to prevent bacterial infections resistant to drugs, such as tuberculosis (TB).
As more strains of TB continue to evolve against traditionally used drugs, this becomes a major public health problem, especially in regions such as Africa, which are being heavily affected by HIV/AIDS.
A study published in the Journal of Natural Products, aimed to evaluate how the essential oil of eucalyptus citriodora acts in contrast to the inhalation drug for tuberculosis against drug-resistant bacteria (MDR / XDR-TB).
In addition to discovering 32 active anti-TB compounds in Eucalyptus citriodora oil, the way in which multiple components interact with each other was also observed, and it was discovered that certain combinations, literally inhibited tuberculosis in the air by over 90%.
Bronchopulmonary Diseases and Asthma
Other studies that evaluated the benefits of eucalyptus oil inhalation, showed equally surprising results, due to its powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
A researcher at the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany, published an article in the journal Drug Research, in which he explains that cineole commonly found in eucalyptus essential oil, is an effective long-term therapy to help control COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), its symptoms, and to improve asthma.
In a separate research, steroid-dependent asthma patients were studied to determine the potential for steroid reduction when treated with an oral preparation of eucalyptus oil. After randomization, patients’ daily steroid doses were reduced by 2.5 mg every three weeks.
At the end of 12 weeks, 36% of the patients on the active eucalyptus-oil therapy tolerated an average of 3.5 mg/day reduction in oral steroid use while only 7% of the placebo-treated patients were able to decrease their daily dose with an average reduction of 0.91 mg/day.
Other study, examining the use of eucalyptus oil in asthmatic patients explored the extract’s effect on nitric oxide in respiratory cells.
Previous studies have shown an increase in exhaled nitric oxide in cases of eosinophilic inflammation and other indices of asthma-related inflammation. If eucalyptus oil is found to mitigate inflammation in such patients, this could lead to significant nonsteroidal treatment options for asthma.
This trial showed that the extract was highly effective at inhibiting the induction of nitric oxide and the concomitant pro-inflammatory effects, further suggesting that eucalyptus extract may be a clinically viable option for asthmatic patients.
One study examined the effect of eucalyptus oil on human monocytes, specifically its ability to stimulate protective macrophage activity. The substance was also studied for its effect on the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Eucalyptus oil significantly induced macrophage activation and reduced the release of inflammatory cytokines.
There is significant evidence showing that certain cytokines/chemokines are involved in not only the initiation but also the persistence of pathologic pain by directly activating nociceptive sensory neurons.
Certain inflammatory cytokines are also involved in nerve-injury/inflammation-induced central sensitization, and are related to the development of contralateral hyperalgesia/allodynia.
The actual mechanism of action in eucalyptus oil is still unclear. Generally, eucalyptus oil is thought to be anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. There is some evidence that it can be used as an anti-fungal agent as well.
Eucalyptus oil has also been studied for its potential as an antimicrobial.
A study of 56 respiratory isolates from 200 symptomatic patients showed definite antimicrobial activity with eucalyptus oil. Isolates included Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae.
With the rise in antimicrobial resistance, a potential new method for treating these infections is welcome news.
As you can see, the uses and benefits of eucalyptus oil are incredible. Its benefits, even include lowering high blood pressure. French researchers tested the ability of eucalyptus oil to relax the pressure in rat aortas, and found it very effective.
Home Remedies with Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Here are some suggestions for you to start using eucalyptus essential oil in the comfort of your home:
To relieve colds, flu, bronchitis, asthma, cough, and throat infections, use 5 to 7 drops in a vaporizer or diffuser and enjoy relaxing while you inhale.
You can also perform a steam inhalation, over a casserole filled with freshly boiled water by adding 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
Rheumatism, arthritis and muscle pain
To stimulate circulation, dilute 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, 5 drops of cypress essential oil and 5 drops of helichrysum oil in 30ml of carrier oil, and apply with circular motions in the affected area.
Repel mosquitoes and soothe bites
If used in a wardrobe, apply the eucalyptus oil on cotton balls and put them in the corners.
Migraines and headaches
Add 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and 3 drops of peppermint essential oil in a tablespoon of olive oil, and apply the mixture by the hairline around the head. Cover with a wet handkerchief, just as you would with a headband.
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For concentration and meditation
To improve concentration, inhale directly from the bottle a couple of times when required.
To Remove Dandruff
Clean the air from bacteria and microbes
In a 250 ml spray bottle, mix 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil with water. Shake well before spraying.
For chickenpox and herpes
Use 2-3 drops on a cotton swab and apply on the affected areas. Its properties, also alleviate the pain associated with these ailments.
To clean and disinfect the garbage cans
After cleaning the bucket, add a few drops of essential oil on a paper towel or rag, and place it on the lid or bottom to kill germs and eliminate unpleasant odors.
Safety and Interactions when using Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus oil is unsafe when taken by mouth or applied directly to the skin without being diluted. Fatal allergic reactions have occurred with ingestion of eucalyptus products.
- Even though eucalyptus use in asthma and bronchitis has been shown to be beneficial, bronchospasm can result with inhalation.
- Eucalyptus oil is not recommended for use in pregnant, nursing women or in infants.
- If using a topical formulation for the first time, a patch test is recommended. This involves applying the extract to the upper arm. If no rash occurs after 24 hours, it is typically safe to proceed.
- Keep out of reach of children.
- Do not use for long periods of time.
- As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes.
- Clinicians considering the use of diluted oral eucalyptus should proceed with caution. There is little data regarding drug interactions.
Diabetes: Early research suggests eucalyptus leaf might lower blood sugar. There is concern that using eucalyptus while taking medications for diabetes might lower blood sugar too much. Blood sugar levels should be monitored closely.
Surgery: Since eucalyptus might affect blood sugar levels, there is concern that it might make blood sugar control difficult during and after surgery. Stop using eucalyptus at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Homeopathy: Avoid while using homeopathic treatments.
Other: Do not use in case of suffering from hypertension or epilepsy diseases.
Where to buy Eucalyptus Essential Oil?
Normally, good quality oils, can be found in specialized natural herb stores. If you can not reach a trusted naturist or herbalist shop near you, here are some recommendations:
Scent Characteristics: Fresh, medicinal, and woody aroma. Shop here.
Our 100% Pure Essential Oils are extracted from the root, bark, wood, seed, fruit, leaf, or flower of a freshly harvested plant.
We source only the finest quality essential oils from highly regarded suppliers and distillers from around the world, many with whom we’ve worked with for decades.
Scent Characteristics: Fresh, slightly sweet, strong lemon scent. Shop here.
Many of our oils are steam-distilled or cold-pressed, therefore retaining the essential odor, aroma, taste, medicinal, and therapeutic properties of the plant, resulting in a superior quality, and highly concentrated essence.
Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:
- Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
- Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
- Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.