The eucalyptus’ name originated from the Greek word ‘eu’ meaning “well” and ‘kalyptos’ which means “cover”. This was originally derived from its “well-covered” bud caps that blooms and eventually falls off when it matures. Over the years, however, as the plant became more reputable for its medicinal benefits, the meaning of its name expanded to mean that eucalyptus Essential Oil “covers well” a myriad of common diseases.
The essential oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of a eucalyptus tree. They are dried, crushed and then distilled to extract the sweet, camphorous and potent essential oil. Native to Australia, the tree comprises around 90% of the forest of the country. There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus. It’s most known species, Eucalyptus globulus, is often referred to as blue gum, fever tree, or gum tree. Australian settlers gave it the name “fever tree” because of its fever-fighting property. It is the tallest of the species and can grow to up to 60 feet high.
To date, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil is widely used for its medicinal and industrial purposes. In its industrial applications, it is used in disinfectants, air fresheners, deodorizers and even in the mining industry to separate metallic sulfides from ores. And because of its various therapeutic characteristics, which we will be detailing below, it is also a common ingredient in makeups, perfumes, liniments, mouthwashes, soaps, deodorants, inhalant, lozenges and antiseptics.
- Brief History
- Benefits and Uses
- Great For Maintaining Skin Health
- Hair Care
- Muscle and Nerve Pain Relief
- Dental Hygiene
- Treatment for Respiratory Ailments
- Mood Lifter and Stress Relief
- Treat Fever
- Repels Mosquitoes
- Home Uses
Brief History of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus was popular among aboriginal communities in Australia, where for hundreds of years the leaves from tall eucalyptus trees were used as a remedy for infections and common respiratory illnesses like sore throat, cough, colds, breathing difficulties and congestion.
The first known, documented distillation of the eucalyptus is in 1788 by Doctors John White and Dennis Cossiden. They used the Eucalyptus Essential Oil to treat chest problems and colic. However, it wasn’t ‘til the mid-1800s that the eucalyptus began gaining its popularity all over the world. Thanks to the German botanist and explorer, Baron Ferdinand von Miller. He claimed that the eucalyptus might prove to have antiseptic properties. He likened it to the Cajaput oil, a known disinfectant during the era. Von Miller then suggested the use of the oil as a disinfectant in fever-stricken districts.
In the late 1850s, when the commercial production of eucalyptus oil began in Victoria, Australia, the oil was converted to gas and was used to light up the town, be it houses or hotels or shops. Not only was this amazing, it was also a great alternative to using coal.
In the nineteenth century, European hospitals began using the oil as an antiseptic and disinfectant for medical and surgical equipments. In fact, it was briefly referred to as “catheter oil.” Later in that same century, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil was regarded as a “cure all.”
Fun Fact: Did you know that Koalas feed exclusively on Eucalyptus?
There’s no question of the diversity of uses this ancient oil has. As of now, 75% of all the eucalyptus oil produced comes from China, while the remaining 25% comes from a combination of countries including Australia, Portugal, Spain, Chile, Swaziland, South Africa and Brazil. Since then, the United States has also started to produce fine varieties of eucalyptus oil. Here is our own favorite bottle .
Benefits and Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There's an array of benefits in using the Eucalyptus Essential Oil. Let us give you a rundown of some of the many ways that eucalyptus oil can benefit you and your body:
1. Great For Maintaining Skin Health
Eucalyptus oil is a great cleansing and purifying agent. Mix it with bath salts and not only will your skin feel much fresher, the oil will also help clean away all the day’s dirt while fighting existing skin infections. Because of its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, it also makes a great organic treatment to wounds, insect bites, acne and other minor skin problems.
Eucalyptol, a prominent oxide that is one of the main chemical components of the Eucalyptus Essential Oil, gives it its great cleansing property. When applied topically, it helps rejuvenate and invigorate the skin as well.
2. Hair Care
The oil is reputed to help promote a healthy scalp. The active ingredients found in the oil stimulates the blood vessels in the scalp causing it to constrict. This increases the blood flow to the hair follicles and thus encourages healthy hair development. As a natural insect repellent, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil is also popular as treatment for headlice.
So, if you are suffering from an irritable scalp, hair loss and even head lice, try massaging Eucalyptus Essential Oil diluted in coconut oil on your hair and scalp. It does not only help strengthen and moisturize your hair, it also aids in keeping your scalp healthy.
We’ve already mentioned earlier how the indigenous people of Australia used eucalyptus oil in helping wounds recover. This antiseptic characteristic of the oil is attributed to 1,8-cineole or eucalyptol, a chemical that works great for treating cuts, burns, abrasions, scrapes, and blisters.
There’s a popular myth about an English settler in Australia who severely wounded his thumb with an axe. His father, someone who had knowledge of aboriginal remedies, suggested to stitch up the thumb and wrap it up with eucalyptus leaves. This was a popular remedy within the aboriginal communities, known as “kino.” And its surprising efficacy became a word of mouth story back in the day, which led to increased interest from Victorian pharmacists and eventually to the commercial manufacturing for Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
In a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the eucalyptus oil and its major chemical component, 1,8-cineole, is said to have antimicrobial effects to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), viruses, and fungi. In a different study, the oil is recognized to have aerial antimicrobial effects. Consequently, the oil can be used as a non-toxic, all-natural disinfecting spray as it helps remove bacteria, viruses and molds in affected areas. And with its insect-repelling and deodorizing property, you’re not only keeping your space germ-free, you’re saying goodbye to insects and musty smells as well! That’s hitting three birds with one stone!
4. Muscle and Nerve Pain Relief
Eucalyptus Essential Oil boasts analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antineuralgic properties as well. Its pain relieving effects makes it especially helpful in soothing strained and aching muscles as well as neuralgia or pain extending in a nerve or group of nerves. Therefore, it is a highly recommended alternative treatment to rheumatism, sprains, stiff or strained muscles, lumbago, fibrosis and nerve pain.
The oil is also an effective vasodilator. It helps improve blood circulation by widening the blood vessel, thereby encouraging a freer flow of blood to the muscles.
Eucalyptus oils are perfect for providing your muscles the relief they need. Tired from a long day at work or sore from surfing? Eucalyptus Essential Oil makes an amazing massage oil. It’s not only a great muscle pain reliever, its refreshing and distinct aroma can also help improve mental clarity and mood. All you need to do is mix the oil with some coconut oil and massage it onto your body. If that’s not enough relaxing for you, then, you could add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into your bath along with some whole milk.
5. Dental Hygiene
Bad breath? Don’t worry, there’s a solution, and it’s called eucalyptus. Because of its minty and camphorous taste, eucalyptus has been actively used as an essential ingredient in many dental hygiene products like toothpastes and mouthwashes. The dental use of the Eucalyptus Essential Oil, however, is not limited to the cooling and minty fresh breath it leaves upon using. It also helps treat mouth sores and gum disorders and prevent cavities and dental plaques.
6. Treatment for Respiratory Ailments
Clogged sinuses, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest area and a whooping cough with nothing coming up: these are annoying tell-tale signs of a respiratory ailment. Diseases affecting the respiratory system is one of the most common reasons for clinic visits and hospital admissions. Although there are plenty of over-the-counter medications available for such diseases, proven home remedies and organic alternatives are still the better option. Yes, while popping a nyquil seems like the best and quickest option, natural remedies must always remain an option and much preferably, the first choice.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil is most popular for its ability to treat a wide range of respiratory diseases such as cough, colds, asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis. It’s been historically used to cure the aforementioned respiratory problems. In the Indian Pharmacopoeia, the eucalyptus is listed as an expectorant.
The eucalyptol and tannins found in the oil is highly reputed for its mucolytic, bronchodilating and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties enable the oil to reduce mucous membrane inflammation in the upper respiratory system and loosen phlegm, thereby reducing the exacerbation of the associated signs and symptoms of COPD, common cough and colds, asthma, sinusitis and other respiratory problems.
Eucalyptus cough drops help promote the production of saliva. This aids in swallowing and subsequently, lessens cough impulses. As mentioned, the oil has significant bronchodilating effects. When inhaled, its vapor opens the sinuses and breathing passages, thereby helping to foster an easier and deeper breathing.
Furthermore, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil’s antimicrobial effects also makes it a great remedy for respiratory infections. In fact, it has been known to aid in the treatment of tuberculosis by alleviating its symptoms and by helping fight off the infection, reducing inflammation and clearing the lungs.
7. Mood Lifter and Stress Relief
We all have one of those days where we’re feeling down and the world is grey. When you need a little spirit boost or a mood uplifter, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil is an excellent go-to.
Feeling mentally and physically sluggish? Emotionally and mentally drained and exhausted? Or just feeling down in general? Eucalyptus Essential Oil is your friend. The oil is an effective stimulant. It’s cooling and refreshing effect goes beyond being just a great shampoo. Because of its general cephalic properties, the Eucalyptus Essential Oil is also potent treatment for stress and mental disorders. The aroma of the eucalyptus oil, when inhaled, is rejuvenating and reenergizing.
Have you ever felt sleepy after a big meal? You know, food coma? That is because when we have a heavy meal, the blood flow in our body is concentrated in the gastronomic area to aid in faster digestion. The point is, when the blood flow to the brain is sluggish, you feel sluggish as well. Therefore, a healthy blood circulation is important in keeping your brain active. The use of Eucalyptus Essential Oil is known to help improve mental clarity and alertness. This is because the oil is, as mentioned, a vasodilator. When inhaled, the vapors of the diffused oil is absorbed in the blood through the mucous membranes. Once absorbed, the components of the oil that are responsible for its vasodilating effect then acts to help increase the blood flow all over the body including the brain.
A vermifuge is any drug or agent that is used to expel parasites in the intestine. Eucalyptus Essential Oil is a known vermifuge. It is classified as “Generally Regarded as Safe” to ingest by the American Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). However, it is imperative to consult a doctor or a professional aromatherapist first prior to using it. The oil should never be taken undiluted, but ingesting a small amount of the oil dissuades the growth of bacteria and parasites in the body especially in the colon and intestines.
9. Treat Fever
The eucalyptus tree wasn’t called the “fever tree” for no reason. Eucalyptus Essential Oil has been known to help treat fever since centuries ago. Fevers are often a symptom of an infection. It is not a disease in itself. The antibacterial property of the Eucalyptus Essential Oil, along with its cooling effect, makes it an effective febrifuge. Adding the oil to warm water when giving a febrile person a sponge bath is a great way of harboring its benefit. Applying the diluted oil topically is actually a faster way of absorbing it into the blood.
Now, don’t be quick to assume that eucalyptus is only beneficial to your body internally. Here’s another rundown of its other known uses:
Taking care of your body is imperative. Not just physically but holistically. Sometimes, you need to get away from all the hectic offerings that life brings and just chill out. In such cases, aromatherapy is a great way to keep you in high spirits.
Eucalyptus oil is perfect to set a positive tone for your surroundings; you can diffuse the oil into the air using an aroma lamp or diffuser, apply it topically or inhale it straight from the bottle. The fragrance released from the oil brings with it multiple benefits. It will clear your mind, help you relax, and increase your concentration while also keeping you active and stress-free.
11. Repels Mosquitoes
If you want to maintain a relaxing environment around you, mood-boosting fragrances just don’t cut it when you have insects flying around the room. But there’s nothing to worry about. The smell of eucalyptus oil makes it a natural and potent mosquito repellant, keeping all those nasty bugs at bay while you inhale happiness.
There are two ways you can use the eucalyptus oil. You can mix the oil with skin cream and apply it on yourself, or you can use it via a vaporizer to spray it around the mosquito-infested area. In a few moments after application, you’ll notice the mosquitoes escaping to save their lives.
This is what makes such essential oils special: their multiple uses. This definitely makes eucalyptus oil something worth investing in for your personal health and home use.
12. Home Uses
The advantage of essential oils such as eucalyptus are that they are not only an effective alternative treatment to a variety of health problems but they also have tons of home applications. Apart from repelling mosquitoes and making your house smell great, it can also help you with day-to-day house tasks.
Got dirty carpets? Mix some eucalyptus oil with baking soda and apply it over its surface. It will not only clean up all the dirt and germs, it’ll also take away any remaining bad odors and give your carpet that “brand new” feel.
Got a smelly trash can? Drop a little bit of eucalyptus oil in there and let the bad odors disappear! If it’s your bathroom that’s got the bad smell, soak up a cotton ball with eucalyptus oil and place it around your bathroom and the let the oil’s fresh fragrance fill up the room.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Precautions
The use of Eucalyptus Essential Oil in more than the prescribed amount can be toxic. The recommended dosage of the oil varies. Age and health condition are primary factors in identifying the recommended dose. It is crucial to consult a doctor first prior to starting any therapeutic regimen, including natural alternative medicine. Certain people may have allergic reactions to the oil. Thus, a skin test is always recommended before using the oil.
Infants, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women are not to be treated with the oil. People with problems in the gastronomic area such as stomach and intestinal inflammations, liver diseases and digestive problems are also heavily discouraged to take the oil.
The oil should never be used undiluted, whether topically or internally, as it can be toxic and may cause serious health problems. When applying on skin, it should be diluted with carrier oils such as almond oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and coconut oil. It should not be used too close around the eyes.
The ratio in diluting the oil should be 1-5% eucalyptus oil and 95% carrier oil. This approximately equals 5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Recipes
Here are some interesting Eucalyptus essential recipes that you can make on your own at home.
Did you know you could also make green tea with eucalyptus oil that’s great for treating a cold?
It’s fairly easy to make. All you need to do is add a green tea bag in a cup of hot water, add dried eucalyptus leaves, add five drops of the oil, and let it steep for 3 minutes. You can add sugar or honey for a sweeter taste. The tea is a sweet way to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the oil.
Who doesn’t love DIYs? It’s fun to do and self-fulfilling. Create your own, personal massage oil using this recipe.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: 5-8 drops
Jojoba Oil: 1 tbsp
Moringa Oil: 2 tsp
Mix all the ingredients in a small glass bottle. Shake well until the oils are thoroughly mixed. Moringa is a great carrier oil for massage oils as it also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
This easy-peasy eucalyptus shampoo recipe is sure to keep your hair moisturized, clean and free from head lice and dandruff.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: 10 drops
Lavender Essential Oil: 10 drops
Argan Carrier Oil or Olive Carrier Oil: 1 tsp
Coconut Milk: ¼ cup
Liquid Castile Soap: ¼ cup
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Transfer to a glass jar with an airtight lid or a used, empty shampoo container. Store in a cool, dry place. Use as often as needed.
Keep your home’s countertops, sinks, tub and other surfaces clean and germ-free with this easy-to-make antibacterial cleaning spray. It smells amazing too!
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: 10 drops
Peppermint Essential Oil: 10 drops
Citronella Essential Oil: 10 drops
White Vinegar: ¼ cup
Water: 2 cups
Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray on desired surfaces. Use when needed and store in a dry place. Keep out of children’s reach.
Eucalyptus oil blends well with a variety of essential oils including Spearmint Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil and Lemongrass Essential Oil!
The uses of the Eucalyptus Essential Oil is limitless. It’s a very versatile and multi-faceted oil with various therapeutic, practical and industrial applications. The Australian Aborigines were not wrong in believing in the benefits of this oil.
Usually, when looking for solutions to health problems, we depend on over-the-counter and prescription medicines or remedies. But there is a better choice: going natural. Although there’s no doubting the fact that modern medicine has saved thousands of lives, traditional medicinal practices have also been proven and tested for ages—not in pharmaceutical laboratories, but in the real world by real people. Natural solutions are usually always better than their artificial counterparts as they are less likely to induce side effects.
Given all the benefits it has, Eucalyptus Essential Oil is definitely a must-have in our own homes!
At Aroma Foundry, we utilize our in-depth knowledge of everything about essential oils to source and create the best essential oils. Check out our shop and find inspiration in making your personal favorite blends.
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- “The History of Eucalyptus Essential Oil and its Benefits" Regal Earth, http://regalearth.com/blog/the-history-of-eucalyptus-essential-oil-and-its-benefits/.
- “History of Bosisto's Eucalyptus Oil” FGB, https://www.fgb.com.au/content/history-bosistos-eucalyptus-oil
- “23 Amazing Benefits Of Eucalyptus Oil For Skin, Hair & Health” Style Craze, http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-eucalyptus-oil-for-skin-hair-health.
- “Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions” Sustainable Baby Steps, http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/eucalyptus-oil-uses.html.