Eucalyptus oil is a product of the eucalyptus tree, which has been deemed as one of the most useful trees in the world. Historically, it has used for shade, hardwoods, medicine, paper, and even fuel. It is native to Australia and regarded as a general ‘cure-all’ by its native people, the Aborigines.
Eucalyptus essential oil was first distilled in 1788, when Doctors White and Cossiden used its oil in treating problems of the chest. The first scientific studies about of the antiseptic and bacterial properties of the oil were published in Germany, where it was prescribed for all respiratory system conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and the flu. During World War I, Eucalyptus oil was in huge demand as it was used to control a meningitis outbreak and for the influenza of 1919.
Eucalyptus oil has an unusually wide array of medical properties. The oil is analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-catarrhal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-viral, diuretic, expectorant, insect repellant, and a stimulant.
Eucalyptus's broad range of properties make it applicable to a long list of health problems, including:
- respiratory illnesses, including asthma and bronchitis
- muscular aches and pains (especially those of a "cold" nature such as rheumatic pains)
- breathing difficulties of all types
- parasitic infections
- general toxicity
- emotional stress and anxiety
- depression and lethargy
- hypoglycemia and diabetes
- acne and other skin infections/sores
There are a variety of different ways to apply Eucalyptus oil to receive its benefits. These include massage, compress, bath, and skin care as well as direct inhalation, diffusing, and vaporizing.
Although Eucalyptus is considered generally safe for aromatherapy, it is not recommended for infants. When used externally, Eucalyptus is both non-toxic and non-irritating and can be an extremely useful and versatile addition to a natural first aid kit.
Here are four ways you can use Eucalyptus essential oil at home this winter:
1. For cold, flu, coughs, etc. put a few drops on the soles of both feet before bed. This is especially helpful prior to getting sick, when beginning to feel slight symptoms.
2. To ease fever discomfort, make a cold compress and apply to the forehead and/or back of the neck. To make the compress just add a few drops of oil to cold water in a bowl. Use a wash cloth or towel and soak in solution, wring out and apply to area.
3. For coughs, mix 20 drops into 1/3 cup of olive (or another carrier oil like sesame or coconut) and massage into the chest.
4. To prevent catching the flu during flu season, diffuse eucalyptus essential oil every day. You can also add a few drops to your house heater’s filter every week, or, when vacuuming, put a few drops on the vacuum bag or filter.
Higley, Connie and Alan. Reference Guide for Essential Oils, p 68.
Taulbee, Pattie. "The Best Essential Oil for Colds and Flus: Eucalyptus!" www.plantlifeworld.com.
"Eucalyptus Essential Oil," http://www.anandaapothecary.com.