Native to Australia and existing in more than 400 different species, the Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree that provides the most famous eucalyptus oil. This essential oil has a long history of extensive applications and has been widely used in the medical, cosmetic, industrial, and perfumery fields. It serves many functions such as a natural herbal remedy, an antiseptic, analgesic, insect repellent, and an aromatic disinfectant. This oil is extracted from the dried leaves of the eucalyptus tree and has a fresh and woody aroma. Traditional Indian and Chinese medicine use Eucalyptus as an effective remedy for treating various medical conditions.
Composition of Eucalyptus essentail oil
The therapeutic effects of eucalyptus oil can be attributed to the presence of hundreds of different compounds that have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and a long list of other medicinal qualities. The major constituents of eucalyptus oil include Eucalyptol (antibacterial, respiratory anti-inflammatory, expectorant, cough suppressant, and nasal decongestant), pinene (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory), limonene (antibacterial, solvent for removing oil and grease), terpineol (strongly anti-bacterial), cymene (antibacterial with a strong aroma), Terpinen-4-ol (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory), Cuminal Aldehyde (strongly anti-bacterial), Globulol (anti-bacterial), Eudesmol (mildly anti-bacterial) and Aromadendrene (anti-bacterial and anti-fungal). These compounds and their effects work together to produce a greater healing and medicinal effect.
Eucalyptus oil benefits
Eucalyptus oil has been found to have antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, deodorant, decongestant, and many other medicinal properties, as a result of which it offers a wide range of health benefits. Given below is a list of some of the many health benefits of eucalyptus:
Eucalyptus oil for respiratory problems
Eucalyptus oil supports the respiratory system and hence is used to treat a number of respiratory ailments like cold, asthma etc. One of the main components of this oil known as Eucalyptol is an active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough drops. Eucalyptus oil has the ability to loosen mucus, making it a natural and effective remedy for treating bronchitis, coughs, nasal congestion, sore throat, and sinus blockage. Gargling with warm water that contains eucalyptus oil is helpful in relieving sore throat. The potent antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory qualities of eucalyptus, makes it an effective element in several medicines that are used for the treatment of respiratory problems.
According to a study published in the in 2004 issue of Laryngoscope, eucalyptus oil is beneficial in treating non-bacterial sinusitis. The study found that when patients suffering from non-bacterial sinusitis were given medicine containing eucalyptus oil, they showed a faster rate of improvement. Eucalyptus oil has been found to be effective in treating asthma. Massaging a few drops of this oil onto the chest helps in soothing the throat and in dilating the blood vessels, this in turn allows more oxygen to flow into the lungs. Moreover, eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties that provide further relief from the symptoms of asthma.
[Read more about home remedies for common cold]
Eucalyptus oil for healing wounds
The essential oil obtained from eucalyptus has been found to have antiseptic qualities. The oil releases ozone gas on exposure to air, which is an effective antibacterial agent. This property makes eucalyptus oil beneficial for healing wounds, cuts, burns, ulcers, and sores. Eucalyptus oil can also provide relief from insect bites and stings. Eucalyptus not only soothes the affected area, but its anti-microbial qualities also prevent the occurrence of infections on the wounds or irritated area.
Eucalyptus oil relieves muscle pain
Those who suffer from joint pain and muscle pain should consider applying and massaging eucalyptus oil on the affected area to get relief from the pain or stress. The volatile oil has strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and hence is often recommended by doctors for treating conditions such as rheumatism, stiff muscles, body aches, lumbago, sprained ligaments and tendons, poor circulation and nerve pain. For obtaining relief from body pain, combine eight drops of eucalyptus oil with two ounces of jojoba oil or almond oil, and massage the affected area thoroughly. This not only helps in soothing the pain but can also promote faster healing of wounds. Another method is to add ten drops of eucalyptus oil to a hot bath, which helps in promoting proper blood circulation and easing the muscles and joints.
[Read more about home remedies for joint pain]
Eucalyptus oil and skin benefits
Eucalyptus oil has been found to be beneficial for the skin. It is mainly used for first aid purposes owing to its medicinal and healing properties. This oil is effective in the treatment of cuts, wounds, bruises and blisters. It also helps in healing insect bites and skin irritation. The powerful antiseptic properties of eucalyptus are helpful in healing skin conditions like acne and pimples. Topical application of diluted eucalyptus oil on the skin, helps in drying up pus filled pimples and blemishes. The antibacterial properties of eucalyptus oil also help in preventing acne outbreaks. If eucalyptus oil is applied on acne breakouts, it helps in reducing the inflammation and pain associated with the acne. In order to treat acne, mix together one drop of eucalyptus oil and three drops of water. With the help of a cotton swab apply this solution on to the affected area.
Eucalyptus oil for hair
Everybody wishes to have beautiful and healthy hair. Eucalyptus oil offers several benefits to the hair such as strengthening the hair follicles, preventing scalp infections and improving the overall health of the hair. Massaging a small amount of eucalyptus oil on the scalp stimulates the scalp and the hair follicles, thus promoting the growth of stronger and healthier hair. It also imparts thickness and shine to the hair. The antifungal properties of this oil prevent the occurrence of dandruff and other types of infections. It is also effective in getting rid of head lice and their eggs.
Mix few drops of eucalyptus oil with coconut oil or olive oil or other carrier oil and massage to scalp get strong and healthier hair. Few drops of oil can also be mixed with regular shampoo. It can help relieve itchy scalp.
[Read more about 50 natural ways to treat dandruff]
Eucalyptus oil is a mental stimulant
Eucalyptus oil offers a refreshing and cooling effect and hence is used as a mental stimulant. It is used for treating stress and many kinds of mental problems. It helps in rejuvenating and refreshing the mind and eliminating mental sluggishness and tiredness. Eucalyptus oil helps in increasing blood circulation to the brain and in improving the functioning of the nervous system. The stimulating effect of this oil on the nervous system is very beneficial for people suffering from stress and depression.
Eucalyptus oil for dental hygiene
According to a study published in the Journal of periodontology, eucalyptus oil is highly beneficial for your oral health. It has germicidal properties and hence is very effective against dental problems such as cavities, plaque buildup, gingivitis and dental infections. It has a very sweet and refreshing aroma and hence can be found in many toothpastes and mouthwashes. Eucalyptus contains an antiseptic known as cineole that destroys the bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. It also helps in maintaining the overall health on the teeth and gums. Today it is because of these benefits, eucalyptus oil finds its use in dental products like sealant and solvent used in root canal filings.
[Read about home remedies for bad breath]
Eucalyptus oil is an insect repellant
The powerful scent of eucalyptus oil is helpful in repelling various kinds of insects. By applying it on your skin or by using it in a vaporizer, you can get rid of insects like flies and mosquitoes. Eucalyptus oil is frequently used for treating lice without damaging hair. Few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with coconut oil may be applied to lice infested scalp.
Eucalyptus oil as vermifuge
This oil has been traditionally used to get rid of parasites in body. Ingesting eucalyptus oil in small quantity may help get rid of parasites in colon and intestine. However caution should be exercised as ingesting eucalyptus oil has side effects.
Eucalyptus oil during fever
Traditionally Eucalyptus oil is referred as ‘fever oil’ and rubbing to body may help treat body fever. Eucalyptus oil along with peppermint oil offers a cooling effect to skin which is believed to treat fever.
Eucalyptus oil stimulates the immune system
Eucalyptus oil is one of the best oils that support the health and functioning of the immune system. A study issued in BMC Immunology states that eucalyptus oil has the ability to strengthen the response of the macrophages (the cells that destroy the disease causing foreign invaders) as well as stimulate the cells inside the body to develop an intrinsic protective mechanism of their own.
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Eucalyptus and diabetes
Eucalyptus has been long used in the treatment of diabetes and studies reveal that it can help in lowering high blood glucose levels in patients suffering from diabetes. The anti-hyperglycemic action of eucalyptus is also linked with the stimulation of insulin secretion and improvement in metabolism and the uptake of muscle glucose. According to a 2010 study issued in “Folia Morphologica”, the administration of eucalyptus helped in improving the condition of the diabetics. This suggests that use of eucalyptus could be very beneficial in the treatment for diabetes.
Eucalyptus oil as pain killer
Eucalyptus oil has analgesic effect and helps relieve pain. In case of abdominal pain in children or during menstruation, few drops of this oil can be massaged. It provides instant relief. In case of ear pain, few drops can be massaged over ear. Its cooling effect on skin relieves pain and reduces inflammation. Next time if you are having headache, just apply few drops on your forehead.
Aromatherapy with Eucalyptus
Often found in cosmetic and spa products, it offers benefits of Aromatherapy. Unique camphorous aroma of Eucalyptus oil has calming effect. This also makes it good candidate for use in deodorant and room freshener. One may add eucalyptus oil to baths, spas and saunas.
Other uses of Eucalyptus
In addition to its health benefits, Eucalyptus has other uses too. It is used in making soaps and medicines. It is a common ingredient found in toothpastes, mouthwash and detergents. Eucalyptus oil can be added to spas, saunas, and baths to disinfect as well as get a refreshing feeling. It can be used to remove stains from skin and clothes. The insect repellent property of eucalyptus makes it good for pet care, to get rid of fleas and ticks from the skin of pets. The antiseptic and deodorant qualities of eucalyptus oil make it a great room freshener for homes and hospitals. It also helps to keep the room clean and sanitized by killing the disease causing bacteria and germs in the air. Few drop of Eucalyptus oil added to heena/ mehendi helps it get darker shade.
Side effects of Eucalyptus oil
Ingestion of Eucalyptus oil should be avoided. Eucalyptus oil poisoning may be fatal. It may cause side effects like stomach ache, stomach ulcers, dizziness, nausea and others. Applying large amount of undiluted oil to skin should also be avoided.
The multitude of health benefits offered by eucalyptus has definitely grabbed the attention of researchers all over the world, which has encouraged a great deal of studies that focus on its application in the field of medicine and aromatherapy. Because of its various medicinal properties, eucalyptus oil is used as an ingredient in many over the counter drugs. Eucalyptus oil is a must have remedy in your medicine chest as just a few drops of it can help in alleviating a wide range of ailments.Image Credits: WORTS + CUNNING APOTHECARY