Eucalyptus Essential Oil: History, Health Benefits and More
Ah, the fresh and minty smell we all know and love. Found in ointments, balms, teas, and air fresheners, chances are you recognize the powerful scent of eucalyptus. Extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, this essential oil is well-known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
As a natural healer for the immune and respiratory system, eucalyptus is one of the top essential oils for sore throats, cough and seasonal allergies. If you take a look at your cold medicine, you’ll probably see eucalyptus as one of the main ingredients.
The History of Eucalyptus
This essential oil has been around for thousands of years, offering a wide variety of medicinal and practical uses.
Native to Australia, eucalyptus trees are part of the plant family Myrtaceae. There are more than 500 species. The oil extraction process involves drying, crushing and distilling the leaves. Once the oil is extracted, it is diluted so it’s safe to use.
While the leaves are used for essential oils, the wood from the eucalyptus tree is used for fuel and making paper.
Eucalyptol makes up approximately 80% percent of eucalyptus oil, which is responsible for the fighting bacteria, viral infections, reducing inflammation and relieving pain. As a result, eucalyptus is considered one of the most powerful healers among essential oils – a must-have in your medicine cabinet.
5 Eucalyptus Essential Oil Benefits
- Relieves cough and cold symptoms
With anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, eucalyptus is an effective cold remedy.
When inhaled, eucalyptus acts as a decongestant alleviating cough and cold symptoms.
Eucalyptus oil is particularly beneficial for a cough because it’s an expectorant. In other words, it detoxifies your body, fighting off the harmful organisms making you sick. It also helps you breathe easier when you’re feeling congested.
In one study of patients with bronchitis, researchers found cineole – one of the primary compounds in eucalyptus oil – significantly improved symptoms after just four days of treatment.
- Improves respiratory conditions
Helping to protect your immune system and improve circulation, this essential oil can help treat many respiratory conditions. Eucalyptus activates the cold receptors in your nose, which makes breathing easier when you’re experiencing congestion. It not only reduces mucus but helps to loosen it, so you can cough it up.
Research shows the effectiveness of eucalyptus paired with other essential oils in healing upper respiratory tract infections. The group who used the essential oil blend had improved symptoms in all three areas - sore throat, hoarseness and cough.
- Provides pain relief
Acting as a counterirritant, this essential oil helps relieve pain. “Eucalyptamint, produced significant physiologic responses that may be beneficial for pain relief and/or useful to athletes as a passive form of warm-up,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Studies show eucalyptus oil can reduce inflammation and ease pain in back, muscle and joint injuries. For this reason, it’s a popular ingredient in over-the-counter ointments that treat arthritis.
- Reduces headaches
With the ability to lower the pain and tension of sinus pressure, eucalyptus is a popular remedy for headaches. Its healing power is amplified when paired with peppermint.
This essential oil can block mucus formation in the airways, which not only improves breathing for those with respiratory issues, but also minimizes headache tension from sinus pressure.
- Protects your body against infection
Research confirms the antimicrobial properties of eucalyptol, proven to fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Eucalyptus can be inhaled of applied topically to experience the benefits. It’s immune-boosting effects make it an effective treatment for staph infections and E.coli.
And here’s a fun fact: eucalyptus is considered one of the safest essential oils.
“There is a long history of folk usage with a good safety record,” researchers write. “More recently, the biochemical details behind these effects have been clarified. Although other plant oils may be more microbiologically active, the safety of moderate doses of EO and its broad-spectrum antimicrobial action make it an attractive alternative to pharmaceuticals.”
An increasing number of people are turning to holistic therapies like essential oils to promote well-being. And it’s no wonder eucalyptus is so popular. Look at its long list of uses and benefits!