This month's aromatherapy post is about eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is very commonly known and used, and you may already be aware of some of its health benefits. Eucalyptus is native to Australia and has been used by the native Aborigines for generations to treat fevers and skin irritations. It is also known for being the primary food for koala bears.
Being a very strong oil, it is best to dilute it in a carrier oil or water before applying to your skin. It is best to avoid use of the oil for pregnant women or children under the age of 2. Small amounts found in food or medications such as lozenges is fine, but skin coming into contact with the oil should be avoided. It is generally safe to diffuse or inhale the scent of eucalyptus. Let's look at a few of the more interesting health benefits of eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus is one of my preferred oils for aiding in respiratory health. Diffusing or inhaling the aroma can help clear out stuffiness and congestion from conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, or a cold or flu. In addition to helping you breathe better, eucalyptus can help to get rid of a cough and sore throat. Because of it's antibacterial and antiseptic properties, eucalyptus can help to clear bacteria and infection from your airways when inhaled. For extreme stuffiness, I like to put some boiling water in a bowl with different combinations of oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lavender, and lemon. I place my face over the bowl and put a towel over my head while inhaling deeply. I have had pretty good success in clearing out congestion this way.
Because of its anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties, eucalyptus is effective as a wound cleaner. It can be used to clean and aid in healing of cuts and scrapes, rashes, insect bites, and any other area of open skin that needs to be cleaned. You can apply the oil directly to your skin if you aren't sensitive to it, or you can dilute it in a carrier oil.l
Eucalyptus is also effective as an analgesic, meaning that it can help to ease pain. Try diluting the oil and applying it to areas of muscle soreness or pain.
Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus can help to clear up outbreaks of Shingles. Since it also works as an analgesic, it can also help to relieve some of the pain associated with Shingles as well.
Because it is so good at getting rid of bacteria and infection, eucalyptus is also great for dental health. It has been known to help clear up cavities, gingivitis, and plaque.
Eucalyptus is a great means of supporting hair and scalp health. Not only will it make your hair shinier, it also stimulates the follicles, which can help your hair to grow. It can help to ease dandruff, and clean out any bacteria or fungus in your scalp. It can help to treat itchy scalp and mild psoriasis, as well as get rid of head lice. To reap the benefits eucalyptus can have on your hair and scalp, try mixing some eucalyptus in with your shampoo at about a 1:10 ratio of oil to shampoo.
Because it is a vasodilator, eucalyptus has been shown to improve blood flow in people with diabetes. It can be mixed in with a moisturizing lotion and applied to the skin.
Having grown up in Arizona, I understand just how hot summers can get. Depending on where you live and what your tolerance for heat is, you may find yourself desperate to cool off. Like peppermint, eucalyptus has a cooling effect. Try putting a few drops of peppermint oil and a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle filled with water, and spraying yourself with it periodically to provide relief from the heat.
What is your favorite way to use eucalyptus? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments!
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.