18 Top Health Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Scott Johnson (AMP, CEEOS, CCMA, CPC)

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The powerful health benefits of eucalyptus oil include treating colds and flu, hair care, relieving muscle pain, and preventing cavities. It also aids in boosting immunity and healing fungal infections as well as wounds. Eucalyptus essential oil has potent properties, which include being an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and stimulant.

What is Eucalyptus Essential Oil?

Eucalyptus essential oil is obtained from fresh leaves of the tall, evergreen eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus, or less common). The essential oil is colorless and has a distinctive taste and odor. The potent medicinal benefits of eucalyptus oil are due to a compound called eucalyptol (also known as 1,8-cineole), which has antimicrobial properties. The oil is used in a variety of over-the-counter drugs including rubs, inhalers, liniments, rash creams, and mouthwashes.

Eucalyptus is native to Australia and has spread in the past few centuries to other parts of the world including China, India, Europe, and South Africa. It is also known as fever tree, Tasmanian blue gum tree or stringy bark tree, depending on where it is located in the world. Though many countries produce eucalyptus oil in small quantities, the prime source of eucalyptus oil for the world is still Australia.

The numerous health benefits of eucalyptus oil have attracted the attention of the entire world, and it has stimulated a great deal of exploration into its usage in aromatherapy as well as in conventional medicine.

Watch Video: 8 Powerful Benefits Of Eucalyptus Oil

Health Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil

Let’s look at the most popular health benefits and uses of eucalyptus oil in detail.

Treats Colds & Flu

Eucalyptus essential oil is effective for treating a number of respiratory tract infections including cold, cough, running nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, bronchitis, and sinusitis. According to a research study published in Current Microbiology, it has the ability to inhibit bacteria such as S. pneumonia, H. influenza, and parainfluenza that cause sinus infections, fever, and flu. Eucalyptus oil is an expectorant and helps decongest sinuses.

To treat colds, you can add a few drops of the oil to hot water and inhale the steam, or add it to your diffuser. Alternatively, rub a little oil on the pillow to ensure a good night’s sleep if you are troubled with congestion and wet cough.

Hair Lice Treatment

A 2017 study conducted by an Australian pharmaceutical company concluded that the efficacy, safety, and ease of using eucalyptus oil solution make it a productive alternative in the treatment of head lice. That is due to its well-known qualities as an insect repellent and natural pesticide, eucalyptus oil is frequently used as a natural treatment for lice. Apply a few drops of the oil mixed with carrier oils on lice-infested hair to get rid of lice.

Note: Eucalyptus essential oil is usually not recommended for children below the age of 3; it’s best to consult a doctor before using it therapeutically for children.

Hair Care

A 2012 report published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease revealed that eucalyptus essential oil has potent antiseptic and anti-fungal properties which help remove the build-up of germs in hair follicles. This helps prevent conditions like dandruff, itchy scalp, and psoriasis.

For best results, you can blend a few drops of the herbal oil with a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil to moisturize and heal the scalp. Also, the oil acts as a stimulant and increases blood flow, when a few drops are directly applied to the scalp. This also helps boost hair growth.

Anti-inflammatory Effects against Asthma

The anti-inflammatory properties of cineole in eucalyptus essential oil help relieve asthmatic symptoms. Simply massage 1-3 drops of the oil (diluted in a carrier oil) onto the chest and the soothing effect of the aroma and vapors will calm the throat and dilate the blood vessels, which will allow more oxygen into the lungs and thus, help restore normal breathing.

Eucalyptus leaves with 3 bottles of eucalyptus oil

Heals Wounds

When eucalyptus essential oil is exposed to air, an ozone layer is formed that makes the oil a potent antiseptic. Therefore, it is used to heal wounds, ulcers, burns, cuts, abrasions, and cold sores. It is also an effective salve for insect bites and stings. Furthermore, it protects the open wound or irritated area from developing infections due to microbial activity and exposure to air. In 2017, Turkish researchers reported at the 9th Annual European Pharma Congress that eucalyptus essential oil exhibited significant wound healing activities in all of the models studied. The extract also reportedly accelerates the wound repair at all the phases of the healing, according to a 2002 study.

Removes Mental Exhaustion

Eucalyptus oil, a stimulant, helps remove exhaustion and mental sluggishness and rejuvenates people who are feeling under the weather or are sick. It can also be effective in providing relief from stress and mental disorders as inhaling its vapor help increase blood circulation to the brain.

Improves Brain Function

Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly used to stimulate mental activity and alertness. Since the essential oil is considered a vasodilator, it increases the blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels and allowing more blood to circulate. Basically, more blood to the brain means more brain power.

Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly employed in classrooms as a form of causal aromatherapy to increase student performances.

Relieves Muscle Pain

The volatile eucalyptus oil is analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature. The oil does so by influencing both the central and peripheral nervous system response to noxious stimuli according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. If you are experiencing muscle pain or soreness, massaging oil on affected areas in a circular motion helps relieve stress and pain.

Relieves Joint Pain

Eucalyptus oil is often recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism, lumbago, sprained ligaments and tendons, stiff muscles, aches, fibrosis, and even nerve pain. It is a stimulant and helps increase blood circulation, providing pain relief. A research study showed that inhaling its vapor reduced pain, swelling, and inflammation in patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery.

Dental Care

Eucalyptus essential oil is very effective against cavities, dental plaque, gingivitis, bad breath (halitosis), and other dental infections owing to its germicidal properties. This is why it is so commonly found as an active ingredient in mouthwash, toothpaste, and other dental hygiene products.

Removes Intestinal Germs

Eucalyptus oil is a vermifuge and is frequently used to remove intestinal germs. Studies have shown that ingesting eucalyptus oil can deter many of the bacterial, microbial, and parasitic conditions that arise in the various parts of the body, particularly in susceptible areas like the colon and intestine.

Reduces Fever

Eucalyptus oil is also used for giving relief from fever, and is often referred to as “fever oil”. You can add a few drops of the herbal oil to a warm water compress and place it on the forehead frequently to reduce body temperature during high fever.

Health benefits of eucalyptus essential oil - infographic

Heals Sinus & Allergies

Eucalyptus oil is has proven helpful when added to hot water for steam inhalation. This has helped clear nasal and sinus congestion. This essential oil is reportedly said to function in a way quite similar to that of menthol as it acts on receptors in the nasal mucous membranes, resulting in the lessening of symptoms of nasal stuffiness. According to a report by Michigan University, eucalyptus oil must be used internally only under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as just 3.5 ml of the oil taken internally has also proven fatal.

Antibacterial Properties

Eucalyptus essential oil has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities and may help give relief from symptoms of various respiratory conditions. A 2017 animal study suggests that it may have the potential to aid in relieving symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, more scientific evidence and studies are required.

When massaged onto the chest and used as a vapor rub or inhalant, it can relieve the signs and symptoms of harmful conditions by clearing the lungs and reducing inflammation. It is best if applied to both, the chest and the back with a carrier oil.

Immune system

Eucalyptus oil, rich in 1,8-cineole, is a good choice to strengthen the immune system. Apart from its ability to keep colds and flu at bay, it can be used to treat hay fever (seasonal allergy), acne, and endometriosis.

Skin Care & Cleanser

Eucalyptus oil is often applied topically to treat skin infections as its main compound, 1,8-cineole has antibacterial properties. The oil helps speed up healing and treat acne, eczema, sun spots, blemishes, aging, and pimples. Furthermore, it can be combined with olive or coconut oil to form a natural sunscreen and moisturizer.

Treats Fungal Infections

Due to its natural antifungal properties, eucalyptus oil can be used to treat fungal-infected toenails (onychomycosis), jock itch, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, and cold sores. To treat fungal infections in the toenails, it is best to soak your feet in warm water which has a few drops of eucalyptus oil and tea tree essential oil (another antifungal oil).

Other Benefits

It is also known to help heal shingles, kidney stones, and earaches, although sufficient research is still awaited to validate the claims.

Uses

Apart from that, the uses of eucalyptus oil include the following:

Room Freshener

The antiseptic and deodorant nature of eucalyptus oil makes it a perfect room freshener for hospitals. It acts as an odor remover and helps keep the environment of the rooms clean and sterilized.

Soap

Eucalyptus oil is frequently used in soaps and detergents due to its pleasant aroma and medicinal properties.

Household Cleaner

Eucalyptus oil can be used as a handy household cleaner for cleaning kitchen surfaces, bathroom countertops, and sinks. Mix 1 cup water, ½ cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a clean spray bottle.

Stain Remover

You can add the herbal oil to warm water and soak grease-stained clothes for a few hours, before washing it to get rid of the stains.

Hand Cleaner

If you are working with grease, paints, or tar, you can use the herbal oil to clean your hands. Blend the oil with sea salt and wash your hands with this mixture.

Aromatherapy & Diffuser

Many people add eucalyptus oil to baths, spas, and saunas because of its refreshing and antiseptic attributes. Therefore, it is commonly used in aromatherapy and added in diffusers, which is frequently included in spa treatment packages.

Blending: Eucalyptus oil blends well with many other essential oils including the essential oils of thyme, rosemary, marjoram, myrtle, peppermint, lavender, cedarwood, and frankincense.

Eucalyptus Oil Cautions

Eucalyptus oil, when taken in more quantities than prescribed, can be toxic. The side effects include:

Before using essential oil, it is advisable to consult your doctor or have an allergy test done. Also, usage of the herbal oil may interfere with other homeopathic treatments.

About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve is a health and wellness enthusiast and started working on Organic Facts since 2012 and is currently responsible for managing it. She follows naturopathy and believes in healing with foods. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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