The best health benefits of eucalyptus include its ability to boost respiratory health, strengthen the immune system, protect skin health, ease stress and anxiety, lower blood sugar, eliminate inflammation, and fight against bacterial infections.
What is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus actually refers to a large genus of flowering trees that has over 700 different species, most of which are located in Australia and New Zealand, although some of the more widespread species can be found throughout Southeast Asia as well. Most of its species range from the size of a small shrub to a medium-sized flowering tree, but all species have leaves that are covered in oil glands, from which the majority of the health benefits are derived.
Due to the diverse uses of eucalyptus, it has been naturalized in various other tropical and temperate regions throughout the world but is also a major export of the Pacific region. Strangely enough, it appears that it used to be native to South America, although it is no longer endemic to that region. This beneficial plant has been used for thousands of years by indigenous populations.
Health Benefits of Eucalyptus
Let’s take a closer look at the various health benefits of eucalyptus in detail:
Improves Respiratory Health
Eucalyptus leaves and oil have been used for generations as a cure-all for respiratory issues, particularly in removing catarrh from the respiratory tracts. The active ingredients present in these leaves act as expectorants, helping to remove excess phlegm and mucus from the sinuses and respiratory tracts, eliminating the natural environment for bacteria and other pathogens to multiply and spread. In terms of the symptoms of bronchitis, common cold, and flu, eucalyptus leaves and extracts are often recommended for people looking for herbal or natural remedies for these common conditions.
The powerful effects of eucalyptus tea are widely studied, and aside from its direct impact on the respiratory system, it is recommended to protect the body from a wide variety of bacterial infections. Some of them include E. coli and candida albicans, the latter of which can cause yeast infections. If your immune system is compromised by another illness or as the result of an injury or fatigue, this tea can act as a natural booster for your immunity.
Reduces Anxiety & Stress
The natural sedative and soothing effects of eucalyptus can be employed for many reasons, but its tea is specifically recommended for those suffering from chronic stress. Stress hormones in the body can wreak havoc on your metabolism and general health. And a well-brewed cup of eucalyptus tea can help in reducing those potentially dangerous stress hormones and easing mental tension.
The natural antibacterial properties of eucalyptus make it ideal for protecting skin health as well. Rubbing its leaves on the skin can work as a quick fix, but drinking its tea or utilizing its oil on irritated or infected skin works much faster and more effectively. However, it is important to note that the oil is extremely strong and can be toxic if consumed in its undiluted form. Always use carrier oils and avoid consumption when using this oil on the skin.
Although the exact chemical pathway is unknown, research has shown that brewing eucalyptus leaves into tea can be a preventative measure or an effective treatment for diabetes. Whether you have already developed the condition or are actively establishing a lifestyle to prevent the onset of diabetes, drinking 1-2 cups of eucalyptus tea each day can be a great strategy. It is recommended to speak with your doctor before utilizing it in this way, as the blood sugar-lowering ability of the tea can be dangerous, depending on what type of diabetes you have or are at risk for.
Eucalyptus is a natural anti-inflammatory substance, so consuming its tea can do everything from easing aches and pains to protecting the heart. Eucalyptus tea is often recommended for people who suffer from asthma, as well as arthritis and chronic muscle strain. If you suffer a mild injury, drink this tea and watch the pain fade away. By reducing inflammation in the blood vessels and arteries, it can also protect heart health and prevent the onset of atherosclerosis, thereby protecting you from heart attacks and strokes.
Uses of Eucalyptus
This tree has many uses, ranging from a preparation of oil and tea that have many benefits.
- Eucalyptus Oil: It is certainly the most beneficial product from the eucalyptus tree, but the bark and leaves themselves are also highly prized by certain cultures.
- Eucalyptus Leaves: The tea brewed from its leaves is very popular for curing a range of medical conditions. These leaves themselves are important sources of food for certain animal species in Australia and New Zealand, koalas being their most well-known consumers.
- Source of Wood and Paper: This fast-growing genus of the plant makes it valuable as a source of wood and paper.
It is also considered an invasive species in certain areas, as the trees are hardy and can quickly overtake native populations of slower-growing plants.
Word of Caution: As mentioned above, eucalyptus oil is extremely potent and is actually poisonous in its undiluted form, particularly for young children. Always consult a medical professional before adding it in any form to your diet in a substantial way, and monitor your body’s reactions. The powerful effects of eucalyptus can be intense and are not recommended for everyone.