Native to the Tasmanian region of Australia, the eucalyptus tree has been used by aboriginals for centuries. Its essential oil was first distilled by two Australian doctors in 1788. Today, Eucalyptus oil remains an important ingredient in a variety of healthcare items while the trees are grown throughout warmer climes for ornamental purposes. The leaves owe their medicinal benefits to the compound eucalyptol which has decongestant and antiseptic properties.
Diluted with water, eucalyptus can be used to prevent infections and help heal wounds because of its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic and antifungal qualities. Along with tea tree oil, eucalyptus can treat sunburn and candida (including athlete's foot). Add a couple drops of the oil to a glass of water to create an effective mouthwash (eucalyptol is the active ingredient in Lysterine).
|Eucalpytus is also the favorite food of koalas!|
To relieve coughs, colds and allergies, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a steam bath or hot water. Inhale the aromatic steam deeply for about ten minutes. Eucalyptus tea can help clear clogged nasal passages as well as loosen phlegm. Make the most of the tea by inhaling its vapors as it cools. You can also create your own soothing rub (like Vicks) or shower disks using eucalyptus oil.
Even when you are not sick, eucalptus has invigorating aromatherapeutic benefits. Mix into a spray bottle with water or high proof clear alcohol for an uplifting room spray. Use the same spray to disinfect surfaces after cleaning for germ-free surfaces.
Because eucalyptol increases blood flow to muscle tissue, it has been used in ointments to ease soreness. Simply mix a few drops of eucalyptus and clove in an ounce of carrier oil to create an analgesic rub. Increased blood flow also helps regulate body temperature so plain lotion enhanced with eucalyptus will be cooling in summer but warming in winter.
Are any of you already familiar with eucalyptus? How do you use it?
Balch, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Herbal Healing. New York: Avery, 2002.
Guyton, Anita. The Book of Natural Beauty. London: Stanley Paul & Co. Ltd., 1981.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1991.