Ever wondered what eucalyptus oil is used for? Once you realize how versatile it is, we think you'll love it just as much as we do.
History of Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus trees are now grown throughout the world, but it’s native to Australia. Legend has it that its roots - which store large amounts of water - were important reservoirs for the Aborigines who chewed on them during the dry months.
Around the 1700s, people started making eucalyptus tea. Once people realized it was effective at alleviating fever, its health benefits spread to other countries as the famous "Australian fever tea."
With the many advancements in natural medicine, the benefits of eucalyptus have been further explored. We now know it’s helpful for more than just fever.
Eucalyptus Oil Benefits
The medical community reportedly discovered eucalyptus oil in the 1780s. In those days, it was primarily used to treat colic chest pains.
Toward the end of the 1800s, breakthroughs led to the realization that eucalyptus oil can help reduce the production of mucus.
Since then, it’s been one of the most popular natural remedies for respiratory symptoms.
One of the more convincing studies supporting this was published in a pediatric journal in 2012. Researchers were evaluating the effectiveness of one popular product - vapor rub - in the treatment of coughing at night, airway congestion, and related issues with sleeping.
Results showed that it improved respiratory symptoms as soon as the second night.
This is an interesting study to note because vapor rub is made largely of eucalyptus oil.
It's been studied for many other things, but the benefits of eucalyptus oil can be summarized as:
Eucalyptus Oil Uses
While its list of uses is long, we're going to focus on the most common applications, which include skin irritation, joint pain, and more.
Eucalyptus Oil for Skin
Eucalyptus is a very effective skin remedy, especially when diluted. It’s often applied in an effort to relieve inflammation and to manage skin ulcers.
It is also a potent insect repellent.
Still, care should be taken when applying eucalyptus oil to your skin. Always dilute it properly - don’t use it straight.
A good rule to follow is to add about 12 drops of the oil to every fluid ounce of carrier oil. Our favorite carrier oils include avocado and coconut oil.
Eucalyptus Oil for Acne
We all know what acne is. It usually presents as whiteheads, pimples, or blackheads. While it commonly occurs on the face, it can also be found on the chest, shoulder, and upper back.
Eucalyptus oil works on acne by causing the pimples to burst. The oil then causes the burst areas of the skin to dry safely.
It sounds a little brutal, but it’s really not. The built-in soothing effects of eucalyptus oil prevents pain, further irritation, and even infection - thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
Eucalyptus Oil for Hair
Eucalyptus oil is great at relieving an itchy scalp. And since nearly half of the adult population suffers from dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, that’s a welcome bonus for many.
Eucalyptus oil has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can manage dandruff infections, while its anti-inflammatory effects are beneficial for seborrheic dermatitis.
There are even signs that indicate it can stimulate hair growth.
This benefit is more indirect in nature. To explain, a 2010 study suggests that the anti-inflammatory benefits of eucalyptus oil create a scalp environment that’s ideal for the growth of healthier, thicker, and fuller hair.
Eucalyptus Oil for Joint Pain
Joint pain is usually a consequence of inflammation, occurring alongside things like swelling, redness, and impaired movement.
This is where the anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus oil come in handy yet again.
Topically applied (diluted) eucalyptus oil can help alleviate aches and pains naturally. You may also enjoy gentle relief through inhaling eucalyptus oil vapor - like in a diffuser.
Research indicates that once inside the bloodstream, eucalyptus oil may inhibit inflammatory cytokines that are responsible for pain.
Different Ways to Use Eucalyptus Oil
There are 2 primary ways to use eucalyptus oil:
1. Topical Eucalyptus Oil
The rule of thumb when diluting it for topical use is to add 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil. This dilutes it to a safer level so as to avoid skin irritation.
Alternatively, you can add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to your bath before getting in or add the same number of drops onto a washcloth if you’re taking a shower.
Some people even hang fresh eucalyptus clippings over their shower head and allow the steam to naturally diffuse its oils.
2. Diffusing Eucalyptus Oil
This method of delivery has the most rapid onset of action and is particularly effective against respiratory illnesses.
To make an inhalant of eucalyptus oil, add a few drops to hot water or a vaporizer. You then inhale the vapor deeply for about 5 minutes.
But many individuals prefer to simply diffuse it into a large area like their living room using an essential oil diffuser.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Antibacterial?
Yes, eucalyptus has natural antibacterial properties. Topically applied eucalyptus oil is used to treat acne as mentioned earlier, which is sometimes complicated by bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes.
Studies also show that eucalyptus oil may be effective against pathogenic bacteria affecting the upper airways.
Potential Eucalyptus Oil Side Effects
When taken by mouth in large, undiluted quantities exceeding 3.5 milliliters per day, it can be fatal. So stick to topical application and proper diffusion.
As previously mentioned, it can also irritate your skin if not diluted.
Eucalyptus oil has a long history of use, and many of its once anecdotal benefits have since been proven by clinical studies.
But like any product, it needs to be used properly or side effects can occur. One of our favorite uses of eucalyptus oil is as a topical infusion for muscle aches and joint discomfort.
Try it in our organic pain-relieving balm today!