Eucalyptus essential oil is an aromatic oil derived from the eucalyptus tree, a soaring evergreen native to Tasmania. The plant has been a medicinal component for centuries, and is still used today to make a host of commercial products, including cough drops, toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, perfumes and ointments. Because the oil contains potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substances, it is as valuable as it is versatile.
Eucalyptus Oil for the Common Cold
Eucalyptus oil helps loosen phlegm and ease breathing, which is why it is a common cold remedy in the Unites States and Europe, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. As a main ingredient in chest rubs and vapor baths, eucalyptus products and can be applied directly to the nose or chest for fast relief. Herbalists offer the plant’s fresh leaves to cold sufferers with sore throats and other bronchial symptoms. Others use it in place of conventional medicines, as a treatment for sinusitis or other chronic conditions.
Other Uses for Eucalyptus Oil
Although eucalyptus oil is most widely known as a cold and flu remedy, there are hosts of other ways to use the oil. The following are some of the conditions you might treat using eucalyptus oil or other parts of the plant.
- Skin wounds, boils or acne lesions
- Bleeding gums
- Bladder diseases
- Liver problems
- Arthritis pain and inflammation
Eucalyptus for Diabetes
Eucalyptus is sometimes used to treat diabetes. In fact, animal studies indicate the herb has a blood-sugar lowering effect and is able to increase insulin production as well, according to the National Institutes of Health. Diabetics should talk to a trusted health care adviser about using the herb as an adjunctive therapy.
For most people, eucalyptus is a safe and effective remedy when used as directed, although the oil can be toxic and even fatal if not diluted. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use eucalyptus oil without a professional’s consent. Because the herb may interact with other herbs or drugs, you should always discuss its use with a medical professional.
References: University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/eucalyptus-000241.htm
National Institutes of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/700.html