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Essential oils have some pretty powerful benefits—certain ones can help relieve stress, improve sleep, sharpen focus and concentration, and lift your mood. And one of the most well-known and common essential oils is eucalyptus. It's in a bunch of EO blends, and I consider it the perfect "starter" oil if you're just getting into EOs. "Eucalyptus has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties," explains Denise LaPalm, a certified professional aromatherapist and the founder of L'Beauxtique. "It has a history of wide application as an antiseptic, disinfectant, decongestant, and stimulant. It has also been used to treat colds, flu, headaches, toothaches, and muscle aches."
The oxide-rich essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia. And while there are many varieties, the most common one is Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), LaPalm says. "The main chemical component in eucalyptus essential oil is 1,8-cineole, which gives the oil its minty, refreshing, camphoraceous aroma and is responsible for its many therapeutic benefits," she explains.
And Trevor T’úýtemken Ellestad Van Somer, herbalist, aromatherapist, and Saje Natural Wellness's director of PR, communications, and social media, adds that the camphorous essential oil is one of the most sought-after because of its reputation as being highly effective.
LaPalm says that since it has so many beneficial properties, it's a good choice for anyone looking for an all-natural way to improve their health and well-being. But she cautions that if you have any medical condition, you should consult a healthcare professional before using eucalyptus essential oil. "Care must be taken when using it with asthmatics," LaPalm explains. "It is important to exercise caution when using eucalyptus essential oil. It can be highly concentrated, so always dilute properly and use it sparingly, as too much can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Always dilute with a carrier oil before applying it to the skin, and avoid contact with the eyes. Caution should be used when applying eucalyptus (rich in 1,8 cineole) essential oils on or near the face of children 5 years old and under, and always keep essential oils out of the reach of children."
So now that we've got those words of caution out of the way, what exactly are the versatile benefits of eucalyptus oil? See below.
Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1. It Can Promote Clear Breathing
"Perhaps eucalyptus essential oil's most famous use is as an anti-tussive or expectorant," Ellestad Van Somer says. "Rich in the natural chemical compound eucalyptol, eucalyptus is well known for promoting deep breathing, soothing coughs, and clearing congestion. Roll on Saje's Fortify Oil Blend along the throat and chest for natural cough relief courtesy of a blend of eucalyptus, cinnamon, and tea tree essential oils."
2. It Refreshes the Air
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Ellestad Van Somer explains that eucalyptus's clean aroma can powerfully clear and refresh air in spaces that can get smelly, like kitchens and bathrooms. In these spaces, he recommends spritzing Saje's Airoma Loo Room Spray to reset a space.
3. It's an Anti-Inflammatory
Both LaPalm and Ellestad Van Somer say it has anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply the essential oil topically with a carrier oil, like jojoba or sweet almond oil—never apply it directly to the skin, as essential oils can be quite potent.
4. It Has Antimicrobial and Antiviral Properties
"Antimicrobial properties make eucalyptus essential oil a great addition to your home cleaning routine," Ellestad Van Somer. "Saje's Multi-Surface Cleaning Kit uses a powerful combination of eucalyptus and black spruce to effectively clean surfaces and leave your space smelling like a spa—without any artificial fragrances."
LaPalm also adds that eucalyptus's antiviral and antibacterial properties can also help fight off colds and the flu. "Eucalyptus oil may help you recover faster from an illness if you feel under the weather," she says.
5. It Can Cool the Skin
The anti-inflammatory properties can also cool and soothe the skin—helping with acne, burns, cuts, wounds, and insect bites.
6. It Can Relieve Pain
LaPalm says it has analgesic properties. "This means that it can help to relieve pain," she explains. "Eucalyptus oil may provide relief if you suffer from headaches, migraines, or pain from arthritis, muscle aches, or joint pain."
LaPalm says its refreshing and uplifting aroma improves mood and promotes relaxation. And Ellestad Van Somer has a suggestion for creating a relaxing experience: "For many, the aroma of eucalyptus transports them to the spa steam room. Re-create this experience at home by adding five to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil or my personal favorite, Deep Breathe diffuser blend, to your shower floor. When the hot water hits the oil, its aroma is released, and you get an invigorating steam."
Other Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil
One of the easiest ways to test out the benefits of eucalyptus essential oil is by inhaling directly from the bottle or putting a few drops in a tissue for a pick-me-up. You can also mix it with the carrier oil of your choice to make a natural chest rub to relieve congestion or soothe aches and pains as we went over above.
If you're really serious about essential oil use, invest in a diffuser. LaPalm says that diffusing the oil at home can purify the air and kill bacteria, keep everyone healthy during cold-and-flu season, and boost energy levels and mental clarity.
Ellestad Van Somer likes combining essential oils for even more benefits. "For example, eucalyptus is incredibly effective when paired with other oils like sweet birch, rosemary, and peppermint where they work together to provide an analgesic effect," he says.
It has even more uses around the house, too. LaPalm suggests using it to clean and purify the home by mixing it with white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. And it works as a natural bug repellent—mix it with witch hazel and water, and spray it on your skin and clothing.