Eucalyptus is a large genus comprising more than 600 species of large trees and shrubs. They are of the myrtle family which is native to Australia, Tasmania, and its neighboring islands. It is commonly known as a gum tree in Australia. The eucalypti grow rapidly and attain a great height of about 90 meters with a circumference of 7.5 meters. The silver leaf eucalyptus is said to bear the biggest fruit of about 4-5 cm.
The leaves of the eucalypti are widely used as a common and effective ingredient in herbal cold and flu remedies. Some other general uses of the eucalyptus leaves are bath additives, as tea, massage oils, and potpourri.
Uses of eucalyptus
One of the major uses of this species is in the form of oil which is extracted from the leaves. Back in the 18th century, doctors started using it as a medicine for chest congestion and colic. Later on, the oil was also prescribed for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, flu, cough. It was seen to stimulate seating and clear mucus. The key component of the oil is the 1,8-cineole. It gives a clean and sharp medicinal smell and value and lowers pain and inflammation. The usage of the oil extends from giving cold and respiratory relief, treating bronchitis, healing sinusitis, an ointment to heal wounds. It is used for oral hygiene and strengthening the immune system. Also for repairing hair damage and acting as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal for respiratory ailments.
7 Health Benefits of Eucalyptus
Treats dry skin
The eucalypti leaf plays a role by increasing its ceramide content. It helps retain moisture in the skin. Increasing the ceramide compound forms a skin barrier. This protecting layer may improve dry skin and dandruff.
The eucalyptus essential oil consists of anti-inflammatory substances such as limonene and cineole which act as pain relievers. Inhaling the oil may decrease and relieve pain. A South Korean studied the effects of aromatherapy on pain and depression. It included eucalyptus and other essential oils. It concluded that aromatherapy has a great impact on decreasing pain and depression levels.
Chewing gums which consist of eucalyptus can keep dental plaque, dental bleeding, and gingivitis away. Eucalyptus leaves contain high amounts of macrocarpa C and ethanol. They are associated with lower chances of bacteria affecting teeth from cavities and gum diseases. It is very commonly used in products such as mouthwash and other oral care products.
Researches suggest that eucalyptus is believed to decrease symptoms of stress. Inhale eucalyptus oil for approximately 30 minutes has a significant impact. Specially on lowering the blood pressure levels of patients after knee surgery, saying that it has a calming effect.
Relieves cold symptoms
Being a natural anti-inflammatory agent, eucalyptus is commonly used as a remedy to treat cold and cough. Research suggests that it can decrease congestion of mucus and expand the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs. It Is also found to decrease cough frequency and headaches by decreasing inflammation. It also works great to help improve asthma symptoms.
Rich in antioxidants
Eucalyptus leaves, if consumed in the form of tea, are considered a great source of antioxidants. It consists of flavonoids that lower the risk of heart diseases, certain types of cancers, and dementia. Eucalyptus leaves contain neuroprotective properties which guard against oxidative stress.
In the presence of germs, eucalyptus oil is a highly promising compound as it increases the body’s white blood cells. It is said to enhance the immune system. Researchers suggest that eucalyptus oil could enhance the immune system’s phagocytic process. Here the immune system destroys foreign bodies.
How to consume (For Adults)
- 05 to 0.2 ml, small doses of the eucalyptus oil can be taken by adults. The oil should always be dissolved in warm water to dilute it.
- Infusion 1-2 teaspoons of chopped leaves to be boiled in a cup of water and let it sit for 10 minutes. It can be consumed up to 2 cups per day.
- Inhalant adds a few drops of eucalyptus oil or leaves in hot water or a vaporizer. Take steam for 5-10 minutes.
- Bath additives add the eucalyptus essential oil in a warm bath. Do it before getting in or apply the oil to a wet washcloth.
How to consume (For Children)
- For children under the age of 3, the eucalyptus oil can either be diffused or applied up to 0.5% (very mild).
- With cold, put 2 drops of the oil on a cotton ball or a tissue. Keep it at a safe distance from the baby to prevent congestion.
- In case of a blocked nose, add 3 drops of oil to boiling water and place it under the baby’s crib. The steam would release the essential oil and help the infant.
- The oil should not be present anywhere near the infant’s nose or mouth.
Side effects of Eucalyptus
- The oil can cause irritation to the skin if not diluted with a carrier oil such as olive oil.
- It can lead to allergic reactions if consumed in larger quantities.
- If taken orally, conditions like abdominal pain, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, or multiple organ failure might be seen.
- Children might experience seizures if the oil is given by mouth.
- Intake of 3.5 ml of undiluted oil can have fatal effects.
- Feelings of dizziness are one of the most common side effects.
- It can also cause feelings of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While eucalyptus has exceptional medicinal value, it is preferred not to be used for treating infants. The high cineole compound present in the plant can lead to breathing problems. Also complications in the nervous system, irritability to the baby’s skin, and abdominal pain. Eucalyptus Radiata can be used for infants if prescribed by a pediatrician. A nasal aspirator or a hot water compress can be used as alternatives for infants.
For pregnant women, a lot of research suggests that it is relatively safe to consume the oil during pregnancy with appropriate precautions. The oil can help reduce congestion and inflammation in women who suffer from sinusitis. Essential oils are a great source of comfort during pregnancy. If used through a diffuser or steam setting, there are fewer risks of having a negative reaction.