Table of contents:
Eucalyptus is a medicinal plant rich in tannins, flavonoids, aldehydes and volatile oils, such as cineole and terpineol, which give it antiseptic, decongestant, antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties, being, therefore, widely used as a home remedy in treatment of respiratory problems such as flu, colds or sinusitis.
The scientific name of eucalyptus is Eucalyptus globulus and the part normally used is its leaves or essential oil, for the preparation of tea, inhalation, compresses, baths or to flavor the environment.
Eucalyptus can be easily found in he alth food stores or he alth food stores, but it should be used under the guidance of a doctor or other he alth professional who has experience with the use of medicinal plants.
What is it for
Eucalyptus has several he alth benefits, the main ones being:
1. Fighting respiratory problems
The cineole present in eucalyptus has expectorant, mucolytic and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to stimulate breathing, relieve coughing, increase the elimination of phlegm and relax the respiratory muscles.
In this way, eucalyptus essential oil can be used in the form of inhalation to help fight respiratory problems such as flu, colds, cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis or sinusitis, for example.
However, some people may be more sensitive to the essential oil released by the eucalyptus, which can worsen the respiratory problem. Therefore, its use should only be done with the guidance of a doctor or herbalist.
2. Help with skin healing
Eucalyptus leaf essential oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action, and can be used on the skin to accelerate the healing of superficial and closed wounds, such as burns, cuts or scrapes.
In addition, eucalyptus essential oil also contains macrocarpal A, a substance that, when applied to the skin, stimulates the production of ceramide, which is a type of fatty acid responsible for maintaining the skin's protective barrier. and retain moisture. So it can be a good natural way to fight dry skin, dandruff, dermatitis or psoriasis.
3. Strengthen the immune system
Eucalyptus is rich in essential oils, with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory action, which help to strengthen the immune system, stimulating the action of white blood cells, which are defense cells, preventing and helping to fight infections of the respiratory system, such as flu, colds or sinusitis, for example.
4. Fight the pain
Eucalyptus is rich in substances with analgesic action, such as cineole, terpineol and limonene, which help fight pain, as they are easily absorbed by muscles or nerves when the essential oil is applied to the skin. for massage or used in aromatherapy.
A study  carried out with rats in the laboratory showed that terpineol present in eucalyptus used in the form of massage helped relieve sciatic pain by reducing inflammation and blocking nerve conduction, and thus reducing pain.
Also, eucalyptus essential oil can help reduce muscle, tendon or nerve pain, and relieve symptoms of rheumatism or fibrosis, for example.
5. Improve mouth he alth
Eucalyptus is rich in eucalyptol, ethanol and macrocarpal C, with antibacterial and antiseptic action, which helps to remove and eliminate bacteria from the mouth that can cause gingivitis or bad breath.Thus, eucalyptus when used in the form of an infusion as a mouthwash can help maintain the he alth of the mouth.
6. Fight infections
Eucalyptus essential oil has antibacterial action, which can be useful to fight infections such as gastroenteritis or urinary tract infections, caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli bacteria, for example.
However, the use of eucalyptus essential oil does not replace medical treatment for these infections, and should only be used to complement medical treatment. Learn how bacterial infections are treated.
7. Aid in the treatment of cold sores
Because it contains antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, healing and antioxidant substances, eucalyptus can help in the treatment of cold sores, helping to relieve symptoms such as itching, burning sensation, redness and swelling.
Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in the form of ointments, found in pharmacies, from the first symptoms of cold sores to the appearance of sores and, although it does not serve to replace medical treatment, it is a good natural option. to relieve symptoms and speed up recovery from cold sores.See how cold sores are treated.
8. Help you relax
Eucalyptus essential oil, when used in the form of inhalation, can help to relax, as it has a calming and anxiolytic effect, which helps to reduce the activity of the nervous system, promoting relaxation, which can be useful for assist in the treatment of stress, anxiety or sleep problems, for example.
9. Preventing chronic diseases
Eucalyptus leaves are rich in flavonoids such as catechin, luteolin, kaempferol, phloretin, quercetin and isoramnetin, with potent antioxidant action, which help to reduce cell damage caused by free radicals, which can help to prevent cardiovascular disease or dementia.
However, more studies are still needed to prove this benefit.
How to use eucalyptus
The parts used of the eucalyptus are the dry or fresh leaves or the essential oil, which are used to prepare tea, baths, compresses, inhalations, balms, massages or aromatherapy.
It is important to note that eucalyptus essential oil should not be taken orally, as it can cause burns in the digestive system and kidney problems. Also, to use on the skin, it should always be diluted with water or mixed in a "carrier" oil such as mineral oil, coconut oil or sweet almond oil, for example, to allow eucalyptus essential oil to be better. absorbed through the skin and does not cause irritation.
1. Eucalyptus tea
Eucalyptus tea is widely used to relieve cold and flu symptoms, as well as helping to eliminate lung secretions accumulated during bronchitis.
- 1 tablespoon of chopped eucalyptus leaves;
- 150 mL of water.
Add the chopped eucalyptus leaves to the water and boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then strain and drink 1 cup of the tea 2 to 3 times a day.
2. Eucalyptus vapor inhalation
Eucalyptus steam inhalation is a good home remedy for respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, flu, colds and sinusitis, as it quickly relieves nasal congestion.
However, there are some people who may be more sensitive to the essential oil released by eucalyptus, and in these cases, symptoms may worsen. If this happens, you should avoid doing this inhalation.
- 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil or 1 handful of fresh eucalyptus leaves;
- 1 liter of boiling water.
Add the drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the boiling water. Then, cover the head with an open towel, so that it also covers the container containing the eucalyptus essential oil solution. Lean your head over the container and breathe in the steam as deeply as possible for up to 10 minutes, repeating 2 to 3 times a day.This towel helps keep the solution steaming longer.
When you finish inhaling, it is important to rub your face with a wet towel in cold water.
3. Bath with eucalyptus
Bath with eucalyptus can be used to help relax, relieve muscle pain and help treat respiratory problems.
Branches of eucalyptus leaves
Wash eucalyptus leaves to remove dust or impurities that may be present. Let it dry naturally. Then make a bouquet out of the branches and hang on the shower pipe. It is important that the branches are not in direct contact with the bath water. Shower as normal, while the water steam releases essential oils into the environment, which when inhaling help to relax and relieve nasal congestion.
3. Aromatherapy with Eucalyptus
Aromatherapy is a technique that uses the aroma and particles released by essential oils to stimulate different parts of the brain.In the case of eucalyptus essential oil, aromatherapy can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, emotional tension or stress, as it has calming and sedative properties.
To do aromatherapy with eucalyptus, you must deeply inhale the aroma of the essential oil directly from the bottle, holding the air in your lungs for about 2 to 3 seconds, before exhaling. Repeat inhalation 3 to 7 times, several times a day.
Another way to do aromatherapy with eucalyptus essential oil is to put 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a little water, inside an electric aromatherapy or in a room diffuser. The amount of water used varies according to the capacity of the electric flavoring or diffuser. The cloud of smoke or steam formed allows the aroma to be released throughout the room.
Another more economical solution to using the aromatizer is to put 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil or 6 eucalyptus leaves in a bowl with boiling water, for example, because as the water evaporates, the aroma is released to the air.
4. Massage with eucalyptus
Eucalyptus essential oil can also be used in relaxing massages due to its pleasant aroma and relaxing properties. See other benefits of massage with essential oils.
To massage, use 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil mixed with 50 ml of a vegetable oil, such as coconut oil or sweet almond oil, for example. Then apply on the skin, massaging gently with the fingertips, for about 10 minutes.
Before using eucalyptus essential oil, an allergy test must be carried out, preparing a mixture containing 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, and apply on the back hand or in the crook of the elbow. Wait 24 hours and, if during this period the skin becomes red or irritated, the use of eucalyptus essential oil is not recommended.
5. Eucalyptus Balm
Eucalyptus balm can be prepared to use on the chest to relieve symptoms of respiratory problems such as a cold, flu, bronchitis or asthma.
- 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil;
- 30 mL of almond oil.
Mix the ingredients in a clean, dry container. Then apply on the skin of the chest. The scent released by the balm helps relieve a runny and stuffy nose.
6. Compresses with eucalyptus
Eucalyptus compresses can be used for skin inflammation, muscle or joint pain, sciatic pain, rheumatism or gout.
- 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil;
- 60 mL of water.
Mix the ingredients and wet a gauze, cotton or cloth in this mixture. Then apply on the skin in the affected region.
Possible side effects
The most common side effects that can arise while using eucalyptus are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, dizziness, feeling of suffocation, tachycardia, drowsiness or hyperactivity.
In addition, eucalyptus essential oil used on the skin can cause dermatitis, skin irritation and a burning sensation, so it should always be tested beforehand on a small area of the skin.
Eucalyptus tea can also increase the action of the liver, causing the effect of some medicines to be reduced. Therefore, people who use any medication daily should consult a doctor to find out if it is safe or not to use eucalyptus.
Who should not use
Eucalyptus should not be used by children under 3 years of age, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or by people who have digestive, gallbladder and liver disease, or are allergic to eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus inhalations should also not be used on children under 12 years old, as they can cause allergies and shortness of breath. Also, eucalyptus preparations should not be applied to the face, particularly the nose of babies, as they can cause skin allergies.
Furthermore, eucalyptus essential oil should not be used directly on the skin, without mixing it with a carrier oil or water, as it can cause irritation, a burning sensation or an allergy to the skin.