Eucalyptus is one of the most popular essential oils and most people recognize its refreshing and medicinal scent from cold remedies or bath salts. Eucalyptus essential oil is a good home remedy for colds and coughs, can be added into bath and massage oil blends to relieve muscular aches and pains, and is also an ingredient in many natural insect repellents.
The most commonly used Eucalyptus oil is the Eucalyptus globulus, or “blue gum”. But there are around 300 different types of the Eucalyptus tree, and essential oil is extracted from several of them. Eucalyptus radiata is similar to Eucalyptus blue gum but is a little gentler on the skin. Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) has a lovely lemony smell, a little like that of Citronella.
Eucalyptus Steam Inhalation for Colds and Flu’s
Eucalyptus is one of the best oils to use during colds, flu’s and other infections. Use it in a steam inhalation to relieve congestion during a cold or a sinus infection, or a sore throat. (For detailed instructions read How to do a steam inhalation with essential oils). Eucalyptus oil is also antiviral and antibacterial, and helps to fight the cold virus. Burn a few drops of Eucalyptus in an essential oil burner during the flu season. If you like a lemon-y scent, Eucalyptus citriodora is a good alternative the more medicinal-smelling Eucalyptus oils.
Use Eucalyptus Oil in the Bath
Eucalyptus oil is a good oil to use in baths or massages for muscle aches and pains or if you’re just feeling run-down. For a bath, try 3 drops of Eucalyptus and 3 drops of Lavender essential oil blended into a base oil (or full-fat milk, aromatherapy books keep saying milk is a good base for a bath blend but I’ve never tried myself) whenever you are feeling tired, achy or about to get a cold. Eucalyptus is used in many massage blends for achy muscles, often blended with Lavender, Rosemary or Marjoram.
See more tips for using essential oils in the bathtub.
Eucalyptus oil as Natural Insect Repellent
Burn Eucalyptus oil in an aromatherapy burner or diffuser in the summer to keep insects away from the house, or make a natural insect repellent spray with Eucalyptus and other insect-repellent essential oils; most aromatherapy books have some recipes for insect-repellent room sprays. I was also excited to read that the Mayo Clinic lists Lemon Eucalyptus as a mosquito repellent that may offer protection that is comparable to low concentrations of DEET. (Mosquito bites: Prevention, online article on mayoclinic.com).
Eucalyptus Oil Safety Precautions
Eucalyptus can cause skin irritation, so people with sensitive skin should use this oil with care and always blend it with base oils. I’ve read lots of contradicting information about whether Eucalyptus oil is safe during pregnancy; personally I would stay clear of most oils during pregnancy except for those deemed absolutely 100% safe but opinions seem to differ on what is safe.
Sources: Patricia Davis in Aromatherapy: an A-Z (Random House UK, 2004)