Eucalyptus essential oil certainly needs no introduction. It is one of my favorite oils. It’s probably one of your favorites too. And there’s a reason why it is so popular. It has so many incredible benefits.
So let us get into some of these benefits of eucalyptus essential oil along with its properties and uses.
Properties of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The botanical name for eucalyptus is Eucalyptus globulus. You should find this name on the bottle when buying the oil.
Color & Smell of eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil is generally colorless to pale yellow. And I think you already know how eucalyptus smells. But to describe it, I would say it has a sharp, camphor-like scent. It definitely is unique.
What’s in the oil?
The main compound in eucalyptus essential oil is eucalyptol or 1,8-cineole. It can make up anywhere from 30% to 90% of the oil.
Other noteable compounds in the oil include alpha-pinene, limonene, alpha-phellandrene, aromadendrene, beta-pinene, camphene, epiglobulol, pinocarvone, piperitone, and terpineol.
These compounds may have complicated names but they do contribute to the amazing benefits of eucalyptus essential oil.
Benefits of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There is no shortage of studies and research into eucalyptus oil. It certainly is one of the most well studied oils. So here are some scientifically proven benefits of eucalyptus essential oil:
- reduces inflammation
- neutralizes free radicals
- kills bacteria and fungi
- repels and kills insects
- repels and kills arachnids
It is anti-inflammatory
If you look at your anti-inflammatory creams or rubs, most likely you will see eucalyptol listed as an ingredient. And, as you saw earlier, eucalyptol is the main compound in this essential oil. So I think it’s safe to say eucalyptus essential oil has great anti-inflammatory benefits. And there are studies to back it up.
Consider this 2014 study. It reviewed and summarized recent scientific research on eucalyptol. It noted that the compound was clinically proven to reduce inflammation, muscle spasms and the occurrence of thick mucous in the respiratory tract.
It was also found to work well for inflammatory respiratory problems like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
Pretty amazing, right?
It may be antioxidant
Eucalyptus essential oil may also have strong antioxidant benefits. Check out this 2011 lab study.
It looked at the antioxidant activity of six essential oils including bitter orange, cypress, eucalyptus, fennel, lemon, and thyme. The study showed that thyme and eucalyptus essential oil exhibited strong antioxidant benefits.
Now these are wonderful results. However, this study was not a clinical one. So we cannot say with certainty that this oil can neutralize free radicals on your skin or in your body.
It is definitely antibacterial
There is no shortage of research into this benefit of eucalyptus essential oil.
This 2016 study investigated the synergistic antimicrobial benefits of blended essential oil preparations containing cajeput, eucalyptus, rosemary, patchouli, and pine oils. The preparations were tested on Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidenidis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The results showed that the best synergy occurred with eucalyptus, rosemary and mineral oils.
What does this mean? Well eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils work better when mixed together!
Another comparative study done in 2008 looked at the bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects of thirteen essential oils against 65 bacteria. The essential oils tested included ajowan, cajeput, cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, orange, palmarosa, and tea tree. Cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass, and clove showed the highest antibacterial benefits. But eucalyptus still did well against the bacteria under investigation.
It is also antifungal
This 2016 study explores these benefits of eucalyptus essential oil. It tested fifteen essential oils – including basil, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, lemon, orange, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme – on three Aspergillus fungi species.
What were the results? Well, all essential oils exhibited strong antifungal activity against the fungi under investigation.
Eucalyptus can help with lice
The results were interesting. It showed that spearmint, cassia and clove were the strongest oils against the lice. But thyme, eucalyptus and anise were also effective in killing the adult lice. Also, all the oils reduced the number of egg hatches.
Interestingly, these results were comparable to malathion, a common pesticide used to treat lice! And similar findings were given in this 2014 study.
Eucalyptus oil keeps bugs away
Indeed, eucalyptus essential oil is a great, all-natural repellent, insecticide and larvicide.
It’s true! This 2012 study investigated the insecticidal activity of eucalyptus oil against the larvae and pupae of the housefly (Musca domestica). The results showed that at very low concentrations, eucalyptus was lethal to the housefly larvae and pupae.
A more recent study showed that eucalyptus oil with 5% vanillin added can provide more than 2 hours of repellency against mosquitoes like Aedes aegypti and Anopheles dirus.
From all these studies, you can see why adding eucalyptus to your all-natural bug spray is a really good idea.
It has moderate effects on arachnids
There are a few studies that show eucalyptus oil has weak effects against ticks, mites and spiders.
For instance, this 2009 study looked at the acaricidal activity of both eucalyptus and geranium essential oils against the blue cattle tick (Rhipicephalus annulatus). The results found that geranium was far more potent than eucalyptus oil.
Another study from 2015 found that eucalyptus showed only a 30% repellency effect against the poultry red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae).
Those are the eucalyptus essential oil benefits. What did you think?
Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
You have just seen all the benefits of eucalyptus essential oil. Now it is time to get into how to use the oil.
Add a few drops of the oil to your diffuser or to a tissue. It is great for inhaling. And with its anti-inflammatory benefits, you will find the oil eases your respiratory problems. So take a deep breath of eucalyptus!
You can also blend the oil with any citrus oils (like grapefruit and lemon), floral oils (like chamomile, geranium and lavender), and spicy oils like ginger, peppermint, rosemary and thyme essential oils.
Again, because of eucalyptus’ great anti-inflammatory benefits, it works well in massage blends. So use it for your own do-it-yourself muscle rubs to ease achey joints, tired muscles and inflamed skin.
But remember to always patch test the oil before using it (especially if it is the first time you are using the oil). And don’t use a concentration greater than 5%. That means use a maximum of five drops per one teaspoon of carrier oil (like coconut, olive, or sunflower oil).
Eucalyptus essential oil should always be properly diluted. Exposure to too much of the oil can cause irritation of your respiratory tract and skin.
The oil should also be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It should also never be ingested since it can be toxic.
Finally, always talk to your doctor before using this or any other essential oil.
Where to buy eucalyptus essential oil?