Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and the branches of the eucalyptus tree and has a wide variety of therapeutic effects. It is one of the most popular essential oils because it has so many benefits as well as the ability to enhance other essential oils.
Chances are, you know the fragrance of eucalyptus very well It is familiar to many people as it is an effective analgesic and is often used in deep-heating creams, rubs and various preparations designed to relieve muscle, nerve and joint pains, as well as quite a few other products.
Eucalyptus has a diuretic effect, lowers blood sugar and helps to relieve coughs and fevers. Eucalyptol, the main active ingredient in eucalyptus oil, has strong germicidal and disinfectant properties and is a familiar ingredient and flavor in mouth washes and rinses (and deodorants).
It is also very refreshing and stimulating to the mind and body when applied to pulse points or used in the sauna. It is often used for wounds and in cleaning preparations because of it's strong germicidal effects.
Brief History Of Eucalyptus
For centuries, native Australian aborigines used their native eucalyptus traditionally for body pains, sinus congestion, fever, and colds. It the mid 1800's, English doctors started experimenting with the oil and shared it with the rest of the world.
In Australia, the expression, "blue mists" is well-known. It happens because when the eucalyptus sap exudes from the trees, it wisps into the air, creating a hazy blue mist seen for miles around. Historically, it is said the blue mist keeps down fevers in nearby communities. A recent study suggests that it wasn't the eucalyptus that took down the fever. The real reason may be its insecticidal action – the mist acted like a "natural essential oil diffuser" and inhibited the fever-carrying mosquitoes in the area.
The Five Types of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Most people are not aware that there is more than one type of eucalyptus oil and tree. There are more than 700 species of the Eucalyptus tree, mostly native to Australia (although they grow freely in many parts of the world now). Most people are only familiar with the more common Eucalyptus globulus and assume that all Eucalyptus oils are Eucalyptus globulus. This is not the case at all – although most essential oil manufacturers only produce Eucalyptus globulus.
Young Living Essential Oils produces five eucalyptus oils. Of the 700 species of eucalyptus, five make essential oils of high therapeutic value. Each of these varieties has its own unique combination of naturally-occurring plant chemicals with distinct properties and different actions. It's important to know the characteristics of the five eucalyptus oils because confusing the different types of eucalyptus oils can produce poor results.
The two most popular eucalyptus oils are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. These two oils smell most like traditional eucalyptus oils (i.e., the "vapor rub" smell).
The five types of eucalyptus oils are:
- Eucalyptus dives – high in phellandrene and low in eucalyptol, making it excellent for skin care and to combat the effects of colds, congestion and flu.
- Eucalyptus Globulus – the most common and best known with a wide range of uses. This powerful, penetrating essential oil is best know as an antimicrobial agent. The eucalyptol in it is a key ingredient in many antiseptic mouth rinses.
- Eucalyptus Polybractea – one of the strongest eucalyptus essential oils, it contains the strongest antiseptic action. It is an excellent insect repellent and is commonly used for acne, urinitis, cystitis, colds and flu.
- Eucalyptus Radiata - milder than Eucalyptus globulus, it has many of the same supportive properties. Because it is relatively gentle and nonirritating, it is the preferred choice for children and the elderly and can be diffused and even direct inhaled.
- Eucalyptus Blue- A eucalyptus from Ecuador, this oil has the highest amount of alpha-pinene among any of the eucalyptus essential oils, as well as high levels of the powerful constituent eucalyptol. It supports normal breathing and soothes tense muscles, as well as respiratory function when diffused.
- Eucalyptus Globulus' main therapeutic properties/actions:
– expectorant – expels excess mucus from the respiratory system
– mucolytic – breaks up mucous
– antimicrobial – fights microbes
– antibacterial – for staph, strep, pneumonia
– antifungal – especially for candida
– antiviral – creates a difficult environment for viruses to survive
– antiseptic – effective against germs
Since most Eucalyptus oils are rather strong, they must be used with caution, as they can irritate the skin and/or respiratory system. Diffuse only for short periods of time, and cover with a carrier oil when applied on the skin.
1. Tappan's Handbook of Healing Massage Techniques by Tappan and Benjamin. 4th Edition.
Take a closer look at these oils – one of the Eucalyptus essential oils is sure to be right for you!