Eucalyptus-melliodora_flowers2Eucalyptus 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

Eucalyptus_globulus_habitFor 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.[1]

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-dives3535Eucalyptus 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-Globulus3539Eucalyptus 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 Globulus’ main therapeutic properties/actions:
          – expectorant – expels excess mucus from the respiratory system
          – decongestant
          – 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
  • Eucalyptus-Polybractea3537Eucalyptus 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-Radiata3538Eucalyptus 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.
  • EucalyptusBlue3597Eucalyptus 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.

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.


Sources:

  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!


Comments

Eucalyptus Essential Oil — 8 Comments

  1. Craig,

    With five eucalyptus oils to choose from, it can be confusing to know which one is best for you. The best one is the one that fits your needs and situation. Just remember that each oil has unique properties and actions. Once you understand more about each oil’s characteristics, it will make it a lot easier to pick the one that fits your needs best.

    What makes eucalyptus essential oils different from each other?

    Each eucalyptus species has its own unique combination of naturally-occurring plant chemicals. This combination is what produce an effect on the body.

    One of the major active ingredients in most eucalyptus species is eucalyptol (also called 1,8 cineole). Scientists are only beginning to validate the many positive effects of this constituent. In one study using rats, researchers saw significant anti-inflammatory effects in the gut in rats.[2] Another laboratory experiment looked at the reduction effects of eucalyptus essential oils on specific respiratory pathogens.[3]

    While eucalyptol is common to most eucalyptus essential oils, other varieties have higher levels of other constituents, which in combination with the eucalyptol, have different actions.

    Let’s take a look at the types of eucalyptus essential oils again…

    Of the five eucalyptus essential oils Young Living offers, the two most popular are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. These two oils smell most like traditional eucalyptus oils (vapor rub and similar products). These oils also have a high percentage of 1,8 cineole: E. globulus has up to 80 percent eucalyptol and E. radiata can contain up to 75 percent of that active ingredient. So these are great to use if you want a deep-heat type of penetrating product.

    If you want a eucalyptus oil that’s gentler on mucus membranes, Eucalyptus polybractea is great because it is low in a compound called isovaleric aldehyde, which can irritate mucus membranes. It also has high levels of 1,8 cineole, which has the comforting eucalyptol medicinal scent.

    If you want to purify the air with eucalyptus, Eucalyptus dives is a good choice since it has large amounts of eucalyptol and also high amounts of piperitone, which gives it a slight pepperminty and citrus scent – very pleasing and clean smelling. However, E. dives is considered the strongest of the eucalyptus species and generally should not be applied to those with skin sensitivities.

    Do your eyes tend to water from eucalyptus oils? In that case, a good choice would be Eucalyptus Blue. It has deep, warm aroma and works well for the respiratory system because of its high levels of alpha-pinene and significant amounts of eucalyptol. Eucalyptus Blue can be considered a natural R.C. blend or used as an alternative

    Still can’t decide which eucalyptus to try?

    A great place to start is with the Breathe Again™ Essential Oil Roll-On. It contains a powerful punch of four eucalyptus essential oils (including Eucalyptus Blue) and is perfect for supporting respiratory health and invigorating the senses. Plus, the handy roll-on applicator makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.


    [2] Juergens U R, Dethlefsen U, Steinkamp G, et al. (2003) anti-inflammatory activity of 1,8 cineole (eucalpytol) in bronchial asthma: a double blind, placebo controlled trial. Resp Med 97 250-256.

    [3] Claudio Cermelli. Anna Fabio. Giuliana Fabio. Paola Quaglio. Effect of Eucalyptus Essential Oil on Respiratory Bacteria and Viruses. Current Microbiology. Volume 56, Number 1/January, 2008. 89-92.

  2. Craig,

    Here are some general guidelines on where/how to apply eucalyptus oils:

    • Eucalyptus globulus and E. dives are best applied topically or on the reflex points of the feet – See the Foot Reflex Points Chart on the Vita-Flex Massage Technique page.
    • Eucalyptus radiata, E. polybractea, and Eucalyptus Blue are more suitable for diffusing and inhalation – see Diffusing Essential Oils to find out more about diffusing.

    Other than that, just try the one or two that make the most sense and see how it works for you.

    The Essential Oil Diva

  3. Hi, I would like to use one these types of eucalyptus oil is safe, if any, to use with a carrier oil on a child. Thank you for your help. God bless you!

  4. SG,

    In general, babies and children respond very well to pure essential oils. Although Eucalyptus oils are strong and deep-penetrating, they are safe for children diluted and in small amounts. Just dilute them in V-6 Mixing oil, vegetable oil or Massage Oil Base and use less than you would for an adult.

    You may want to use the Eucalyptus Radiata, as it’s one of the gentler Eucalyptus oils. Do dilute it and start by putting it on the feet to see how well the child tolerates it.

    You could also try it in a blend such as RC, which smells great (appealing to children) and is not quite as penetrating as straight Eucalyptus, or the Breathe Again roll-on.

    The Essential Oil Diva

  5. can you mix Eucalyptus Globulus with water and drink it? what would be the benefits if so.
    thanks

  6. There are many oils that have beneficial effects when taken internally. However, I would not recommend taking Eucalyptus internally, at least not unless it is in a blend created by extremely knowledgeable professionals. Many Eucalyptus species contain 1,8 cineole which has toxic effects at relatively low doses.

    Professional aromatherapists and those that research essential oils would know the safer species, how to buffer the eucalyptus and what amounts are safe, but this knowledge is beyond the lay person. Wintergreen is another oil not to take internally on your own.

    There are many oils, such as lemon, lavender, peppermint, rose, rosemary, melaleuca, etc., that are perfectly safe to take internally AS LONG AS THEY ARE THERAPEUTIC-GRADE. Lesser grades often include solvents and additives which can be toxic.

    A couple drops of lemon, lavender, peppermint can be put in water and tea and taste great. Or they can be dropped into a veggie-cap and swallowed. These oils and more (i.e., ginger, tarragon, marjoram, basil, oregano, black pepper, bergamot, orange, tangerine) can also be used to flavor foods (use only tiny amounts with the stronger oils).

    Other oils, such as cinnamon, cloves, thyme, oregano, etc., are safe (if therapeutic-grade), but are hot and burn when ingested or rubbed on the skin. These oils need to be diluted (or at least taken on a full-stomach).

    We carry some excellent blends already mixed and ready to ingest:

    Inner Defense – Total Health System Protection
    Contains a powerful blend of antimicrobial essential oils that:Reinforce systemic defenses in the immune system
    Create unfriendly terrain for yeast/fungus
    Promote healthy respiratory function

    Its potent blend of all natural antioxidant rich essential oils of oregano, thyme, and Thieves® are rich in thymol, carvacrol, and eugenol for immune support.

    Longevity Softgels – Essential Oil Ultra-Antioxidant

    Potent multivitamin, immune- antioxidant blend contains thyme, orange, clove, and frankincense essential oils.

    Purification Essential Oil Blend
    Purification essential oil is a delightfully fresh-scented antiseptic blend formulated for diffusing to help purify the home and work environment. It does a wonderful job of cleansing the air and neutralizing mildew, cigarette smoke, stale air and any disagreeable odors.

    Digest + Cleanse for Healthy Digestion
    This blend soothes gastrointestinal upset and supports healthy digestion, naturally.

    Then there are the specific blends for specific purposes, such as women’s health, Beauty serum, and emotional wellness and even green cleaning and many more.

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