Generic Name: eucalyptus

Brand and Other Names: fevertree, gum tree, red ironbark, white ironbark

Drug Class: Herbals

What is eucalyptus, and what is it used for?

Eucalyptus is a tree native to Australia and the oil distilled from dried leaves of certain species of eucalyptus is used for medicinal purposes. Eucalyptus oil is used for many conditions including colds, nasal congestion, skin ulcers, minor muscular or joint pains. There is, however, insufficient scientific evidence to support its efficacy in any of its uses.

Eucalyptus is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and pain-relieving properties. Eucalyptus oil is used medicinally for the following purposes:

Eucalyptus oil is used in steam inhalations for respiratory tract conditions and the diluted oil is applied directly on the skin for skin conditions and muscular and joint pain.

Other uses of eucalyptus include:

  • Component of dentistry products used as sealers and solvents for root canal fillings
  • Fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics
  • Aromatherapy
  • Mouthwash, antiseptic, liniment and ointment
  • Component in toothpaste, cough drops, and lozenges
  • Food flavoring (as dried leaf)

Warnings

  • Never ingest undiluted eucalyptus oil; it is highly toxic and potentially fatal, and even small quantities can cause severe adverse effects 
  • Do not apply eucalyptus oil on skin without diluting
  • Use with caution if you are allergic to eucalyptus or any other essential oil
  • Do not take diluted eucalyptus oil orally if you have conditions that include acute intermittent porphyria, heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease
  • Do not apply eucalyptus containing lotions or creams on the face or nose of children
  • Eucalyptus can lower blood sugar, use with caution if you are diabetic, and monitor blood glucose levels

What are the side effects of eucalyptus?

Common side effects of eucalyptus include:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug.

Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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What are the dosages of eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus Oil

  • Arthritis: 5-20% in an oil-based formulation or 5-10% in an alcohol-based formulation
  • Nasal Congestion: 1 tsp in boiling water for steam inhalation; also rub on the chest and around the nose

What drugs interact with eucalyptus?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Eucalyptus has no severe interactions
  • Serious Interactions of eucalyptus include:
  • Eucalyptus has moderate interactions with at least 100 different drugs.
  • Eucalyptus has mild interactions with at least 301 different drugs.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

What else should I know about eucalyptus?

  • Eucalyptus oil used for steam inhalation or topical application is generally safe in adults
  • Keep eucalyptus oil out of reach of children
  • In case of accidental ingestion, seek medical help or contact poison control center immediately

Summary

Eucalyptus oil is used for medicinal purposes, including the common cold, asthma, bronchial infections, skin rashes, insect bites, minor muscle aches or joint pain, and minor skin injuries. Never ingest undiluted eucalyptus oil, even small quantities; it is highly toxic and potentially fatal. Common side effects of eucalyptus include local allergic reactions (redness, burning, irritation), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, drowsiness, shortness of breath (dyspnea), bluish skin (cyanosis), muscle weakness, impaired balance, seizures, and others.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

Prevention & Wellness

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 3/18/2022
References
https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_eucalyptus/drugs-condition.htm

https://reference.medscape.com/drug/fevertree-gum-tree-eucalyptus-999455#0

https://www.rxlist.com/eucalyptus/supplements.htm

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/eucalyptus-oil

https://www.rxhealthmed.ca/natural_products/eucalyptus-oil/