There are almost 900 species of eucalyptus worldwide. Around 300 species of this genus contain volatile oils in their leaves. The main constituent of the volatile oil derived from fresh leaves of eucalyptus is 1,8-cineole. This chemical is responsible for its pungent odor and medicinal properties. Eucalyptus oil is broadly used in medicines, industries and perfumes.
12 benefits of eucalyptus
Here are some of the health benefits of eucalyptus:
- Stuffy nose: A clinical study reported that inhaling eucalyptus oil for five minutes results in a cooling sensation and increased nasal airflow in people with upper respiratory tract infection.
- Reduced sense of smell: Eucalyptus oil plays a role in smell training. It helps in the speedy recovery of the sense of smell in people with dyssomnia. Taking a deep sniff of eucalyptus for 10 seconds twice daily for 12 weeks helps in about 30 percent of cases.
- Insect bites: Eucalyptus oil can be applied to various spots on the body. This reduces the instances of bites due to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. This, in turn, prevents the spread of malaria, tick-borne typhus and Lyme disease.
- Arthritis pain: Eucalyptus is a major ingredient in Brazilian folk medicine. The available data suggest that essential oils from eucalyptus exerts pain-relieving effects through modifying brain action and blocking the pain-causing chemicals in the nerves. However, further investigation is needed. Eucalyptus is the main ingredient in some topical analgesic ointment. It soothes the painful joints and relieves the pain when applied directly. It is available in many forms, such as sprays, ointments or salves.
- After surgery: A clinical study revealed that people who breathed in eucalyptus oil after a knee replacement surgery complained less of postoperative pain. 1,8-cineole in this has a numbing effect on nerves. Therefore, when you smell the oil, it lowers your blood pressure.
- Before surgery: Eucalyptus oil may soothe, calm and relax a person before their surgery. Studies have been conducted to measure the effect of essential oils (including eucalyptus) on anxious people who were about to undergo surgery. Before the surgery, these people smelled different essential oils for five minutes. The 1,8-cineole in eucalyptus oil appeared to be effective and useful for the entire procedure.
- Dental and oral health: A study was conducted to compare a natural toothpaste containing eucalyptus with the standard toothpaste. Eucalyptus seemed to work well to lessen problems such as gingivitis (mild gum inflammation, swelling, and redness) and plaque (sticky, unhygienic coat on the teeth) buildup. Some chewing gums contain eucalyptus. Chewing these gums will keep dental plaque, gingivitis and dental bleeding away. Moreover, chewing sugar-free gum may stimulate your salivary glands to keep your mouth moist.
- Cold sores: Eucalyptus oil exerts beneficial effects against herpes simplex viral infection that causes cold sores in the mouth. Eucalyptus has superior antiviral properties than standard medication, such as acyclovir, as per a laboratory study. It locks down virus particles and may block them from entering the body cells. It can control viral spread by more than 96%.
- Blood sugar: Eucalyptus oil has the potential for treating diabetes, although there is not enough evidence to prove the efficacy of eucalyptus oil in controlling blood sugar. Caution should be exercised when using eucalyptus oil to manage blood sugar. available.
- Skin care: Eucalyptus oil has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Moreover, it has some moisturizing and cooling properties for the skin, making it ideal for relieving acne, eczema, ulcers, cuts, wounds, and sunburns.
- Hair care: Eucalyptus oil is effective in treating head lice. According to one study, a mixture of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil killed 100% of lice and eggs in a single dose compared with traditional treatments such as pyrethrin. No side effects were experienced by adults or children.
- COVID-19: Studies have shown that eucalyptus oil has antiviral that may make it beneficial as supplemental treatment for COVID-19. Monoterpenes present in the essential oil bind to the viral protein responsible for invading the host cell and causing infection. Binding to the viral protein can lead to its inactivation, thereby preventing viral infection.
Other uses include the following:
- Rats and rodents: Spraying eucalyptus oil solution in places where rats hide can repel them. The chemical 1,8-cineole is also known for its powerful natural pest-control properties.
- Household cleaning: Eucalyptus oil can also be used as a household cleaning agent. It is an active key ingredient in many cleaning products and is approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It also removes E. coli effectively, which causes digestive tract illnesses.
How do you use eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus is only for external use and topical application. It should not be taken directly by mouth in undiluted form. Although eucalyptus oil has many health benefits, undiluted eucalyptus oil can be highly toxic if taken by the mouth.
Here are tips for how to use eucalyptus safely and effectively:
- Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically or mixed with boiling water to relieve congestion. Never use the concentrated version of eucalyptus on the skin.
- Eucalyptus leaves: Brewing tea from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree can be beneficial for a range of medical conditions. Eucalyptus leaves are an important source of food for many indigenous animals in Australia and New Zealand, especially koalas.
- Source of wood and paper: This fast-growing plant is valuable as a source of wood and paper.
What are the toxic effects of eucalyptus?
A minimum oral dosage of 2-3 mL may cause:
- Loss of muscle control
An oral dose of 5 mL may cause:
These effects may appear within just 30 minutes to four hours after exposure. Severe allergic reactions to eucalyptus oil taken orally may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blue discoloration of the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Problems with coordination
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
- Multiorgan failure
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