I’m not sure anyone would ever ask me what eucalyptus oil is good for, because this is one of the plant medicines we all learn as children. This aromatherapy is buried deep in the Western consciousness since most have tasted the menthol magic in cough sweets and enjoyed the decongestant relief from coughs and colds.
There is more underlying its healing magic. It supports healthy immune and respiratory systems.
In total there are over 700 varieties of Eucalyptus tree all of which make different chemotypes of oil. The tree belongs to the Myrtaceae genus (the myrtle family), all of which are aromatic. There are several different Eucalyptus oils available on the commercial market. Terroma eucalyptus essential oil is taken from the Blue Gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus var globulus) a tall tree native to Australia which has large pretty blue-green oval leaves that turn yellow as it gets older. Eucalyptus globulus essential oil tends to be the easiest to use and the one with the most uses.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Benefits
This is an oil with many actions: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, and other medicinal qualities. Unusually for an essential oil, for the most part eucalyptus tends to act on the physical body rather than the emotional realm or mental faculties.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Uses
Fundamentally, aromatherapists use eucalyptus is used as a decongestant. It cuts through catarrh and nasal congestion fast. Here we can employ aromatherapy, by inhaling it, or we can use the essential oil topically, where it will absorb through the skin and into the blood stream.
In addition, I use it as an anti-infectious agent and also reduce temperature.
How to Use Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Colds
I find the most effective way to unblock the pain of sinus congestion is to use a two-phase attack.
- Facial and Head Massage
- Creams and Lotions
How to use Eucalyptus Essential Oil in an Inhalation / Steam Bath
Fill a large bowl with hot water. Add three drops of Eucalyptus oil to the water. Take a bath towel, lean your head over the bowel, about six inches above the water, and make a tent over your head with the towel to trap the vapors inside.
I find it helps to close your eyes and have a tissue at the ready as your nose begins to unblock. It is fine to keep coming out of the tent for a gasp of air and a breather. You might find it easier to breathe through your mouth, rather than the nose. Clearly though, as you draw the eucalyptus up your nose, breathing in, you give the molecules more chance to adhere to the tiny hairs in your nose, the cilia, which will help it work more efficiently. I usually aim for about five minutes in the tent, but the chances are if you have a cold, that might feel a bit too much. Do what you can.
How to use Eucalyptus Essential Oil in Facial Massage to Relieve Sinus Congestion
Dilute the essential oil into a teaspoon of carrier oil. We use fingertips only to trace along the forehead first. Use all four fingers and gently massage from the middle of the forehead, working in tiny clockwise circles outwards towards the hairline. If it feels tender, rest your fingers there and continue massaging gently to release the blockage. Gradually work down to the eyebrows where we encounter the acupressure points.
Research shows that often aromatherapy works more effectively when combined with acupressure points. I find they help to release tension and blockages far faster than the oils do alone.
Continue your circles along the brow, but here you will likely feel much greater tenderness as you activate the acupressure points. Tenderness equals blockage, so take it slow, listening to your body through the fingertips, and applying gentle but firm pressure when the acupressure points groan.
There are more points beneath the eyebrows, especially at the wide end just at the bridge of the nose. The eucalyptus oil decongests, and your acupressure revitalizes the energy and circulation to the area encouraging the body to heal.
The next set of points are right under the cheek bones. Hook your fingers right under the bone working the eucalyptus right into the sinus tracts.
Eucalyptus Oil for Neck. Shoulder and Head Massage
The olfactory nerves that we use to smell, are the only nerves in the body that do not travel up to the brain via the spine. Instead they have a very fast journey through the sinus tracts. The function of these tracts is to allow air flow, to resonate our voices and to drain off mucus. When infected, they become inflamed, mucus congregates and it is harder to breathe and speak.
Adults have four pairs of sinuses. The ethmoid sinuses are located between the eyes and at the back of the nose. The frontal sinuses in the forehead developed when you were about seven years old. The facial massage has already worked the eucalyptus oil into these. We also worked it into the maxillary sinuses behind the cheekbones.
The final set, the ethmoid sinuses, are hidden deep within the skull, behind the eyes, so getting the oil to them is harder. You have done a great job, by inhaling the eucalyptus in steam, but we also want to send the oil through the blood stream to them too.
Releasing the muscles of the shoulder and neck increases circulation and helps the oils to travel more quickly to brain. Work along the shoulder mantle, listening to your fingers for blocked acupressure points. Work up the neck, being careful to never massage across the spine. Left hand works eucalyptus oil into the left-hand side and vice versa. As you reach the base of the skull, we want to be rubbing the eucalyptus right under the bone. Work from the spine outwards, gently circling like before, along the bony outcrop towards the ears.
Finally, make a rigid spider with your fingers and carefully trace the oil into the scalp. It works best to move the scalp on the skull and let the oil absorb itself, rather than trying to stroke the oil against the hair. Again, feel for blockages in the acupressure points. Prepare yourself for the one at the top of your head! This is your best weapon against the congestion. Work it gently, as it will be very tender.
Can You Overdose on Essential Oils?
Here, we have a very strong healing mechanism beginning now, so it is important not to over stimulate the acupressure points. Conversely though, no, you can’t overdose on essential oils. The body will take what it needs and anymore will be excreted as waste.
We can keep adding more and more eucalyptus essential oil if we want to, although it will take about twenty minutes to be able to start working, so any more regularly than that is simply wasteful.
I like to use aqueous lotion, because it goes straight through my make up without making a mess, but you can also continue using the eucalyptus massage oil you made earlier. Use just one drop to a tea spoon of oil / carrier lotion.
Now, let's use it on our wrists though. Here, we have fast access into the blood stream and we can spread the ant-inflammatory and analgesic medicine around, sustaining our immune system and boosting our ability to fight off infection.
How to use Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Cleaning
Use a hot damp cloth with five drops of eucalyptus essential oil (and tea tree if you want to be thorough) to wipe down surfaces, light switches, toilet flushes, bannisters, door handles and taps.
Cleanse the house weekly or three times a day when there are germs about.
Eucalyptus, Aromatherapy and Children
Boring science, I am afraid, guys, but vitally important if you are going to use essential oils. The chemical that does the magic is called 1,8 cineole. It slows respiration which can be very dangerous in small children. Only use eucalyptus in dilutions of less than 0.5% on children under 6, and never near their faces. Use on their backs only.
As an easy guide 0.5% is about 1 drop to a tablespoon of oil or carrier lotion.
Certainly, do not use eucalyptus essential oil on children’s pillows. Frankincense or cedarwood would be safer here, both decongest and comfort.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Diffuser Benefits
Clearly, we are decongesting here, but also purifying the air to prevent the spread of infection.
A couple of pointers here. In Australia people put eucalyptus essential oil on gate posts to deter dogs from spraying. My dog, Bella, hates the oil being diffused in the living room. Likewise we don’t want eucalyptus essential oils used around young children, so you might want to do it late, after everyone has gone to bed.
Adhere to diffusion rules. Do not use for more than two hours without turning off for half an hour to prevent sensitization and headaches.
Remember, do not diffuse eucalyptus essential oil around children under six years old.
Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Benefits for Temperature Reduction
This is contentious because although I do get asked how to reduce temperature often, I am against using essential oils to deal with it. Eucalyptus reduces temperature, but the body increases temperature as a mechanism of healing in its own right. Likewise, high temperatures are dangerous things to be messing with, sometimes causing convulsions.
That said, there is a period between realizing your child has a high temperature and being able to see a physician, and a drop each of eucalyptus and peppermint on a flannel can do wonders to get the temperature down fast if you are worried. Peppermint, like eucalyptus should be used with care on children, so we place the flannel on the back of the neck only.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Skin Benefits
In its own right, eucalyptus has very few benefits for skin, but why not use the steam bath above to flush out toxins and deep clean the skin.
Cautions and Safety of Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oils
Not safe around young children. Do not use on children under the age of two. For children between 2-6 years old, use 0.5% dilution. 6-12 years old 1% dilution. Adults in a weakened state (elderly or long- term sick) 2% dilution. Adults 3% dilution maximum.
Do not use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
Author: Elizabeth Ashley, AKA The Secret Healer
Elizabeth Ashley is The UK Director of National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy and overseas speaker for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, also the author of 20 books about aromatherapy including 12 Amazon category number one best sellers, as well as being a regular contributor to five professional trade journals.