We may be familiar with eucalyptus oil for the respiratory aid it provides. Got clogged nose? Diffuse some of this oil! Having trouble with a bad cough? Lozenges with eucalyptus will just do the trick.
This oil even excites the senses. Need a quick wake-me-up in the middle of a sleepy day? Eucalyptus' fresh camphoraceous smell is sure to make you alert in a snap!
But what about our skin? What can we benefit from this gift of nature? Simply a lot!
Find out as we go on below, discussing the history, benefits, and uses of eucalyptus oil. What you will find out about this standard household essential oil will undoubtedly surprise you!
What Is Eucalyptus Oil?
Eucalyptus oil is steam distilled from the leaves, fruits, buds, and bark of the eucalyptus tree. The tall evergreen tree, from which the oil is extracted, is native to Tasmania and New South Wales in Australia.
Of all the species of Australian Eucalyptus, widely introduced worldwide is the E. globulus, known as the "Blue Gum." This species is the primary source of global production for eucalyptus oil, with China being the largest commercial producer. Other places where this oil is widely produced include Tasmania, Australia, Portugal, Spain, United States, Brazil, and Nepal.
Eucalyptus oil from most species shows antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities. For this reason, this oil is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, the common cold, influenza, and sinus congestion.
The major components of eucalyptus oil are citronellal, cineole, camphene, fenchene, limonene, phellandrene, and pinene. The percentage of these components vary per species. For E. globulus oil, the percentages are as follows: α-pinene (11%), β-pinene (0.15%), α-phellandrene (0.09%), 1,8-cineole (69%), limonene (3.3%), aromadendrene (1.6%), globulol (5.33%). These percentages are important to differentiate Blue Gum from other eucalyptus oil.
The high percentage of cineole gives E. globulus oil its sharp, pungent, and camphoraceous scent, which is vital for eucalyptus oil's respiratory aid function. The oil appears colorless and yellows with age.
Though there are other eucalyptus oils from various species available in the market, the one we will be tackling is, of course, E. globulus oil. As it is the most popular, this oil is highly accessible and provides the benefits we are looking for in eucalyptus oil.
History of Eucalyptus Oil
The eucalyptus tree is often associated with koala bears, as eucalyptus leaves are their primary source of food. In ancient times, the aboriginal people use eucalyptus plants for several purposes, both as medicine and as food. Since the1850s in Victoria, eucalyptus oil has been successfully introduced into 90 countries worldwide, where it is now one of the most important and widely planted genera.
In the 1880s, because of eucalyptus oil's antiseptic properties, surgeons began using the oil operations.
In 1890, records show that eucalyptus was first introduced into China for ornamental tree planting in parks or around villages and houses. The 1950s saw the development of large areas of eucalyptus plantations.
By the turn of the twentieth century, the Tasmanian Eucalyptus Oil Company, with its platypus logo, became the most highly respected supplier. Today, as a popular essential oil, eucalyptus is used in vapor rubs, rash creams, inhalers, ointments, and dental hygiene products.
Different Uses of Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is popular, as seen on the multiple uses found from this oil. Here are some of the notable uses of eucalyptus oil:
- clears nasal passages
- eliminates harmful airborne bacteria
- removes grease and grime effectively
- effective fabric freshener
- beneficial for eliminating mold in the air
- moisturizes itchy scalp
- removes dandruff flakes
- eliminates lice
- rejuvenates stiff and sore muscles
In aromatherapy, eucalyptus oil is one of the most popular in use. The oil's scent increases brain wave activity, countering physical and mental fatigue. Inhaling the oil can help relieve congestion and respiratory tract infections.
Traditionally, using the oil in aromatherapy relieves discomforts associated with fatigue, headaches, colds, sinusitis, mucous congestion, muscle aches and pains, and asthma.
Using a diffuser for this oil evenly disperses the vapors so that it can enter the respiratory system more gently.
Skin Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil
All these great uses of eucalyptus oil are fine and dandy -- but, of course, we must know the skin benefits!
The notable benefits eucalyptus oil provides for our skin are the following:
- antiseptic and antibacterial effects;
- antioxidant properties;
- astringent; and,
- Ceramide levels increase.
Read on below as we expand on these benefits!
Reduces Inflammation and Fights Acne
Though there haven't been any studies on the antiseptic and antibacterial effects of eucalyptus, light contact of eucalyptus oil on our skin using diffusers can help reap these benefits. The two effects mentioned work together to eliminate harmful bacteria in the air. So, diffusing this oil into the air removes bacteria that can cause harm to the skin!
Keeps The Skin Youthful and Wrinkle-Free
According to studies, eucalyptus oil is an essential source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that target free radicals, protecting cells from damage and death — which make these properties a must for our skin to keep it youthful and glowing!
Tightens The Pores
In cosmetics, eucalyptus oil exhibited properties that work well as an astringent. Astringents are famous for their skin-tightening effect, which lessens the appearance of pores. Alcohol-based astringents littering the market can potentially dry the skin damagingly, especially sensitive types. With eucalyptus oil, you can achieve the skin tightening effect provided by astringents without losing all the moisture from your skin!
Keeps The Skin Hydrated and Supple
This benefit of the eucalyptus oil is relatively new compared to others mentioned above. According to this study, eucalyptus extract can increase the level of ceramides in human skin, improving the water-holding and barrier functions. These improvements in our skin's functions are good news since these mean our skin is less likely to dry out and develop wrinkles.
Plus, improved barrier function helps in the effective absorption of products. So, we can be sure that we are maximizing the benefits of all the products we apply. Some studies have also found that ceramides have anti-aging features!
Dry-skin types and those with psoriasis directly benefit from this. Those with oily skin that want the benefit of astringents but do not want to damage their moisture barrier will also find eucalyptus oil beneficial.
How to Use Eucalyptus Oil
Combining all the skin benefits with the respiratory aid we can gain from eucalyptus oil makes it an exciting essential oil to use!
Imagine coming home after a rough day, looking forward to pampering yourself. You feel a cold starting to affect you — scratchy throat and clogged nose. You grab some eucalyptus oil, slip in a few drops into your moisturizer or grab the DIY recipe you made prior. Then, a few minutes into your routine, you feel your senses refreshed along with your skin.
Isn't that just lovely?
To experience a little something like that, you can incorporate eucalyptus oil into your existing products. You can also use it for your DIY projects.
From the benefits we discussed, using eucalyptus oil in a toner will help in gaining its astringent and ceramide increasing properties more effectively. So, for today, I will share another DIY toner recipe!
Toner with Eucalyptus Oil Recipe
- small glass bowl
- small amber glass spray bottle
- 1/2 cup witch hazel
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 12 drops eucalyptus oil
How To Prepare and Use It?
- Pour the witch hazel into a small bowl.
- Add the filtered water and mix well.
- Add eucalyptus oil and mix well.
- Using a funnel, pour the solution into a small amber-glass spray bottle.
- Store the bottle in a cool, dry place.
Using this toner after your facial wash in the morning or at night will surely refresh your skin and keep your senses alert. You can also bring this with you throughout the day for a quick wake-me-up, especially on sleepy midday atmospheres.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe?
Eucalyptus oil is one of the most extensively studied essential oils because of its popularity. However, it is best to practice caution in using any essential oils.
With all essential oils, you must dilute eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil. Even if you think you don't have sensitive skin, you must still dilute essential oils! Read this guide on dilution so you can be sure to dilute your essential oil adequately.
Always perform a patch test when using new oils. Dilute a small amount of the EO in a carrier oil and place a drop of it on the inner area of your elbow. Leave it on for 24 hours and observe the skin for any reactions.
For safety purposes, it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use essential oils without consulting medical professionals.
For children and the elderly, it is highly advised to contact your physician or doctor before using oils. Self-treatment of chronic diseases by applying eucalyptus oil may also hold serious consequences without professional advice.
How to Choose Eucalyptus Oil
As with all essential oils, remember not to buy eucalyptus oil from food stores. Apart from these reminders, here are the things you should look for when choosing your eucalyptus oil:
- 100% essential oil
- Therapeutic grade
I highly recommend Plant Therapy's eucalyptus oil. Their brand offers the most popular version of the oil, Eucalyptus globulus. They also make sure to provide pure, therapeutic grade, steam-distilled, undiluted, and unadulterated essential oils. Plus, it's organic. So, you can be sure that you can reap the benefits of the oil and not just the scent!
There is more to eucalyptus oil than just your regular household cold remedy. The fruits of hard labor researchers have done allow us to bask in the glorious skin benefits that essential oils can give.
It is normal to be excited to use any essential oils, but be sure to do some research of your own if you have any doubts. Safety must be above all in our skin care adventures.
Thank you for reading the post!
Have you used eucalyptus oil before? Do you have any DIY recipes with this oil that you love? Share in the comments below!
Stay tuned and take skin care