Eucalyptus Essential Oil Will Solve All of Your Respiratory Woes
and Then Some
Plant name: Blue Gum Eucalyptus
Latin name: Eucalyptus globulus
Parts used: Certified organic, steam distilled essential oil from leaves
Sourced from: Portugal
As someone who grew up in Northern California, it is impossible for me to smell eucalyptus without conjuring up images of the hills behind my grandmother’s house, or the sight of evening fog rolling in off the San Francisco Bay. This slightly sweet, intensely menthol scent will forever remind me of the stands of eucalyptus that dot California’s northern coast.
Despite my nostalgia for eucalyptus in California, this tree is originally from Australia. There are now over 700 species of eucalyptus growing all over the world, with the Blue Gum variety being the most widely used for extracting essential oil.
HOW CAN EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL HELP ME AND MY SKIN?
Eucalyptus is antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic. It is effective for applying to wounds, sores, bug bites, acne, and minor burns to prevent or cleanse an infection. Eucalyptus also makes for a great addition to our natural deodorants because it prevents the growth of bacteria that cause stinky pits!
Eucalyptus essential oil is also useful for easing muscular aches and pains, including rheumatoid arthritis. You can mix it with a moisturizing cream to apply directly to areas where you are experiencing muscle and joint pain, or soreness.
Ancient Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine both use eucalyptus as a decongestant and expectorant. Aboriginal people also used it to reduce a fever, fight off the flu, and treat sinus infections. Eucalyptus essential oil is especially good for the respiratory system (it is one of the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub), and it can clear mucus from the lungs and sinuses and relieve asthmatic symptoms. We love using a few drops of this oil in the shower or bath for an invigorating steam that clears congestion.
The cooling, refreshing scent of eucalyptus can also help clear your mind and emotions. It can boost energy levels when you are tired, aid in focusing your mind, and calm negative emotions. You can benefit from these aromatherapeutic qualities by using a eucalyptus-infused cream, adding the leaves or essential oils to your shower or bath, or by using the oil in a diffuser.
Eucalyptus oil should always be used in small amounts and kept away from the faces of children, elders, epileptics, pregnant people, or people with sensitivities.
Check out our Essential Oil Safety Primer for more on how to safely enjoy eucalyptus and other essential oils!
IS EUCALYPTUS GOOD FOR THE PLANET?
As a highly invasive species with long, strong root systems, eucalyptus trees can be beneficial for certain climates, but they can also cause complications. Its long roots are highly absorbent, so eucalyptus trees have been planted in wetland areas to soak up excess water and prevent mosquito-borne diseases. Because it grows well and proliferates easily, eucalyptus trees are a renewable source for industrial lumber, pulp, charcoal, and pharmaceuticals.
Unfortunately, eucalyptus’ long roots and leaves full of volatile oils can pose problems for other plants. In places like California, non-native Eucalyptus trees have contributed to the loss of certain native plant species and the wildlife that depend upon those plants. Because eucalyptus trees grow closely together and contain a lot of oils, they also pose a wildfire risk in California, Australia, and other dry areas of the world. These thirsty trees do not do well during times of drought, can catch fire easily and cause fires to spread quickly among the canopy.
Despite the fire risk they pose, Eucalyptus trees are resilient. If they are burnt or damaged but the trunk remains, a eucalyptus tree can produce new buds from deep within the trunk, allowing it to continue to grow and fix carbon into the soil. Their foliage and flowers are also attractive to pollinators like bees, birds, butterflies, and tree-dwelling mammals vital to biodiversity.
The eucalyptus essential oil that we use is steam-distilled from the leaves of organically grown blue gum trees. These are the products that we use it in:
Essential Oil Flight
Rosemary Eucalyptus Lip Balm
Eucalyptus Lemon Deodorant
Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap
The Meow Meow Tweet blog is a collaborative thought project between the founders of Meow Meow Tweet and our editorial team. This post was written by Faye Lessler.