Eucalyptus Oil - January Featured Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil is the generic name for distilled oil from the aromatic leaf of Eucalyptus, a genus of the plant family Myrtaceae native to Australia and cultivated worldwide. The leaves of selected Eucalyptus species are steam distilled to extract eucalyptus oil.

The most common eucalyptus species in the world is also known as Nilgiri tree, blue gum tree or fever tree. The tree was orignally native to Australia and is now naturalized in many countries, including Spain, China and Portugal. Its leaves are extremely rich in eucalyptol.

Eucalyptol is used in cough medicines, as well as muscle-warming ointments and liniments. The eucalyptus essential oil contains about 70% eucalyptol, making it an effective remedy for chesty coughs. The oil has a clean, medicinal and penetrating aroma with lovely fresh notes. Eucalyptus oil has a history of wide application, as a pharmaceutical and with antiseptic, repellent, flavouring, fragrance and industrial uses.

Safety with Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Holistic Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

These are some common and widely known uses of eucalyptus essential oil that can be of great use in day to day life. Again, eucalyptus essential oil contains about 70% eucalyptol.

Special Blends

Add these essential oils to 20ml (4 tsp) carrier oil.
  1. To soothe dry or chesty coughs
    4 drops Eucalyptus
    2 drops Myrrh
    4 drops Himalayan Cedarwood
  2. To warm and soothe painful muscles
    4 drops Eucalyptus
    2 drops Ginger
    4 drops Rosemary

Supporting the Spirit

Eucalyptus essential oil dissolves feelings of melancholy and restores positive energy. It is also very helpful in improving brain alertness and concentration.
  1. To lift depression and bring a sense of release, vaporize 3 drops Eucalyptus and 3 drops Peppermint.
  2. To clear a muddled head, vaporize 3 drops Lemon with 3 drops Eucalyptus.
  3. To clear cluttered thoughts, take a bath with 2 drops Eucalyptus and 4 drops Frankincense.
  4. To clear the mind and improve concentration, vaporize 3 drops Silver Fir and 3 drops Eucalyptus.

Healing the Body

  1. To ease breathing during colds, bronchitis or episodes of sinusitis or hay fever, or to help to prevent airborne infection, vaporize 3 drops Eucalyptus and 3 drops Tea Tree.
  2. To relieve symptoms of acute bronchitis or sinusitis try an inhalation with 3 drops Niaouli and 3 drops Eucalyptus.
  3. To ease coughs, mix Eucalyptus with Myrrh and Himalayan Cedarwood in a carrier oil (special blend #1 above) and rub it into the chest, morning and evening.
  4. To clear blocked nasal passages, try an inhalation with 3 drops Eucalyptus and 3 drops Lavandin.
  5. To clear blocked nasal passages, try an inhalation with 2 drops Cajeput and 4 drops Eucalyptus. You can add a few drops of this oil in your handkerchief in case you are don't have time to do an inhalation.
  6. To ease a stuffy head, try an inhalation with 3 drops Eucalyptus and 3 drops Scots Pine.
  7. To ease stiff or pulled muscles, mix Eucalyptus with Ginger and Rosemary in a carrier oil (special blend #2 above) and rub it into the affected areas twice a day. This mixture can also help with relaxation.
  8. Eucalyptus essential oil also acts like an antibacterial agent and can be successfully utilized in the treatment of stings, cuts, minor scrapes, burns, and insect bites.
  9. Eucalyptus essential oil can also be used for the treatment of fungal infections such as athlete foot.
  10. It is also very effective in preventing and fighting against scalp infections and dandruff. The regular massage of this oil can result in a great change in your scalp condition. You just need to massage this oil gently into the scalp before shampooing. Many anti dandruff shampoos in the market add this in their list of ingredients.

Other Uses

  1. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used as an insect repellent and biopesticide.

General Information on Eucalyptus Oil

Types and production

Eucalyptus oils in the trade are categorized into three broad types according to their composition and main end-use: medicinal, perfumery and industrial. The most prevalent is the standard cineole-based "oil of eucalyptus", a colourless mobile liquid (yellow with age) with a penetrating, camphoraceous, woody-sweet scent. China produces about 75% of the world trade, but most of this is derived from camphor oil fractions rather than being true eucalyptus oil. Significant producers of true eucalyptus oil include South Africa, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Chile and Swaziland.

Global production is dominated by Eucalyptus globulus. However, Eucalyptus kochii and Eucalyptus polybractea have the highest cineole content, ranging from 80-95%. The British Pharmacopoeia states that the oil must have a minimum cineole content of 70% if it is pharmaceutical grade. Rectification is used to bring lower grade oils up to the high cineole standard required. Global annual production of eucalyptus oil is estimated at 3,000 tonnes. The eucalyptus genus also produces non-cineole oils, including piperitone, phellandrene, citral, methyl cinnamate and geranyl acetate.


Australian Aboriginals use eucalyptus leaf infusions as a traditional medicine for treating body pains, sinus congestion, fever, and colds. Dennis Considen and John White, surgeons on the First Fleet, distilled eucalyptus oil from Eucalyptus piperita found growing on the shores of Port Jackson in 1788 to treat convicts and marines. Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, Victorian botanist, promoted the qualities of Eucalyptus as a disinfectant in "fever districts". Surgeons were using eucalyptus oil as an antiseptic during surgery by the 1880s.

Applications of Eucalyptus Oil

Medicinal and antiseptic
The cineole-based oil is used as component in pharmaceutical preparations to relieve the symptoms of influenza and colds, in products like cough sweets, lozenges, ointments and inhalants. Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria in the respiratory tract. Inhaled eucalyptus oil vapor is a decongestant and treatment for bronchitis. Cineole controls airway mucus hypersecretion and asthma via anti-inflammatory cytokine inhibition. Eucalyptus oil also stimulates immune system response by effects on the phagocytic ability of human monocyte derived macrophages. Eucalyptus oil also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities as a topically applied liniment ingredient. Eucalyptus oil is also used in personal hygiene products for antimicrobial properties in dental care and soaps. It can also be applied to wounds to prevent infection.
Repellent and biopesticide
Cineole-based eucalyptus oil is used as an insect repellent and biopesticide. In the U.S., eucalyptus oil was first registered in 1948 as an insecticide and miticide.
Eucalyptus oil is used in flavouring. Cineole-based eucalyptus oil is used as a flavouring at low levels (0.002%) in various products, including baked goods, confectionery, meat products and beverages. Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial activity against a broad range of foodborne human pathogens and food spoilage microorganisms.
Eucalyptus oil is also used as a fragrance component to impart a fresh and clean aroma in soaps, detergents, lotions and perfumes.


  1. The Essential Oils Handbook, Jennie Harding, Watkins Publishing, London, 2008.