Eucalyptus Oil Guide + 5 Weird Eucalyptus Facts You Never Knew
If you’ve ever had a stuffy nose or cough, you’ve probably used over-the-counter remedies with eucalyptus oil in them. Eucalyptus oil is often used in cold and congestion products to help get you through the sniffles, but you may be surprised to know that eucalyptus oil uses don’t stop there.
The clean fresh scent and the therapeutic benefits of eucalyptus essential oil can also be applied to your home, laundry, beauty routine and natural skin care. Read on for eucalyptus essential oil recipes plus some fun facts about eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus Definition and History
Merriam-Webster defines eucalyptus as “a genus (Eucalyptus) of mostly Australian evergreen trees or rarely shrubs of the myrtle family that have rigid entire leaves and umbellate flowers and are widely cultivated for their gums, resins, oils, and woods” (1)
There are more than 800 species of eucalyptus plants, the majority of which are native to the Australian continent. (2) However, eucalyptus tree crops have been cultivated all around the world for a variety of uses.
Several common uses of eucalyptus include drying out swampland to control malaria outbreaks, pulpwood for making paper, burning the wood for energy, and of course using eucalyptus leaves to produce eucalyptus essential oil. (3)
Eucalyptus oil is most commonly extracted from the Eucalyptus globulus species also known as the blue gum or Tasmanian blue gum tree. (4) As you might have guessed, the Tasmanian blue gum is a eucalyptus tree species native to Australia where it naturally grows in abundance— what you might not know is that this tree is also abundant across central California, USA and it’s coastline. (5)
Eucalyptus tree cultivation in California: In 1848 James Wilson Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. This discovery ignited a “gold fever” that started on the West Coast and swept across the U.S. Within a year people were migrating to California from all over the world, including Australia. (6)
Eucalyptus tree seed packets introduced by Australian gold miners seemed to be a miracle source of timber for desperate Gold Rush settlers. The Eucalyptus globulus genus especially, was planted commercially on a large-scale starting in the 1870s. Although the trees grew fast, it turned out they don’t produce quality hardwood lumber until they’re 75-100 years old! The young eucalyptus tree wood that was harvested was basically useless for building. (7)
Although eucalyptus trees are still cultivated for timber, today eucalyptus oil is highly valued for use in cosmetics, fragrances, and aromatherapy products. (8) The average person can use eucalyptus essential oils for anything from cleaning house to refreshing sweaty feet after a good work-out.
Eucalyptus Oil Uses Around The House
The eucalyptus plant has long been associated with purifying the air and living spaces. In nineteenth century England, eucalyptus oil was used to clean certain instruments in hospitals because it was believed to contain antimicrobial properties. (9) This was at a time when the scientific community was just discovering microbes and developing germ theory.
Although it’s pretty interesting to think about, relying on health practices from more than 200 years ago is never a great idea. However, according to Medical News Today “In February 2016, researchers from Serbia found evidence supporting the antimicrobial action of eucalyptus.” (10) A more recent study in 2017 identified eucalyptus oil as one of three essential oils that have potential to combat fungal contamination of indoor air. (11)
Regardless, using eucalyptus essential oil to clean and perfume your home is a great way to add a clean fresh feel to your space.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Diffuser: Adding a few drops of eucalyptus or an essential oil blend with eucalyptus in your oil diffuser is the easiest way to incorporate it into every day use in your home. The aromatherapy benefits of eucalyptus oil include a clean fresh feeling and clearing the mind, which creates an atmosphere that promotes concentration and focus.
Use Eucalyptus Oil for Cleaning: A simple vinegar spray is a tried and true for all-purpose cleaning with natural ingredients. Adding eucalyptus essential oil takes your spray to the next level adding a fresh clean scent. To make your own eucalyptus cleaning spray, mix 1 cup of water, 1 cup of distilled white vinegar and 10-20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a spray bottle. Give it a swirl and you’re ready to get cleaning.
DIY Eucalyptus Static Spray*: Commercial static sprays smell gross and are chocked full of weird chemicals. Making your own essential oil static spray is a game changer! All you have to do is fill a spray bottle with witch hazel (16-24 fl oz is a good size), and equal parts rosehip oil and eucalyptus oil (about 10 drops each.) Mist your clothing to get rid of that pesky static cling while also adding a long-lasting clean fresh scent. This particular DIY eucalyptus oil spray is also a great way to freshen coats and jackets in between dry cleaning.
*Always test any laundry care product on an inconspicuous part of the garment such as a seam or hem. Do not use on leather.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe for Dogs & Cats?
The answer is NO. Even though we treat our pets like family, it’s important to remember that they are not humans and physiologically are very different from us. While eucalyptus essential oil has many benefits for humans, it can be extremely dangerous for animals.
Second, even though some pet products may advertise using eucalyptus oil for fleas, these products are very carefully formulated to contain only extremely small amounts of eucalyptus oil. Mixing your own eucalyptus essential oil flea treatment could seriously harm your pet even if your ratios are only a little bit off. Bottom line: using eucalyptus oil for fleas should be left to the professionals. Do not use eucalyptus oil on your pets.
Essential Oil Blends with Eucalyptus for Beauty & Grooming
Manyessential oils, including eucalyptus essential oil, are widely known to be a budget friendly antiseptic treatment. (14) With its antibacterial properties (15) and its clean fresh scent, eucalyptus oil has a variety of beauty, grooming, and wellness applications.
Deodorizing: Nobody likes to smell, but many products that make us smell good contain harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients that can cause us harm over time. Body odor is caused by the “interaction of your naturally-produced proteins with typically harmless bacteria on your skin.” (16) Reducing bacteria on the skin is one method widely used to deodorize the body.
One way to avoid the odor and still be gentle on your skin is to add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to your favorite body wash. A high-quality essential oil body wash already formulated with eucalyptus essential oil is also a great option.
Clear Skin: Finding a great skin care routine for your face can be especially tough. There are many acne treatments out there with harsh chemicals that can be damaging to sensitive skin types, or just not work at all. Understanding the causes of acne and using natural skin care products can help your skin look better while still being gentle on your face. Essential oil soaps or a face wash with eucalyptus essential oil are two great options.
Just like with body odor, that pesky bacteria is also one of the main causes of acne. (17) Reducing bacteria on the skin may lead to less breakouts. Eucalyptus essential oil has also shown potential in healing wounds, which could help reduce the appearance of red spots. (18)
Scalp Cleanser: Dandruff from a dry itchy scalp is no fun. Over-the-counter dandruff shampoos may treat an itchy scalp, but can wreak havoc on your hair. Natural hair products with essential oils smell great and also leave your hair looking and feeling better.
Adding a few drops of an essential oil blend with eucalyptus to your shampoo can help cleanse and soothe an itchy scalp. Doing the same with your favorite hydrating hair mask can also help hydrate both scalp and hair.
5 Weird Eucalyptus Facts
The folk ballad “Waltzing Matilda,” also known as Australia’s unofficial national anthem, dates back to 1895. The coolibah trees referenced in the song are eucalyptus trees. (19)
Eucalyptus regnans is the world’s tallest flowering plant. The tallest living E. regnans plant on record came in at a staggering 326.77 feet (99.6 metres) tall! (20)
The gorgeous blue haze you see in Australian landscape photos is oil evaporating straight from the eucalyptus leaves when the weather’s warm. (21)
The beautiful “rainbow eucalyptus” is named for the stripes of bright blue, green, orange, red and gray bark exposed when the top layer of bark naturally falls away each season. It’s the only eucalyptus tree native to North America. (24)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.