Most everyone easily recognizes the aroma of eucalyptus oil, but few realize that this perennial tree possesses a wide array of botanical applications. Few people realize the value of eucalyptus for a multitude of industrial products and the advantages that are associated with its use. Many people also are not aware that eucalyptus has been used by indigenous people for centuries, as a medicinal and aromatic oil for ceremonies and rituals. It is widely used by many people today, but koalas usually come to mind when considering eucalyptus. These two species of Australia are the only ones that produce the true eucalyptus from the tree.
In addition to its numerous cosmetic benefits, eucalyptus has been shown to be an effective treatment for a number of health conditions. The oil of the leaves is applied topically to the scalp, as it contains a powerful component that fights against fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms. Other topical applications of the leaves have produced results similar to those produced by prescription medications. Eucalyptus is commonly used for head lice treatments because it kills head lice while still being gentle to the skin.
Like many of the ingredients found in plants, eucalyptus has both medicinal and cosmetic benefits. The oil is applied directly to the scalp, which is particularly effective for hair loss and dandruff. Eucalyptus leaves can also be applied directly to the skin, where they can help to relieve the symptoms of colds, flu, headaches, asthma, indigestion, menstrual pains, sore throats, sinus problems, and other respiratory issues. The Australian branches of the eucalyptus tree were historically used to cure the above-mentioned conditions, as well as being good for the skin, throat, and lungs. Medicinal and other health benefits of eucalyptus can also be derived from its application topically or internally.
The leaves of the eucalyptus tree are extremely aromatic. When fresh leaves are cracked and kept for several days, the eucalyptus oils within the leaves have been proven to have strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties. When these oils are mixed with a few drops of water, a thick foam is formed, which can be sprayed on the skin or taken internally with water. This foam acts as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent against tooth decay and mouth sores.
Clinical trials performed in Australia have proven the efficacy of the eucalyptus oil in the fight against bacteria, yeast, fungi, and parasites (such as Candida and Salmonella). For example, it was shown that it was effective in fighting against bacteria and fungi such as Shigella (which causes infections by yeast), Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus salivarius, and Candida albicans. In addition, it was found to be effective in the treatment of acne. These results were attributed to the antibacterial essential oils found in the tea-tree oil. Therefore, when using tea tree oil to fight off infection, one can see increased protection against bacteria, yeast, and other organisms.
A relatively new use of eucalyptus oil is in the area of insect bites and stings. It is widely accepted that insect bites can cause severe allergic reactions, which can be particularly severe if the individual has no knowledge of any underlying health conditions. For this reason, eucalyptus oil can be used directly on the skin, or massaged into the skin with a small amount of water. While it will not penetrate the skin, it can help to relieve the pain and swelling associated with insect bites. For this reason, many people opt to use eucalyptus oil on the skin when treating insect bites, especially if they are concerned about having an allergic reaction due to the ingredients contained within the tree.
In another study, it was found that using eucalyptus oil on a patient’s burns reduced scarring dramatically. The use of the oil also appeared to be more effective than Listerine in terms of improving healing speed. When looking at the medicinal properties of the leaves, it seems that these medicinal properties are gained from the menthol content. Menthol is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, reducing redness and swelling. This is in addition to the anti-microbial and anti-bacterial effects of the essential oil.
As mentioned earlier, the burning sensation associated with an attack of bronchitis is often thought to be caused by the inhalation of eucalyptus oil. Therefore, the application of eucalyptus oil to the skin can help to alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions such as cough and chest pains. When combined with vitamin C, an essential nutrient, this combination can also prove highly effective in fighting bronchitis. It has also been found that pregnant women can take up to two cups of eucalyptus oil per day without any negative effect occurring.