Essential Oil of the Month: Eucalyptus~for colds and flu Remember Vicks Vapor Rub? When I was a child and caught a cold, my Mother would slather Vicks on my chest and back, wrap me in a warm towel and I would get relief from my cold symptoms, and yep, one of the active ingredients in Vicks is Eucalyptus essential oil. Now that I’m older-I don’t use Vicks anymore since I learned it had petroleum products in it, but I still go to Eucalyptus Essential oil to help clear congestion and to make me feel better when I get sick. Eucalyptus is an amazing plant with wonderful healing properties. There are hundreds of different species in the Eucalyptus family but our focus is on Eucalyptus globulas as it is the most widely used today. The history of Eucalyptus globulus is that it is a tree native to Tasmania and southeastern Australia. It was introduced to California in 1856 and into Hawaii about 1865. I remember when I was growing up I used to climb a large old grandmother eucalyptus tree in my Aunts backyard in California. On warm humid days the whole back yard would smell like camphor- I think it’s what drew me to the arms of this beautiful tree-I would sit on her branches and just smell the sweetness of her-breathing deep. Eucalypyus is an important source of fuel wood for many countries as it burns freely, leaves little ash and produces good charcoal. It’s a very sustainable tree and can be harvested every 7 years. It is also used for windbreaks, shelterbelts and sight and sound barriers along highways. It can be planted as an ornamental and is a source of nectar for honey production. Eucalyptus is planted in North Africa to block the spread of malaria by repelling mosquitoes and in ancient times, Australian aborigines placed the leaves of eucalyptus on wounds to cleanse and heal them. The tree leaves are steam distilled to produce Eucalyptus essential oil which is used in numerous commercial applications. From the food industry, where it’s used as a flavor ingredient in beverages, dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, and puddings. And in the cosmetic industry it’s used in soaps, detergents, air fresheners, bath oils, perfumes and many more products. In pharmaceutical preparations it is used for its diaphoretic, expectorant, and insecticidal properties. The oil has antifungal and antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. It’s used in cold and cough medicines, disinfectants, antiseptic liniments, ointments, toothpastes and mouthwashes.
From an aromatherapy perspective, Eucalyptus essential oil is well known for its antibacterial, antiseptic, disinfecting and expectorant properties. The oil is used for colds, flu, coughs, congestion, sinusitis, respiratory infections, skin and throat infections, inflammation, sores, wounds and even as a natural insect repellent.
One of my favorite ways to use Eucalyptus Essential oil is as a steam. I add boiling hot steamy water to a shatterproof bowl, add 3-5 drops of the essential oils, place my face over the steam, covering my head with a towel and I breathe in deeply. This cleans out my sinuses thoroughly and relieves pressure and congestion. I also add it to my insect repellant sprays and to my homemade -Vicks like -salves
• To use: Apply topically, diffuse, add to humidifier water, vaporizer, massage, compress, inhalation, bathing or add to other existing products • Blends well with these essential oils: Rosemary, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Pine, Sandalwood, and Thyme
Journey Health Shop has Eucalyptus Essential and Breathe Easy Essential Oil blends. Stop in Today for all your Natural Remedy Needs.