The eucalyptus tree originated in Australia and Tasmania, but has now been spread to all other inhabited continents. There are many different varieties of eucalyptus, with somewhat differing constituents. The most common type used medicinally is eucalyptus globules. Its
Eucalyptus oil has long history of use as a topical antiseptic. It has also been used as a lozenge or inhalation therapy for asthma, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory conditions.
What is Eucalyptus Used for Today?
A standardized combination of cineol from eucalyptus, d-limonene from citrus fruit, and alpha-pinene from pine has been studied for effectiveness in a variety of respiratory conditions. These oils are all in a chemical family called monoterpenes, and for this reason the combined treatment is called “ essential oil monoterpenes
Eucalyptus oil or its constituents taken alone have undergone only limited study. It appears to be most promising as a treatment for the common cold. However, concerns about
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 152 people, use of cineol at a dose of 200 mg three times daily markedly improved symptoms of the
In another study, 32 people on steroids to control severe
In one double-blind study, chewing gum containing eucalyptus extract was more beneficial for moderate gingivitis compared to a placebo gum.
The studied dosage of cineole is 200 mg three times daily for adults. Internal use of cineole or eucalyptus oil should be avoided in children.
In the gingivitis study, chewing gum containing 0.4% and 0.6% eucalyptus extracts were used.
For use as an insect repellent, 25-50 ml of the oil is added to 500 ml of water. Do not use in children under age 12.
As an inhalant, a few drops of eucalyptus oil are added to a vaporizer.
Internal use of eucalyptus oil at appropriate doses by healthy people can cause nausea, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rash.
Excessive dosages can be fatal, especially to children. Inhalation of the oil can exacerbate asthma in some people. Application of cineole to the entire body resulted in severe nervous system poisoning in a 6-year-old child.
Although no drug interactions of eucalyptus are firmly documented, there are theoretical reasons to believe it could interact with a number of medications, either raising or lowering their levels.
6. Tesche S, Metternich F, Sonnemann U, et al. The value of herbal medicines in the treatment of acute non-purulent rhinosinusitis : Results of a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Apr 25.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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