Eucalyptus is a fast-growing evergreen tree native to Australia. As an ingredient in many products, it is used to reduce symptoms of coughs, colds, and congestion. It also features in creams and ointments aimed at relieving muscle and joint pain.
The oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree is used as an antiseptic, a perfume, as an ingredient in cosmetics, as a flavoring, in dental preparations, and in industrial solvents.
Chinese, Indian Ayurvedic, Greek, and other European styles of medicine have incorporated it into the treatment of a range of conditions for thousands of years.
There are over 400 different species of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus globulus, also known as Blue Gum, is the main source of eucalyptus oil used globally.
Leaves are steam distilled to extract the oil, which is a colorless liquid with a strong, sweet, woody scent. It contains 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol.
Eucalyptus is believed to have a number of medicinal properties, although not all of them have been confirmed by research. Below we outline some of its potential health benefits.
Interestingly, toward the end of the 19th century, eucalyptus oil was used in most hospitals in England to clean urinary catheters. Modern research is now starting to back this practice up.
In February 2016, researchers from Serbia found evidence supporting the antimicrobial action of eucalyptus.
They concluded that a positive interaction between E. camaldulensis essential oil (a tree in the Eucalyptus family) and existing antibiotics could lead to the development of new treatment strategies for certain infections.
They hope that this property could eventually reduce the need for antibiotics.
A studyTrusted Source published in Clinical Microbiology & Infection suggests that eucalyptus oil may have antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria in the upper respiratory tract, including Haemophilus influenzae, a bacteria responsible for a range of infectionsTrusted Source, and some strains of streptococcus.
Colds and respiratory problems
Eucalyptus features in a range of preparations to relieve symptoms of the common cold, for example, cough lozenges and inhalants.
Herbal remedies recommend using fresh leaves in a gargle to relieve a sore throat, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Also, eucalyptus oil vapor appears to act as a decongestant when inhaled. It is a popular home remedy for colds and bronchitis.
It may act as an expectorant for loosening phlegm and easing congestion. A number of cough medications include eucalyptus oil, including Vicks VapoRub.
Researchers have called for further studies to clarify the possible therapeutic role of eucalyptus leaf extract in the treatment of respiratory tract infection.
Eucalyptus and dental care
The antibacterial and antimicrobial potential of eucalyptus has been harnessed for use in some mouthwash and dental preparations. ………………. ………………. Continue Reading ………………. ……………….