Eucalyptus essential oil is a wonderful staple for this time of year. A bottle graces the window sill of my bathroom all season long. Steam distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Eucalyptus globulus tree, this oil is clear or sometimes pale yellow, with a strong camphoraceous aroma that has a soft woody undertone. It feels thin when rubbed between the fingers and evaporates quickly.

Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and the surrounding islands, but have been cultivated and can now be found worldwide in subtropical climates. There are over 20 species that are used to produce oil which can be divided into three types. Medicinal eucalyptus oils such as E. globulus have high contents of eucalyptol. Industrial eucalyptus oils have higher quantities of terpenes, and aromatic eucalyptus oils such as Eucalyptus Lemon (E. citriodora).

Eucalyptol, also know as 1,8-cineole and cajuputol when it is found in cajeput oil, is an oxide that gives eucalyptus its expectorant properties. E. globulus usually contains around 70% of this constituent, but can contain anywhere between 54% and 95%.

Eucalyptus is mostly known for its expectorant and disinfectant/antibacterial properties. Around the house it can be added to cleaners and sanitizers, and makes an effective deodorizer for shoes (1 drop on a cotton ball placed in each shoe) and trashcans (1 drop directly into the can).

As an expectorant, eucalyptus oil can be added to an inhalation or diffuser blend, a massage oil, or a homemade ointment. If I think that I’m coming down with something or am feeling congested, I like to put a couple drops of eucalyptus oil directly on a wash cloth and place it in the bathtub while I’m taking a shower. The heat slowly releases the oil making a wonderful steam that clears and soothes the respiratory system.

To learn more about Eucalyptus oil visit our Lean More link here.

Next month look for my Guide to Dilutions!