The oil that comes from the eucalyptus tree is used as an antiseptic, a perfume, as an ingredient in cosmetics, as a flavouring, 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 colourless liquid with a strong, sweet, woody scent. It contains 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol.
Eucalyptus and dental care
Antibacterial and antimicrobial potential of eucalyptus has been harnessed for use in some mouthwash and dental preparations.
In promoting dental health, eucalyptus appears to be active in fighting bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontitis.
Eucalyptus is an effective insect repellent and insecticide. In 1948, the United States officially registered eucalyptus oil as an insecticide and miticide, for killing mites and ticks.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is recommended by some as an insect repellant; it is effective at keeping mosquitoes away.
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.
Respiratory conditions such as asthma and sinusitis may be helped by inhaling steam with added eucalyptus oil. The oil reacts with mucous membranes, not only reducing mucus but helping loosen it so that you can cough it up.
It’s also possible that eucalyptus blocks asthma symptoms. On the other hand, for people who are allergic to eucalyptus, it may worsen their asthma. More research is needed to determine how eucalyptus affects people with asthma.
Mint isn’t the only weapon against stinky breath. Because of its antibacterial properties, eucalyptus oil can be used to fight the germs that cause unfortunate mouth odor. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes contain the essential oil as an active ingredient.