Native to Australia and a favorite meal for koalas, the eucalyptus tree is sometimes called the Australian fever tree or gum tree. The oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves is an important ingredient in over-the-counter mouthwashes and decongestants. Herbalists include small amounts of the oil in several preparations, including gargles for sore throats, topical antiseptics for skin injuries, rubs for arthritis and inhalants for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. The active ingredient in the eucalyptus leaf, a chemical called eucalyptol, is believed to be effective both in treating respiratory problems and, because of its antibacterial action, as a topical antiseptic.
Applied externally for:
Used as an inhalant in an extremely diluted form for:
Over the counter:
Available in dry bulk, tinctures and oils.
Inhalant: 1 to 3 drops of the oil placed in a bowl, to which 1 pint of boiling water is added; steam inhaled until the vapors disappear.
Antiseptic: Oil diluted with an equal amount of an alcohol-based topical antiseptic, and applied to cuts and other open wounds after you have washed them with soap.
Rub: 1 to 5 drops eucalyptus oil mixed with 1 cup olive oil.