Eucalyptus oil: How to use it & proven effects of the essential all-rounder

Frau im Morgenmantel sitzt im Schein einer Kerze an Holztisch, auf dem natürliche ätherische Öle für anstehende Behandlung stehen

Eucalyptus oil is extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree ( Eucalyptus globulus ). Although most of us know eucalyptus primarily in the form of cough drops, the oil has a variety of other uses. The oil is also used in natural medicine, aromatherapy and pharmacy. Its rich chemical composition gives it a wide range of applications, ranging from relieving respiratory problems to pest control.

In the following article, you will learn what you can use eucalyptus oil for and what makes it so special. You will also receive important information about the side effects, which should not be underestimated for certain people.

What is eucalyptus oil?

Eucalyptus oil is extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree ( Eucalyptus globulus ) or other eucalyptus species. It is known for its refreshing and invigorating scent, which can have both a calming and revitalizing effect . The chemical composition of eucalyptus oil, particularly the high content of eucalyptol ( cineole ), gives it its therapeutic properties and makes it very special. The following compounds make eucalyptus oil what it is:

  • Eucalyptol ( Cineole ): Eucalyptol is the dominant compound in eucalyptus oil and gives it its characteristic fresh, balsamic scent. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties that can help with respiratory problems.
  • Alpha-pinene: Alpha-pinene is a terpene and is a volatile organic substance extracted from plants. It gives the oil its fresh and woody smell and also has antimicrobial properties .
  • Limonene: Another terpene found in eucalyptus oil that gives it its lemony scent. Limonene also has antimicrobial properties.
  • Terpineol: A compound with a pleasant floral scent that is often found in essential oils and can have a calming effect .
  • Alpha-Terpineol: This compound has a sweet, fresh smell and has similar calming properties as terpineol .
  • Globulol: A terpene alcohol found in eucalyptus oil that may also have antimicrobial properties .

Good to know: The individual compounds and their mixture vary depending on the eucalyptus species and country of origin. Natural eucalyptus oil is often obtained by steam distillation of the leaves. This type of production helps to gently extract the valuable compounds.

Eucalyptus oil: How you can use the essential oil to your advantage

Eucalyptus oil can be used in a variety of ways. But be careful: in high concentrations, eucalyptus oil can have a toxic effect ! Therefore, you should make sure that the dosage is not too high and that the essential oil is diluted with a base oil such as almond or jojoba oil. For optimal compatibility, we recommend mixing 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus oil with a tablespoon of base oil . In this ratio, it is completely harmless and can be used as follows:

  • Respiratory problems: Eucalyptus oil has excellent expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful for colds, coughs, bronchitis and sinusitis. To clear the airways and ease breathing, it can be used as an adjunct to inhalation or as a chest massager .
  • Inflammation and Pain: The anti-inflammatory properties of eucalyptus oil make it a useful remedy in relieving pain and inflammation, such as those that can occur with arthritis and muscle injuries. For optimal results, the oil is massaged into the affected areas of the body .
  • Stress reduction and relaxation: The pleasant scent of eucalyptus oil can have a calming effect on the nervous system and thus reduce stress and tension. It is therefore often used in aromatherapy to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Aroma diffuser that distributes the scent of essential oil in a room

Image source: Unsplash

  • Disinfectant and cleaning agent: Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This is precisely why the oil can also be used as a natural disinfectant and cleaning agent. It is suitable for cleaning surfaces and helps you to ward off germs that are harmful to your health.
  • Natural insect repellent: Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are allergic to the scent of eucalyptus oil. Therefore, it is perfect as a natural insect repellent and is suitable for filling room diffusers, preparing scented sachets or for external use on the skin .
  • Scalp and hair care: Eucalyptus oil can help with scalp problems such as dandruff or itching and promote hair growth. Many manufacturers have discovered this positive effect and use the oil's excellent properties in their hair care products.
  • Oral and dental care: Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, eucalyptus oil is also known as an effective ingredient in mouthwashes and dental care products. When used regularly , the oil helps against bad breath and can even help fight gingivitis .

Eucalyptus oil side effects: What you should pay attention to when using it

Essential oils are highly concentrated and should always be diluted with a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil before being applied to the skin. But even then they can cause allergic reactions in certain people. Here's what you should consider before using them:

Allergies and sensitivities: Some people may be allergic to essential oils. Therefore, a tolerance test should always be carried out before applying to large areas .

Caution when using internally: Pure eucalyptus oil is poisonous and should not be ingested. Side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and allergic reactions are not uncommon.

Be careful with asthma and respiratory problems: People with respiratory problems should use eucalyptus oil with caution. In some cases, it can cause breathing problems.

Good to know: Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and people with certain health problems should not use eucalyptus oil without consulting a doctor!

Inhaling eucalyptus oil: the beneficial effects

Inhaling eucalyptus oil vapor has a diverse and proven effect on the respiratory system and general well-being. This is mainly due to the chemical components of eucalyptus oil, particularly eucalyptol ( cineole ) and the monoterpenes it contains. The following effects are known:

  1. Expectorant effect: Eucalyptus oil has a strong expectorant property that is beneficial for respiratory problems such as colds, coughs, bronchitis and sinusitis. Inhaling the essential oil vapor helps to loosen stuck mucus in the respiratory tract and make it easier to cough up.
  1. Anti-inflammatory effect: Eucalyptus oil has an anti-inflammatory effect on the respiratory tract. It can soothe inflamed mucous membranes and thereby reduce irritation and swelling.
  1. Airway dilation: Eucalyptus oil can help dilate the airways by relaxing the bronchial tubes. This can be particularly beneficial for asthma and other respiratory conditions as it makes breathing easier.
  1. Bacterial and viral defense: Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial properties that may help fight off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in the respiratory tract. This may help prevent or reduce the severity of infections.
  1. Calming effect: The pleasant scent of eucalyptus oil has a calming effect on the nervous system and reduces stress and tension symptoms. Inhaling the steam can therefore have a relaxing effect on the body, mind and soul.
  1. Improved breathing quality: Inhaling eucalyptus oil vapor can cleanse the airways, which can lead to improved breathing quality. People with allergies or respiratory diseases in particular benefit from this positive effect.

Eucalyptus steam bath during pregnancy: unproblematic or to be enjoyed with caution?

During pregnancy , it is important to exercise caution and pay attention to certain things.

This also includes the use of essential oils such as eucalyptus oil. Since every pregnancy is different and different factors must be taken into account, you should always consult a qualified doctor or midwife before using essential oils . As you will read shortly, there are several reasons for this precautionary measure.

Eucalyptus oil contains the active ingredient eucalyptol ( cineole ), which can have beneficial effects on the respiratory system when inhaled. However, keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated and can pose a potential health risk if not used properly.

Eucalyptus branch

Image source: Unsplash

For example , inhaling eucalyptus oil can cause over-irritation of the respiratory tract in some pregnant women , possibly causing shortness of breath or other symptoms. In addition , essential oils can be absorbed through the skin , which can cause allergic reactions in some pregnant women.

Another point: Due to the diversity of eucalyptus trees and the different chemical compositions of their oils, some varieties can contain more toxic components than others. Especially during pregnancy, even elevated levels can become a problem for mother and child. Pregnant women who want to play it safe should therefore avoid using eucalyptus oil or other essential oils. Unless a doctor or midwife gives the explicit green light.

Buy eucalyptus oil: Why you should pay attention to quality and origin when buying

It is important to purchase high-quality, natural eucalyptus oil from trustworthy manufacturers or specialist retailers. Only then can the best possible effect be achieved. Also make sure that the products are organically grown and free of synthetic additives .

To ensure the shelf life of essential oils, you should store them in a cool, dark place. To minimize contact with air, you must also ensure that the bottles are always tightly closed. Otherwise, essential oils could easily oxidize and lose their effectiveness.


Eucalyptus oil is a valuable essential oil with a wide range of uses and health benefits. When used correctly and in the correct dosage, it can be an ideal addition to your medicine cabinet and your well-being. To avoid possible side effects, you should follow the safety instructions and precautions mentioned. If you have any further questions or concerns, consult a doctor or get information from your trusted pharmacist.

FAQ: Questions & Answers

How to use eucalyptus oil?

Eucalyptus oil can be used in a variety of ways. It can be diluted and applied to the skin, used as an inhalant or used to aromatize rooms.

Can eucalyptus oil be taken orally?

Since eucalyptus oil has toxic properties and can cause serious side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and allergic reactions when taken orally, doctors advise against it.

Can eucalyptus oil be used on pets?

Many pets are sensitive to essential oils. Therefore, use on pets should be avoided or only carried out under veterinary supervision.


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