Eucalyptus oil has a multitude of uses and can be found in many everyday products. Many species of eucalyptus plants exist, but not all yield eucalyptus oil, which has a fresh scent and many useful properties. Eucalyptus oil is derived from steaming the leaves and bark of certain eucalyptus trees and plants.
The deodorizing and microbial properties of eucalyptus oil make it useful as a cleaner and disinfectant. It is an ingredient in many mouthwash products and has applications in wound dressings. Eucalyptus oil is said to decrease the amount of airborne bacteria and can be added to water in humidifiers and steam rooms to help detoxify them. Mixed with water, it makes a general household cleaner.
This oil is widely used in veterinary medicine both as a medicinal agent and insect repellent. It can be sprayed on animals to help prevent fleas and ticks and is sometimes painted on horses' hooves to treat and prevent infection. Evidence exists that it will kill dust mites and it can be sprayed on plants to protect them from predatory insects.
Eucalyptus oil is used in soap for its germicidal and aromatherapy benefits. When used for aromatherapy purposes, eucalyptus oil can combat exhaustion and mental sluggishness. Although no scientific evidence exists to support the theory, many believe that the scent of eucalyptus promotes the feeling of mental well-being. Candles, massage oils and bath products attempt to capitalize on the benefits of eucalyptus’ scent.
Eucalyptus oil is widely used in home remedies. A couple of drops added to massage oil can be rubbed into the temples to relieve sinus pressure, or used to relieve sore muscles and joint pain. It is found in topical ointments that can be applied to the chest to act as a decongestant.
This oil also comes in forms that can be inhaled to break up upper respiratory tract infections. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties which make it useful for bronchitis-like conditions. Eucalyptus oil is found in many brands of cough drops and throat lozenges.
Adding eucalyptus oil to shampoo can help treat dandruff, and used in body lotion, it can calm irritated skin. The oil can be very effective in small concentrations to soothe burns and treat insect stings and bites. Caution needs to be exercised when dealing with the oil in highly concentrated forms, as too much of it can burn and aggravate the skin. It can also be poisonous when too much is ingested.