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What is Lemon Eucalyptus Oil?

By N. Phipps
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Lemon eucalyptus oil is derived from the leaves and twigs of the Eucalyptus citriodora tree. Also referred to as lemon-scented eucalyptus, its pleasant fragrance is similar to citronella — sweet and lemony. Like many types of essential oil, this light yellow extract has many uses. The oil possesses numerous medicinal qualities and is oftentimes found in many products, but is most commonly used as an effective insect repellent.

Considered one of the most effective plant-based insect repellents, lemon eucalyptus oil offers natural and long-lasting protection from insect bites. The oil of lemon eucalyptus provides protection from biting flies, gnats, and mosquitoes. In fact, it has even been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for protection against mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus. Not only does this oil contain chemicals that effectively repel mosquitoes and other bothersome insects, but it can also eliminate fungus.

Lemon eucalyptus oil is a strong anti-fungal and antiseptic, occasionally used to treat athlete’s foot. The oil is used in personal hygiene products, such as soaps, for its antimicrobial properties. Eucalyptus oil also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities and can be applied to wounds to help prevent infection. When diluted, lemon eucalyptus essential oil helps soothe aching muscles and joints as well.

Eucalyptus oil also stimulates the immune system. The antibacterial effects of eucalyptus oil are great for targeting bacteria in the respiratory tract. In fact, eucalyptus oil is commonly used in products like cough lozenges, ointments, and inhalants for the relief of cold and flu symptoms. For example, some popular chest rubs for congestion actually contain lemon eucalyptus oil. This oil is used for treating bronchitis as well.

In addition to these health benefits, the oil makes a great air freshener. The aroma from the oil of lemon eucalyptus is thought to soothe the nerves and awaken the mind. In addition, it is occasionally found in various products as a flavoring agent. The substance may be found in baked goods, confectionery, meat products, and beverages.

Lemon eucalyptus oil is considered safe for most adults when applied to the skin as an insect repellent. However, people who are overly sensitive may exhibit a mild skin reaction to the oil. Straight oil should always be diluted before use. Eucalyptus oil can also cause eye irritation. Therefore, it is important not to get any in your eyes when applying these products.

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Discussion Comments

By anon177055 — On May 17, 2011

I rely on Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus for mosquito protection. It has quite strong scent, but it’s not a bad smell and the good thing is that I know its working.

The EPA and Center for Disease control recommend Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) as the only plant based active ingredient in repellents to work as well as DEET. Cutter, Repel and Coleman all have products that contain OLE and are widely available at stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, sporting good stores, and online.

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