Image for Eucalyptus oil (. Labillardiere, .F. Von Mueller, . R.T. Baker)
Eucalyptus oil (E. globulus Labillardiere, E. fructicetorum F. Von Mueller, E. smithii R.T. Baker)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 1,8-cineole, aerial eucalyptus, Australian fever tree leaf, blauer gommibaum, blue gum, C10H18O, cajuputol, camphor oil, catheter oil, cider gum, cineole, Citriodiol®, crown gall, essence of eucalyptus rectifiee, essencia de eucalipto, eucalypti aetheroleum, eucalypti folium, eucalyptol, Eucalyptuscamaldulensis (Red gum), Eucalyptuscitriodora (Lemon-scented gum), Eucalyptuscoccifera (Tasmanian snow gum), Eucalyptusdalrympleana (Mountain gum), eucalyptus dried leaves, eucalyptus essential oil, Eucalyptusficifolia (red flowering gum), eucalyptus flower, Eucalyptusfructicetorum F. Von Mueller, eucalyptus globules tree, Eucalyptusglobulus Labillardiere, Eucalyptusgunnii (cider gum), Eucalyptusjohnstonii (yellow gum), eucalyptus leaf extract, Eucalyptusleucoxylon (white ironbark), Eucalyptusmaculate, Eucalyptusoccidentalis, Eucalyptusparvifolia, Eucalyptuspauciflora subsp. niphophila (snow gum), Eucalyptusperriniana (spinning gum), eucalyptus pollen, Eucalyptussideroxylon (red ironbark), Eucalyptussmithii R.T. Baker, Eucalyptusurnigera (urn gum), Eucalyptusviminalis Labill (euvimals), Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus spp., eucalytpo setma ag, fevertree, gommier bleu, gum tree, kafur ag, lemon eucalyptus extract, lemon-scented gum, malee, Meijer® (eucalyptus oil, camphor, menthol), mountain gum, myrtaceae, oil of eucalyptus citriodora, oleum eucalypti, red flowering gum, red gum, red ironbark, schonmutz, snow gum, southern blue gum, spinning gum, stringy bark tree, Tasmanian blue gum, Tasmanian snow gum, urn gum, verbenone, white ironbark, yellow gum.

Background

  • Eucalyptus oil is used commonly as a decongestant and expectorant for upper respiratory tract infections or inflammations, as well as for various musculoskeletal conditions. The oil is found in numerous over-the-counter cough and cold lozenges as well as in inhalation vapors or topical ointments. Veterinarians use the oil topically for its reported antimicrobial activity. Other applications include as an aromatic in soaps or perfumes, as flavoring in foodstuffs or beverages, and as a dental or industrial solvent. High quality scientific evidence is currently lacking.
  • Eucalyptus oil contains 70-85% 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), which is also present in other plant oils. Eucalyptol is used as an ingredient in some mouthwash and dental preparations, as an endodontic solvent, and may possess antimicrobial properties. Listerine® mouthrinse is a combination of essential oils (eucalyptol, menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate) that has been shown to be efficacious for the reduction of dental plaque and gingivitis.
  • Topical use or inhalation of eucalyptus oil at low concentrations may be safe, although significant and potentially lethal toxicity has been consistently reported with oral use and may occur with inhalation use as well. All routes of administration should be avoided in children.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.