When people think of eucalyptus, they often visualize furry koala bears, munching on the pungent leaves. But humans have also been utilizing the bark and leaves for hundreds of years.
First used by Aborigines in the Australian outback, eucalyptus trees were believed to cure just about anything. Reaching heights of nearly 500 feet, the trees grow in marshy areas due to the vast amounts of water the eucalyptus roots absorb. For Australians, the trees have served a variety of purposes including providing shade, hardwood, windbreaks, fighting malaria and creating paper.
Eucalyptus was first distilled in the late 1700s, when eucalyptus oil was used to treat respiratory problems. In the 1850s, German botanist Ferdinand Von Mueller recognized the possibility of distilling eucalyptus oil and selling it worldwide as an antiseptic. The oil was very popular during World War I where it was used to treat meningitis and influenza patients. Now, it’s used for all types of conditions, from cold relief to burn treatment.
Because of its versatility, eucalyptus is one of the most common essential oils. It’s a popular ingredient in cough and cold medications, muscle rubs and joint ointments, but there are many other uses available for eucalyptus oil, including:
- Mixing 24 drops with ⅓ cup of olive oil and massage into the chest.
- To control dust mites in bedding, add a couple drops to the washing machine water.
- Relieve sinus congestion by mixing a few drops of oil into hot water, and inhale the steam. (Be sure to keep your eyes closed to avoid strong fumes.)
- By rubbing eucalyptus oil into burns, cuts or sores, the irritated area is protected from germs. It also helps relieve the itch and sting from insect bites.
- Putting a few drops of the oil into a diffuser helps freshen the air in your home.
- Eucalyptus oil is a natural pesticide, and an effective bug repellent.
- This all-purpose cleaning recipe is great for kitchen counters, sinks and floors.
⅓ c. white vinegar
2 TBSP baking soda
Several drops of Eucalyptus Oil
Two drops of Orange Oil
Add all ingredients to a spray bottle, then fill bottle with water. Shake well before using.