by Samantha Davis
Almost everyone has heard of eucalyptus, and for some reason it reminds them of California. (Or if they’re really into trivia, they know it has something to do with koalas.) Many people who are interested in natural healing know of eucalyptus essential oil, and perhaps they even own a bottle. They will most likely open the lid and breathe in memories of what grandma’s house smelled like when she was sick or of the vapor rub their mom used on their chest when they had a stuffy nose. The bottle will then be placed in the medicine cabinet where it will stay, unused and unappreciated; however, eucalyptus oil serves a much higher purpose than collecting dust on a shelf. Not only do the leaves nourish Australia’s adorable little marsupial, but from inside the eucalyptus tree flows a wonderful healing essence capable of treating a wide variety of sicknesses and complaints.
Over the past hundred and fifty years, eucalyptus oil has been explored and appreciated in the western medical and cosmetic fields for its wide range of uses, particularly in the area of respiratory health, even in cases of serious illness. Studies have shown that eucalyptol, the prime constituent of eucalyptus oil (also found in other herbs, including bay leaves and rosemary sprigs) may be capable of destroying leukemia cells. Eucalyptus has a wide variety of applications in washes, salves and blends including: cleansing and promoting healing in cuts, scrapes and minor wounds; soothing a wide variety of skin problems; ridding the scalp of ringworm, lice and scabies; regulating skin and scalp; healing cold sores; relieving stomach discomfort due to diarrhea; and easing muscle cramps, spasms, swelling, aches, sprains and other injuries.
A eucalyptus salve can be made by blending 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil into 2 oz. beeswax. Stored in a canning jar, this salve can be used it to cleanse and soothe burns, abscesses, dry skin, heat rash, measles, chicken pox, acne, insect bites and stings, sores, poison ivy, and like complaints (including bull nettle).
Add 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil to boiling water and inhale steam for 20 minutes to break down mucous and heal a stuffy nose. Deep inhalation of eucalyptus has been highly praised for its ability to heal pneumonia and other bronchial complaints, as well as sinusitis. Adding eucalyptus essential oil to an inhaler or sprinkling it onto a cloth to inhale is a concentrated and effective method of healing. Initially the oil will burn inside your throat and chest as you deeply inhale; however, you can literally feel your breathing become less labored and your chest clearing. The burning will be replaced by a sweet-tasting sensation in the back of your throat.
Cautions: Eucalyptus oil is not considered safe for ingestion. If a history of hypertension or epilepsy is present, conduct thorough research before using eucalyptus essential oil in any form or consult a doctor or aroma therapist for information. It is always risky to use essential oils neatly (undiluted) due to the possibility of burning your skin.
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