|Courtesy Bryan R Terry|
The answer is YES, the science is there, BUT...
This means that there is SOME research to back claims, but it is insufficient for some medical organizations to say YES.
Some scientific research does support using eucalyptus oil for the following environmental and medicinal purposes:
- Asthma relief
- Coughing/chest congestion
- High blood sugar/diabetes
- Fighting germs and fungi
Medline Plus is "the National Institutes of Health's Web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information, anytime, anywhere, for free." According to Medline Plus, there is some developing research that suggests a chemical found in eucalyptus oil does "break up" mucus. There is also some evidence that it can help reduce blood sugar, fight against bacteria and fungi, reduce pain and inflammation, and block the chemicals that cause an asthmatic response.
The evidence that it reduces blood sugar is sufficient enough that they recommended not using it at least two weeks before surgery, and monitoring blood sugar levels closely if you use it while taking medication for diabetes. They also warn that straight eucalyptus oil can be toxic for children if taken by mouth.
CLICK HERE to read more from Medline Plus about eucalyptus, including contraindications. They cite 10 references for further research.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that laboratory studies have shown that eucalyptus oil "contains substances that kill bacteria. It may also kill some viruses and fungi. Studies in animals and test tubes also found that eucalyptus oil acts as an expectorant, meaning it helps coughs by loosening phlegm."
They repeat the warning that eucalyptus oil can be toxic for children, and that children under 6 should not be given cough drops with eucalyptus oil as an ingredient.
They cite 19 research studies. CLICK HERE to read more from the University and Maryland and review that treasure trove of evidence.
As I look over the internet and medical journals for some additional information to share, I see many references to eucalyptus oil being effective against multi-drug resistant microbes, which are a growing concern. In THIS STUDY published in 2001 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (I didn't know it existed, either, but it's an Oxford Journal), 14 essential oils in their gaseous state (for inhalation) were tested against 5 pathogens, including a strain of influenza and two strains of pneumonia. Citron Oil was by far the most effective against each microbe (Click here to see a handy chart). Eucalyptus Oil, Rosemary oil, Tea Tree Oil, and True Lavender Oil were next in line for effectiveness.
Stay tuned for Eucalyptus Part 2, where I list some of the ways you can use eucalyptus oil around the house and in your medicine chest. Be aware that as a plant, some people may be sensitive or allergic to the oil. When using for asthma, be on the look out for aggravation the first time, and then obviously never let that person use it again.