Health Benefits Of Eucalyptus

  • 1st Revision: Humera Kanwal Jameel

What is eucalyptus?

The quickest association you could come up with when thinking about eucalyptus is the fact that it is a snack of choice for Koalas, Australia’s dearly beloved Marsupials. If Koalas find eucalyptus so enchanting, what can we get from incorporating this plant into our diets and health routines? 

There are almost 800 Eucalyptus species, mostly originating from Australia, but they are also native to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Nowadays, they can be spotted in most places in the world, usually, it is narrowed by the climate, as Eucalyptus tends to have a preference for warm, tropical and sub-tropical areas, such as Brazil, Argentina, Zimbabwe and South Africa.1

First described and named by a French botanist, L’ Heritier, Eucalyptus is an evergreen plant from the Myrtaceae family. It can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from shrubs to gigantic trees. Leaves of an adult-size eucalyptus tend to be oval or oblong, often stiff and have a skin feel to touch. The bark can be described by its diversity in texture, depending on the actual type of eucalyptus, from smooth to rough, with colour and veining changing as the years progress.1

Eucalyptus, also known as a gum tree, has been widely used in traditional and aboriginal medicine, mostly used as an antiseptic and for wound healing. Nowadays, it is widely used in many healthcare products, such as cold and cough medicine, muscle and joint pain relief, an immunity booster, and many more. Typically, it's the oil and the leaves that are processed into ointments, creams, and teas, so they can be used for human benefit.1

What kind of health benefits does this plant provide for humans? What are the main uses of an eucalyptus plant? Let’s dive into the world of eucalyptus. 

Health benefits of eucalyptus

Eases respiratory problems

For centuries, eucalyptus oil has been used as a relief to many respiratory problems, such as coughing, common cold, or build-up of mucus. Nowadays, you can find plenty of medications in pharmacies with eucalyptus oil as an active ingredient that can suppress pesky coughs.

In the past 20 years, companies have created capsules incorporating cineole.1 Cineole is another name for eucalyptol, the oil from eucalyptus.

Compared to a placebo, a medication incorporating cineole capsules has been proven effective against acute issues with sinuses.

Moreover, cineole capsules were suggested to have long-term positive effects against prolonged sinus infections, as it was shown in a three months-long study.3

Cineole capsules were proven as a great alternative to antibiotics when treating chest and lung infections, as well as asthma. 4,5 However, one must be cautious, as when you are allergic to eucalyptus oil, your asthma may worsen.

Eucalyptus essential oil has been suggested to relieve issues with overproduction of mucus and shortness of breath, as soon as 4 days after the first dose.1

However, we have to be cautious about putting eucalyptus essential oil on patients above other treatments for respiratory problems. One study has shown positive effects of cineole on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), decreasing the main symptoms in terms of severity and frequency, however, no it did not lead to any significant improvement in the functioning of the lungs.6

Promotes oral health 

Mint is not the only ally against bad breath. Eucalyptus is widely used in mouthwashes and toothpastes, owing to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ability to fight dental plaque and gum issues. Over 24 studies have reported an 18% decrease in gum inflammation and up to 25% reduction of plaque on teeth.7 

Eucalyptus leaf extract, also known as eucalyptol, has been used to fight bad oral hygiene. Several studies investigated the effects of chewing gum infused with eucalyptus extract. After chewing eucalyptus-infused gum 5 times a day for at least 5 minutes, the antibacterial effects of eucalyptus have shown promising, long-term results. There was a reduction in plaque, gum inflammation, and gum bleeding.8

However, more research is needed to truly establish the impact of eucalyptus extract in chewing gum to tackle dental health.1

Moreover, eucalyptus leaves have high amounts macrocarpal C - a compound that is part of a group known as polyphenols. This helps in fighting cavity-causing bacteria and gum diseases.

Reduces inflammation and pain

Eucalyptus essential oil is known to be especially effective against unwanted inflammation, particularly when dealing with long-term illnesses that are steroid-sensitive. Moreover, in one study, leafy extracts of 8 out of 18 tested variations of eucalyptus have been shown to treat inflammation very well. It is suggested that the main agents responsible for those remarkable results are called euglobals10 

Eucalyptus leaves were shown to reduce inflammation in neurons, protecting them from damage. Acetone, ethanol and methanol extracts from eucalyptus leaves are compounds that are characterised by high antioxidative properties and have significantly reduced signs of neural inflammation.11 

You can get the most out of eucalyptus's anti-inflammatory properties by drinking tea infused with dried eucalyptus leaves. 

A study on rats has shown that eucalyptus extract can reduce stomach ulcers, even up to half in size.12 

Studies show that 1,8 - cineole can reduce the presence of neuroinflammation markers that are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This means that eucalyptus oil can be used as support in the treatment of Alzheimer's diseaase.13 

Similarly, inhaling eucalyptus oil was proven to be effective against anxiety. The compounds included in the oil works to stop the brain from overproducing proteins that are connected to anxiety disorder, simultaneously decreasing blood pressure, and making you feel more relaxed.14

Eucalyptus essential oil has been shown to carry important anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce pain. A study on mice has shown that eucalyptus oil can act as a natural painkiller, as it stops your brain from transferring information about pain to different brain areas.15

Even inhaling eucalyptus oil can reduce feelings of pain, as was shown in the study involving patients that undergone knee replacement surgery. Moreover, it has also reduced patients' blood pressure as well.16 

Boosts the immune system

Eucalyptus essential oil has great potential to be a main support of your immune system. It is mainly due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. 

Eucalyptus is known for its antiseptic properties, meaning it kills bacteria harmful to the human body. It also improves the activity of phagocytes, immune cells that can surround and kill microorganisms. They eat unwanted particles and remove them from the body. What is more, it decreases the inflammation caused by alien bodies, making your illness go through easier, causing less damage and helping you recover faster.17 

Eucalyptol has been suggested to be a strong adversary to dangerous bacteria, including those causing tuberculosis. By simply inhaling the vapour from eucalyptus essential oil, you can improve your immune response without using strong antibiotics.18 

It has been also suggested that eucalyptus essential oil can help your allergic reactions become less severe, especially when it comes to allergic skin reactions. It has been reported that eucalyptus essential oil reduces swelling but also helps in stopping mast cells that are responsible for releasing histamine, a substance that is present when your body has an allergic reaction to something.19

Other Health Benefits10,11

Eucalyptus oil has a record of many potential health benefits. The list below is not exclusive and should be taken with a grain of salt. The research on essential oils is still underdeveloped and more work needs done to truly establish the true effects of eucalyptus essential oil on human health. Some of the more promising findings include: 

  • Can fight diabetes: Eucalyptus oil has the potential to restore glucose levels to normal, with comparable effects to people treated with insulin
  • Can help fight cancer: Euglobals from eucalyptus leaves were used in one study as protection during chemotherapy during lung cancer treatment
  • Aromatherapy: Eucalyptus essential oil not only has a pleasant smell but also helps our brain to relax, as it affects your parasympathetic nervous system - a system in charge of your response to stressful situations
  • Can help heal wounds: Due to its ability to kill germs, eucalyptol is used in folk medicine to help with nasty cuts, burns, sores and scrapes
  • Can help with dry skin: Eucalyptus oil keeps the ceramides in your skin, which are fat compounds essential to keep the skin looking healthy and young. Applied to the scalp, it can reduce swelling, dryness and flaking
  • Bug repellent: eucalyptus essential oil has been widely used to keep unwanted insects away from humans and their households

Nutritional facts

Eucalyptus oil is toxic in high doses and should not be ingested raw. The safest way to ingest eucalyptus is by drinking tea made from dried eucalyptus leaves.

Eucalyptus leaves have a wealth of antioxidants, especially flavonoids, plant compounds that fight toxins in your body. The most important flavonoids in eucalyptus leaves are:11,21

  • Quercetin
  • Catechin
  • Luteolin

Antioxidants can help you decrease the risk of some cancers, heart-related problems, but also dementia.

How to use eucalyptus?

There is a variety of ways you can incorporate eucalyptus into your everyday life. You can purchase eucalyptus-based products both online and in organic shops that promote healthy lifestyle. Eucalyptus-based products include: 

  • Ground eucalyptus leaves made into teas
  • Essential oil is used for aromatherapy by adding a few drops into a steam diffuser or in a bowl with hot water
  • The whole eucalyptus leaves for spa-like treatments. Simply hang small bouquets of leaves in the bathroom or throw a few leaves into your bathtub
  • Creams and ointments. By adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, you can create a miraculous-like ointment, that, once applied to your chest, can help you with congestion
  • Mouthwashes, toothpaste, and chewing gums are extremely helpful for your dental health

Side effects and other concerns

Eucalyptus has been used widely in traditional medicine all over the world for many centuries. It is generally safe to use. It is crucial to note that it is dangerous to ingest eucalyptus essential oil, especially in higher doses, as it can be toxic. 

There have been reports of an allergic reaction to eucalyptus essential oil when applied to the skin, both alone and in combination with other hygiene products.

There have been reports of potential negative effects of eucalyptol on reproductive health. More research needs done, especially when it comes to potential effects on pregnant people or people who are breastfeeding to truly establish the potential risks. 

It has been reported that children are more likely to have potential allergic reactions to eucalyptus, some even resulting in death.

Possible side effects:

  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach aches22 

Remember to always patch test on the skin before using eucalyptus oil. 


Eucalyptus has been widely used in traditional medicine and is utilized in healthcare products like cold medicine, pain relief, and immunity boosters.

Eucalyptus oil can help with respiratory problems, as it helps with cough, cold, and mucus buildup. It can relieve sinus issues, chest infections, and asthma symptoms.

Moreover, it promotes oral health, as it is used in mouthwashes and toothpastes, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, reducing gum inflammation and plaque buildup.

Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate inflammation-related conditions and act as a natural painkiller.

It is a nature-given immunity booster, owing to anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that support the immune system, helping fight off harmful bacteria and allergens.

Other potential health benefits include fighting diabetes, aiding cancer treatment, providing aromatherapy benefits, healing wounds, improving dry skin, and repelling insects.

It is essential to use eucalyptus safely and avoid ingesting the oil directly. Instead, it can be consumed as tea made from dried eucalyptus leaves or incorporated into various products such as essential oils, creams, ointments, mouthwashes, and chewing gums.

However, caution is advised as eucalyptus essential oil can be toxic in high doses. It may cause allergic reactions, and potential risks to reproductive health and children have been reported. Patch testing on the skin is recommended before using eucalyptus oil.


  1. Salehi B, Sharifi-Rad J, Quispe C, Llaique H, Villalobos M, Smeriglio A, et al. Insights into Eucalyptus genus chemical constituents, biological activities and health-promoting effects. Trends in Food Science & Technology [Internet]. 2019 Sep 1 [cited 2023 May 19];91:609–24. Available from: 
  2. Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial: The Laryngoscope [Internet]. 2004 Apr [cited 2023 May 19];114(4):738–42. Available from: 
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  7. Gunsolley JC. Clinical efficacy of antimicrobial mouthrinses. J Dent. 2010 Jun;38 Suppl 1:S6-10. Available from:
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  9. Nagata H, Inagaki Y, Tanaka M, Ojima M, Kataoka K, Kuboniwa M, et al. Effect of eucalyptus extract chewing gum on periodontal health: a double-masked, randomized trial. J Periodontol. 2008 Aug;79(8):1378–85. Available from:
  10. Dhakad AK, Pandey VV, Beg S, Rawat JM, Singh A. Biological, medicinal and toxicological significance of Eucalyptus leaf essential oil: a review. J Sci Food Agric [Internet]. 2018 Feb [cited 2023 May 19];98(3):833–48. Available from:
  11. González-Burgos E, Liaudanskas M, Viškelis J, Žvikas V, Janulis V, Gómez-Serranillos MP. Antioxidant activity, neuroprotective properties and bioactive constituents analysis of varying polarity extracts from Eucalyptus globulus leaves. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis [Internet]. 2018 Oct 1 [cited 2023 May 19];26(4):1293–302. Available from:
  12. Chandorkar N, Tambe S, Amin P, Madankar C. A systematic and comprehensive review on current understanding of the pharmacological actions, molecular mechanisms, and clinical implications of the genus Eucalyptus. Phytomedicine Plus [Internet]. 2021 Nov 1 [cited 2023 May 19];1(4):100089. Available from:
  13. Khan A, Vaibhav K, Javed H, Tabassum R, Ahmed ME, Khan MM, et al. 1,8-cineole (Eucalyptol) mitigates inflammation in amyloid Beta toxicated PC12 cells: relevance to Alzheimer’s disease. Neurochem Res. 2014 Feb;39(2):344–52. Available from:
  14. Kim KY, Seo HJ, Min SS, Park M, Seol GH. The effect of 1,8-cineole inhalation on preoperative anxiety: a randomized clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2023 May 19];2014:820126. Available from:
  15. Mondal M, Quispe C, Sarkar C, Bepari TC, Alam MdJ, Saha S, et al. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory potential of essential oil of eucalyptus camaldulensis leaf: in vivo and in silico studies. Natural Product Communications [Internet]. 2021 Apr [cited 2023 May 19];16(4):1934578X2110076. Available from:
  16. Jun YS, Kang P, Min SS, Lee JM, Kim HK, Seol GH. Effect of eucalyptus oil inhalation on pain and inflammatory responses after total knee replacement: a randomized clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:502727. Available from:
  17. Serafino A, Sinibaldi Vallebona P, Andreola F, Zonfrillo M, Mercuri L, Federici M, et al. Stimulatory effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on innate cell-mediated immune response. BMC Immunol. 2008 Apr 18;9:17. Available from:
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  20. Panche AN, Diwan AD, Chandra SR. Flavonoids: an overview. J Nutr Sci. 2016;5:e47. Available from:
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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Monika Czechowska

Masters in Brain Sciences, MSc, University of Glasgow

Meet Monika, a Medical Writer who specializes in health and lifestyle. She has a passion for promoting healthy dietary habits and nutrition. Monika holds a Master of Science in Brain Sciences from the University of Glasgow and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen. Currently, she is enrolled in an online course called "Writing in the Sciences" offered by Stanford.

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