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What is Eucalyptus?


Eucalyptus oil, also known as eucalyptol, is steam-distilled from the twigs and long leathery leaves of the eucalyptus tree. Eucalyptus folium contains the dried leaves of older Eucalypti globulus trees.

The leaves are collected after the tree has been cut down and allowed to dry in the shade. The primary component of eucalyptus oil is the volatile substance 1,8-cineol (cineole). Oil preparations are standardized to contain 80% to 90% cineole.

The effectiveness of the herb as an expectorant is attributed to the local irritant action of the volatile oil. Eucalyptus is available as dried herb, eucalyptus leaf, essential oil, and tea bags.

Reported uses:
Eucalyptus is used commercially in muscle rubs and decongetion aids. It repels insect pests, and may also be used as antiseptic. It is a good solvent for removing adhesives.

Eucalyptus is used internally and externally as an expectorant, and to treat infections and fevers. It's also used topically to treat sore muscles and rheumatism. A topical combination of eucalyptus and peppermint shows promise as an analgesic. Administration:
Essential oil: Used in massage blends for sore muscles, in foot baths or saunas, steam inhalations, chest rubs, room sprays, bath blends, and air diffusions; for external use only

Leaf: Average daily dose is 4 to 16 g by mouth every 3 to 4 hours

Oil: For internal use, average dose is 0.3 to 0.6 g by mouth every day

Tea: For infusion, steep 6 oz of dried herb in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, and then strain; for decoction 6 to 8 oz of dried herb boiled for 3 to 5 minutes

Tincture: Take 3 to 4 g by mouth every day.

Hazards:
Adverse reactions may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and asthma-like attacks. Enhanced effects may be noted when administered with antidiabetics. Eucalyptus oil induces detoxification enzyme systems in the liver; therefore, the oil may affect any drug that the liver metabolizes. When given with other herbs that cause hypoglycemia (basil, glucomannan, Queen Anne's lace), decreased blood glucose levels may be observed.

Patients who have had an allergic reaction to eucalyptus or its vapors should avoid use. Those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, have liver disease, or have intestinal tract inflammation should avoid use.

Safety Risk Essential oil preparations shouldn't be applied to a child's face because of risk of severebronchial spasm.

Clinical considerations:
Inform patient of potential adverse effects.

Monitor patient for allergic reaction.

In susceptible patients, particularly infants and children, the application of eucalyptus preparations to the face or the inhalation of vapors can exacerbate bronchospasm.

Monitor blood glucose level in diabetic patients taking eucalyptus.

Oral administration may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If poisoning or overdose occurs, don't induce vomiting. Vomiting may increase the risk of aspiration. Administer activated charcoal and treat symptomatically.

Advise the patient to stop taking eucalyptus immediately and to check with health care provider if difficulty breathing, hives, or skin rash occur.

Keep away from children and pets.

Tell patient to remind pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he's taking when obtaining a new prescription.

Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a conventional treatment with proven efficacy may be available.

Safety Risk The oil shouldn't be taken internally unless it has been diluted. As little as a few drops of oil for children and 4 to 5 ml of oil for adults can cause poisoning. Signs include hypotension, circulatory dysfunction, and cardiac and respiratory failure.

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Aura Cacia's Essential Oil Eucalyptus

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