Ever wondered why our mothers and grandmothers would ask us to inhale steam with a few drops of eucalyptus oil, whenever we suffered cold or apply it on the skin when it was inflamed. Eucalyptus, a lesser known Ayurvedic herb has multiple benefits that can enhance our overall health. It is used in skincare, beauty, cosmetics, and fragrances and finds a mention in traditional Greek, Indian, and Chinese styles of medicine.
Several Ayurvedic scriptures discuss the properties and potential benefits of Eucalyptus at length. The oil sourced from the plant is used extensively for many herbal preparations, addresses many skin, hair, and other health-related concerns. Let us delve deeper and learn more about it.
What is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus are tall trees that were initially grown in Australia; However, very soon, the trees were cultivated across the globe. The tree has around 500 species. The tree leaves are fragrant with a strong, refreshing aroma, and taste. The essential oil extracted from Eucalyptus, primarily Eucalyptus globulus, is extensively used for multiple purposes. Ingredients like eucalyptol,1,8-cineole1, and alpha-terpineol give Eucalyptus its unique properties, including antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant qualities 2.
What does Ayurveda say about Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus or Niligiri is often mentioned in our Ayurvedic scriptures to address many health concerns. Ayurvedic practices to balance different Doshas include the use of Eucalyptus. The herb is recommended by Ayurvedic experts as well. Vata is associated with air and space and affects blood flow, breathing, etc. Since it is dry, cool, and light in nature, people can alter this imbalance by a warm or heating energy3.
Nilgiri or Eucalyptus is regarded as a vital source of heating energy and forms an essential part of many herbal preparations. Therefore, Ayurvedic experts recommend using it to balance Vata Dosha. According to Ayurveda, the two types of Vata disorders obstructed Vata (accumulation of toxic residues) and Vata-caused deficiency (dry tissues) can be addressed by using Eucalyptus.
The heat energy in Eucalyptus can help flush out toxins, increase internal heat, and improve circulation. Thus traditional medicine practitioners and Ayurveda experts recommend using Eucalyptus to balance Vata, clear air passages, improve blood circulation, heal insect bites and wounds, remove toxins from the body, refresh vital energies, etc.
Interesting ways Eucalyptus can benefit your body, skin, and hair:
We understand that Eucalyptus or Nilgiri showcase several medicinal properties that can help deal with certain health concerns. From helping with nasal congestion to reducing dandruff, Eucalyptus has so much to offer. Let us now explore some exciting ways to use Eucalyptus's medical and therapeutic properties and feel refreshed and healthy.
Nasal congestion: Nasal congestion or blockage in the nasal passage is common in people suffering from the common cold. Multiple studies4 have highlighted that Eucalyptus can play a significant role in helping address nasal congestion by lowering mucus formation and accumulation and dilating the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs. These studies support the references in Ayurveda that recommend using Eucalyptus to treat an inflamed and irritated nasal passage. Research suggests that active ingredients in Eucalyptus like eucalyptol,1,8-cineole5, and pinene aids in naturally reducing Nasal congestion. The traditional remedy of inhaling steam infused with a few drops of Eucalyptus oil can offer significant relief in reducing blockage and nasal congestion. Similarly, applying creams and balms infused with Eucalyptus extracts can also be helpful. There are several ongoing studies6 and trials that have indicated that Eucalyptus can help people with asthma and sinusitis breathe7.
Help repel insects and heal insect bites: Eucalyptus is known to be an effective insect repellent8 due to the presence of eucalyptol. Research has highlighted that when applied topically, Eucalyptus can help repel mosquitoes and other insects for up to 6-8 hours after application. However, traditional practices from Australia9 and India suggest that it can also help disinfect and heal insect bites. Ayurveda and modern-day research suggest that applying Eucalyptus oil can help keep the bite disinfected and reduce inflammation and its antibacterial property helps reduce the spread of infection. Applying a mixture of coconut oil and a few drops of eucalyptus oil twice daily on the skin can offer significant relief.
Helps maintain hydrated skin: Often overlooked by many, Eucalyptus has the potential to help maintain the moisture level of the skin and enhance its glow. Studies10 have revealed that Eucalyptus oil has the ability to enhance the production of ceramides. Ceramides are fatty acids that act as the skin's natural moisture barrier11. By promoting the production of ceramides, Eucalyptus oil allows the skin to remain hydrated and retain moisture. Tannins, an active ingredient in Eucalyptus, give it potential astringent properties that can help manage oily skin. Mixing drops of eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil can offer great results and keep the skin hydrated.
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Acne fighting properties: Additionally, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, purifying, and cleansing properties of Eucalyptus can help reduce acne, and its spread by keeping at bay the acne-causing bacteria. The herb is also known to significantly reduce the appearance of acne scars and the redness associated with it. Studies12 have highlighted the ability of eucalyptus oil to reduce multiple types of acne. You can add 8-10 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 cups of water, and spray it on your skin to reap its benefits.
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Helps deal with sun damage: Exposure to the sun and harmful UV rays can harm your skin in multiple ways. It can cause severe tanning, lead to sunburns and skin irritation, and trigger the appearance of early signs of aging. Eucalyptus in known to enhance collagen production13, and thus, it can help improve skin elasticity, help stop collagen degradation, and reduce signs of skin aging.
Another benefit that Eucalyptus may offer includes the ability to deal with sunburns. The healing and anti-inflammatory properties of the plant can help irritated and sunburnt skin. Mixing 2-3 drops of Eucalyptus oil with Aloe vera gel and applying it on sunburnt skin can offer a cooling effect and reduction in inflammation and redness.
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Helps deal with lice: Head lice can cause irritation, dryness, and itching on the scalp. According to Ayurveda and several clinical trials15, Eucalyptus oil can offer effective results in treating head lice. Studies have revealed that antifungal and antibacterial properties16 of the herb can help eliminate lice. A study in Australia highlighted the effectiveness of eucalyptus oil in treating head lice17. Massaging eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil like coconut and olive oil can help deal with lice.
Reduces Dandruff: A few drops of Eucalyptus oil added to coconut or olive oil can give a natural boost of moisture to dull and dry hair. The moisture retaining properties ward off dandruff and an itchy scalp. The Asia Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease mentioned that Eucalyptus's antifungal and antiseptic properties could act as a natural remedy and an effective anti-dandruff treatment18. Using a natural shampoo and conditioner infused with Eucalyptus extracts can also offer positive results.
Nilgiri or Eucalyptus is known for its healing, anti-inflammatory, and Vata pacifying properties. Keeping in mind the potential benefits of Eucalyptus, many modern-day oils, creams, and other medicinal and cosmetic products are now infused with it. So, let us use Eucalyptus and thank our mothers and grandmothers for carrying forward the wisdom of Ayurveda and traditional herbal remedies.
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