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Eucalyptus leaves contain oil, which is often distilled and sold as an essential oil for aromatherapy. Eucalyptus can be found in many products, including decongestants, cough suppressants, mouthwash, cosmetics, and muscle rubs.
Some of the compounds in eucalyptus oil provide potential health benefits that include promoting relaxation and clearing nasal congestion.
You can also reap the benefits and joys of eucalyptus by hanging it in your shower. Shower steam helps activate and release eucalyptus oil compounds into the air, allowing you to breathe them in. You can use either fresh or dried leaves for this purpose.
In addition to being pleasing to look at and having a scent that many people enjoy, eucalyptus in the shower may provide health benefits when inhaled. These include:
- Stress reduction. For some people, the scent of eucalyptus can produce an immediate sense of calm. This may be due to the effects of eucalyptol, a major component of eucalyptus. When inhaled, eucalyptol was shown to decrease anxiety in 62 patients awaiting surgery, according to a
2014 study. Eucalyptol is also referred to as 1,8-cineole.
- Pain relief. A
2013 studydone on patients after total knee replacement surgery found that inhaling eucalyptus oil reduced the sensation of pain, plus it lowered blood pressure.
- Respiratory health. Eucalyptus oil has a
long history of folk usage. Anecdotal evidence indicates that when inhaled, the components in eucalyptus oil, including 1,8-cineole, may provide benefit for respiratory conditions. These include bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that occur both with or without pus.
- Sinusitis. Eucalyptus inhalation can reduce inflammation and bacteria, making it beneficial for treating sinus congestion and sinus infections. It also helps clear out mucus from nasal passages and relieves coughs.
- 3 to 12 small branches of fresh or dried eucalyptus leaves
- twine, ribbon, or string
- a small, thin rubber band or hair tie (optional)
- a scissor
Based on how full you wish your bouquet to be, you’ll want to use around 7 to 12 eucalyptus leaf branches, but you can do this with as few as 3 or 4.
To make a bouquet for your shower:
- Gather the branches with the cut ends down.
- Clear the stems. Remove leaves from the bottom of each branch so that you have room to tie them together.
- Cut string or twine so that it’s approximately 24 inches long. Longer is better; too short and it’ll be difficult to tie and hang on your showerhead.
- Wrap the string tightly around the stems. Tie the branches together, right under the leafy part, so that the bare stems are below the twine. You may want to wrap a rubber band around the stems to temporarily hold them together while you secure the string around them.
- Use the ends of the string to attach your eucalyptus bouquet to the showerhead or another part of your shower. Make sure to tie it securely.
- Position the bouquet so that it is not directly under the water stream.
- Replace the bouquet every 3 weeks or until you no longer smell eucalyptus.
While you can find eucalyptus trees thriving in a lot of places, including your backyard, there are places to buy inexpensive branches. The added benefit? They’re already cut down to size.
- Find eucalyptus bundles from a florist or at grocery stores where floral arrangements are made.
- Buy eucalyptus bundles and eucalyptus leaves from sellers on Etsy.
If you prefer, you can reap the benefits of eucalyptus oil by using an aromatherapy diffuser or products such as eucalyptus soap when you bathe.
Let’s face it, we can’t all get our hands on fresh bunches of eucalyptus. There are other ways to get a similar effect.
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- Use eucalyptus oil body wash or soap.
- Buy or make sachets with eucalyptus leaves and place these in your shower.
- Use a diffuser or humidifier and diluted eucalyptus essential oil in your bathroom.
- Rub a medicated ointment like Vicks VapoRub on your chest. Avoid touching around your eyes and face.
Keep eucalyptus branches away from the water
Eucalyptus oil can irritate skin and eyes, especially when not diluted in a carrier oil. Water and oil don’t mix or create a diluted mixture. For this reason, don’t place the leaves directly under the water stream. Rather, let the steam from your shower activate and release the oil into the air.
Swallowing eucalyptus oil has caused seizures
Don’t swallow eucalyptus oil. If swallowed, eucalyptus oil can cause seizures in some people.
Another reason to keep the leaves away from the water stream is so that the oil doesn’t go into your mouth or eyes.
Eucalyptus can irritate skin
Stop using eucalyptus if your skin becomes irritated or if you see signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives. It isn’t uncommon to be allergic to eucalyptus.
Call your doctor or 911 if you have a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis.
Not for kids or pregnant women
Eucalyptus oil is generally recognized as safe, or GRAS, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But don’t use eucalyptus oil near children or if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing, without your doctor’s approval. Studies on the use of inhaled or topical eucalyptus oil in these groups are limited.
Toxic to pets
Inhaling or coming into contact with eucalyptus oils can be toxic to animals, including dogs, cats, and horses, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Don’t use eucalyptus oil as aromatherapy if there are pets in the home.
Eucalyptus is a type of evergreen tree or large shrub that’s native to Australia. It’s also known as the silver dollar tree. Eucalyptus currently grows in many locations and is popular worldwide.
There are many varietals and hybrids of the eucalyptus plant. Each has a slightly different scent defined by woodsy green notes, which many people find soothing.
Compounds in eucalyptus help some people find relief from nasal congestion, coughing, and body aches. Some of its relief comes simply from its invigorating scent.
You can reap many of the benefits of eucalyptus by hanging it in your shower or adding it to your shower in other ways.