Home » Aromatherapy » Essential Oil Profiles: The Other Eucalyptus Oils
  • Essential Oil Profiles: The Other Eucalyptus Oils

    Eucalyptus essential oil is very useful during cold and flu season and it was the first oil I profiled 2 weeks ago. (Read the entire about Ecualyptus globulus post if you missed it.) But there’s more to Eucalyptus oil than just Eucalyptus globulus. There are several other varieties and I’m going to cover four of them here today.

    Recap of General Eucalyptus Properties and Cautions

    Most Eucalyptus oils have the same basic properties so I’m going to remind you of them right here. I’ll be sure to point out where one Eucalyptus species varies from the others in the individual sections.

    In general, the Eucalyptus oils are good for:

    • congestion (breaks up mucus and helps to expel it)
    • respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis
    • anti-inflammatory
    • analgesic (pain relieving)
    • fights viruses and bacteria
    • eases muscle and joint aches
    • stimulates circulation
    • mentally stimulating
    • aids concentration

    General Cautions:

    • It’s a mild skin irritant – Never apply to your skin without diluting it in oil or lotion first.
    • Do NOT use on kids – Young children and babies do not process essential oils the way the older kids and adults do. Children will experience respiratory distress, drowsiness, and pinpoint pupils. There is often vertigo and lack of coordination as well. Children can become deeply unconscious in as little as 15 minutes.
    • Do not use while pregnant – Cineole (the main constituent of eucalyptus oil) is able to cross the placenta. Remember what I said about babies and young children in the above caution.
    • Eucalyptus leaves are poisonous if eaten in large amounts for all but (I believe) 2 mammal species  – Don’t put a few drops of this oil in a glass of water and drink it, OK? Granted, the oil is different from the leaves, but the oil is distilled from the leaves and is therefore much more concentrated as an essential oil than it is in the leaves. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it could give you a raging case of nausea and diarrhea. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Sorry to spoil what I’m sure would be a rather bitter medicinal tasting drink, but I take a better safe than sorry approach to these type things.

    Eucalyptus radiata

    Eucalyptus radiata has an absolutely lovely smell. If Eucalyptus globulus overwhelms you by its strength, but you need some serious sinus clearing action, try Eucalyptus radiata. Because it has a gentler odor, due to less 1,8 cineole than most other species, you can smell this one closer without triggering a cough reflex. Yay!

    If you suffer from sinus issues or upper respiratory infections, this is the Eucalyptus for you.

    Many aromatherapists suggest that this oil is safe to diffuse around children (see above) because of its lower concentration of 1,8 cineole, but be warned… 1,8 cineole concentrations can vary from year to year due to differences in soil, weather and growing conditions that change on a yearly basis. I recently came across a Eucalyptus radiata oil for sale at Nature’s Gift that warned of the higher than normal 1,8 cineole levels which wouldn’t be safe for kids. This is why you want to vet any company you buy oils from. I trust these guys completely because they are up front with disclosures such as this.

    Eucalyptus citriodora

    More commonly known as lemon eucalyptus, Eucalyptus citriodora has a wonderfully light, lemony, refreshing smell. It’s great in a diffuser to clear the air and kill germs. It appears to have anti-Staph properties and is strongly anti-fungal as well.

    In small doses, this oil can be quite sedating. Quite the opposite of the normal stimulating effect of the others.

    Euclyptus citriodora is also an excellent insect repellent and is actually recognized by the FDA for that purpose! Bonus: It smells a lot nicer than the better known insect repellant citronella.

    Eucalyptus dives

    This oil is commonly referred to as peppermint eucalyptus because of the sweet peppermint undertones in the aroma. Of all the Eucalyptus oils I’ve smelled, peppermint eucalyptus is the most divine. The sweet peppermint is a wonderful balance to the sharpness of the traditional eucalyptus aroma. Mmmm…

    If you’re dealing with bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma this is going to be the most useful Eucalyptus oil to use. It causes you to breathe deeply and forces the bronchioles to dilate. It’s a powerful mucus buster and will help loosen up a dry, unproductive cough.

    Don’t use this one too close to bedtime as it’s extremely stimulating due to the presence of 2 stimulating chemicals – 1,8 cineole, a key component in all Eucalyptus oils, and piperitone, which is a key component of peppermint oil.

    Eucalyptus smithii

    This is the most gentle of all the eucalyptus oils and can be a study in opposites. While Eucalyptus is normally to be avoided with babies and small children, Eucalyptus smithii (pronounced SMITH – ee- eye) is mild enough to be regarded as safe to use with babies and the elderly. Most Eucalyptus species are stimulating but Eucalyptus smithii can be either stimulating or sedating depending on your needs.

    Some aromatherapists like to use Eucalyptus smithii preventively by diffusing it as a room disinfectant. Just make sure not to breathe it too close as it can trigger the cough reflex.

    Tricks to Remember Which is Which

    There are a couple tricks I use to remember which eucalyptus oil is good for what and I’m going to share them with you so you can remember more easily as well:

    • Eucalyptus radiata – “radiata” radiates to the upper respiratory tract
    • Eucalyptus dives – “dives” dives down to the lower respiratory tract
    • Eucalyptus smithii – smitty is good for the kiddies
    • Eucalyptus citriodora – citriodora sedates (alliteration is all I’ve got for this one)
    • Eucalyptus citriodora – citriodora beats citronella (again, alliteration is all I’ve got for this one)