If you’re a koala, eucalyptus is an essential part of your diet, but even for people, there are lots of benefits to eucalyptus oil. It’s antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral, making it a good home remedy for insect bites, minor wounds and boils. It also helps skin problems from acne, chicken pox and herpes. Mix equal amounts of eucalyptus oil and cider vinegar, then apply to the affected skin. Breathing the oil in steam may relieve lung or sinus congestion (although you should be careful using it for asthma). A few drops of oil in the bath or on a compress also may alleviate skin or muscle pain. Most commercial vapor rubs and liniments contain eucalyptus oil or its main chemical constituent, eucalyptol.
The scent of eucalyptus is good for treating a variety of ailments and pains, but it also may have mental benefits. It has been shown that brain wave activity increases when people breathe in eucalyptus oil. It also can alleviate both mental and physical fatigue. Studies by the New Jersey research company Flavors and Fragrances Inc. have shown that breathing eucalyptus gives people increased energy. It’s therefore a useful fragrance to have on hand when you’ve got long hours of work, studying or driving to do. There are about 600 species of eucalyptus and a variety of different scents. The most commonly used type is blue gum eucalyptus, although some aromatherapists recommend E. citriodora when you want to relax.
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