Organic Spa Blog

Setting Yourself Free with Eucalyptus Essential Oil

It’s the darkest time of the year now. The days are shorter and sunlight is at a minimum. In New York City, where I live, it is also the coldest and most dreary. Despite all the holiday tinsel and cheer, these short, slushy days can make some of us feel trapped and penned in. We’ve all experienced it: The icy trudge home, the biting winds, the many layers of long underwear, sweaters and wraps—it all confines and restricts us.

Eucalyptus essential oil is my winter doldrums savior. When I smell it, I soar. Suddenly I am lifted up and out of that dark winter hole and carried off by clear, sharp, penetrating and high woody aromas: I am set free.

What can we learn about the Eucalyptus tree? Here are a few interesting facts:

• There are over 700 different species of Eucalyptus and most of them are native to Australia.

• The tree is a tall evergreen, with long drooping branches and leaves, and in some species the bark peels and curls off the tall high trunks. In some varieties, branches are even known to just “drop off.”

• All Eucalyptus species produce copious amounts of a potent essential oil that is distilled from the leaves and used world-wide as a natural disinfectant and anti-bacterial agent.

• Aboriginal peoples of Australia have been using the essential oil for centuries.

•They are very fast growing and, if chopped off at the root, can regenerate and grow again.

• They have been replanted in swampy areas to lower water tables since they can absorb large amounts of water.

Because there are so many different kinds of Eucalyptus trees, the simplest way to identify one from another is to become familiar with their Latin botanical names and their distinct aromas. Generally, the ones that you will see most often are Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora and Eucalyptus dives.

All Eucalyptus species share many of the same healing properties, and for me, Eucalyptus radiata is my favorite. It is a little softer and rounder than the other species and tends not to shock your nose. I like its gentler push to let go, exhale and stretch out.

What it does for our physical bodies: Eucalyptus radiata is stimulating to the circulatory system, energizing the flow of blood and oxygen while dissipating stagnancy and supporting detoxification. Cooling for headaches and sore muscles, it is also an effective anti-inflammatory (it can soothe discomfort brought on by arthritis and common sprains). But perhaps the most well-known aspect of Eucalyptus essential oil is on our respiratory system. It clears congestion, combats airborne bacteria and viruses, and opens our bronchial passageways. A go-to essential oil for chest colds, sinus infections and allergies—a few sniffs can greatly improve the respiratory system.

What it does for our emotional/spiritual and energetic body: To me, Eucalyptus radiata is synonymous with Freedom. With a few inhalations, I can feel as if all the weight on my shoulders been lifted, and my breath can once again reach the bottom regions of my lungs. My head is cleared of the static buzz, and I can focus again. It’s cleansing and clearing freshness is known to push away negativity and support one’s ability to concentrate.

Best methods to apply:
Salve and massage oils
Bath, directly dropping the oil into the bath or blending with bath salts
Inhalation, direct via an inhaler or diffused in a room.

Oils that pair well:
Peppermint
Rosemary
Lavender
Lemon
Grapefruit
Tea Tree

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