Use Eucalyptus Oil To Keep Cold And Cough Away
With the onset of winter, are you worried that your child will be affected by the seasonal cough and cold? Fret not! Eucalyptus, with its medicinal properties, can offer relief. Read on to know more.
By Luke Coutinho
The eucalyptus, a type of tree known for its quick growth, is a good source of wood, paper and essential oil.
Although native to the Australian continent, various species of eucalyptus are cultivated widely in the tropical and temperate world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China and the Indian subcontinent. In India, the eucalyptus is commonly referred to as Nilgiri.
For ages, the eucalyptus, as an essential oil, has been used for its health benefits. It is a natural antiseptic with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties making it highly effective in treating cold, cough, wounds, acne, boils, insect bites, skin infections and more.
How is eucalyptus oil made?
To prepare eucalyptus oil, the leaves of the tree are dried, crushed and steam-distilled to release the essential oil. The extracted oil is then diluted and made ready for topical use.
Eucalyptus oil: An effective remedy for cold and cough
In our fight against the common cold, we have tried homemade concoctions, over-the-counter medicine and prescription drugs. However, very few of us know that eucalyptus oil can be used effectively to treat not just cold, cough and sore throat but also a host of other winter ailments. Some of them include chest congestion, bronchial asthma and sinusitis. In general, it is an ideal remedy for curing respiratory problems.
Here’s how eucalyptus oil can be used:
- To decongest the chest: You can infuse eucalyptus oil by adding a few drops of it to a small bowl of hot water. Lower your head towards the bowl, drape a towel over your head and close your eyes. Gently inhale the eucalyptus-infused steam. You can also add a few drops of the oil to a washcloth that has been gently soaked in warm water and inhale the vapour. This helps to decongest the chest, loosen the mucus and clear up blocked sinuses to help you breathe easier.
Caution: Not recommended for very young children; even for older children, adult supervision is a must
- It can be applied to the body: You can further relieve congestion and cough by gently rubbing eucalyptus oil on the chest. Some popular over-the-counter products are known for providing relief for congested chest, in fact, contain about 1.2 per cent eucalyptus oil along with other cough suppressant ingredients.
- In aromatherapy: You can add the eucalyptus oil to a diffuser and the room can fill up with the oil’s natural fragrance. It can help relieve stress and fatigue.
- As an oral disinfectant: Along with brushing your teeth twice a day, you can include eucalyptus oil in your oral hygiene routine as a mouth rinse. The oil has antibacterial properties that are helpful in killing germs present in the mouth, reducing plaque and preventing gum disease.
How to do this: Add a tiny drop of eucalyptus oil to your mouthwash and use it as a rinse. You can even add a tiny drop to your regular toothpaste. In both cases, be careful not to ingest the mouthwash or the paste. After rinsing, spit it out.
- As an insect repellent: Eucalyptus oil contains an active compound, namely cineole, which is responsible for giving the oil its pungent scent. This compound is a natural insect repellent. It is very effective in keeping insects and bugs away. Hence, it can be used to prevent insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Use the spray to keep insects such as mosquitoes and flies at bay.
Note: While using eucalyptus oil, care must be taken not to exceed the recommended dosage. There is always the risk of overdose with only a few drops of oil; so, it is very important to follow guidelines as well as to consult a healthcare professional before using it.
Also, as the oil is toxic, oral consumption can be dangerous. Use it only for external purposes as an application or for inhalation. It is also important to use it in a diluted rather than a concentrated form.
Luke Coutinho — Adviser of Integrative Lifestyle and Nutrition at Purenutrition.me
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