Eucalyptus is a Top Note oil with a clear, sharp, piercing (menthol) odour and is derived from the leaves, twigs and gum resin of the tree. Although Eucalyptus Globulus is the most widely used variety there are many different varieties of the oil. Eucalyptus Citriodora, for instance, has a lemony undertone to it.

Eucalyptus is best known as a decongestant and is present in many of the over-the-counter cold remedies. However, it does have other lesser known uses - not least, it possesses powerful bactericidal properties .

For generations, Australian Aborigines have used Eucalyptus to heal wounds, by binding leaves around the affected area. It blends well with Coriander, Juniper, Lavender, Lemongrass, Melissa, Pine and Thyme.

Some of the physical uses for minor respiratory tract/throat infections, sinusitis, general aches and pains (analgesic), insect bites, athletes foot and cold sores. Eucalyptus is an effective antiseptic for minor cuts, scrapes, stings, insect bites etc. although I would advise against using it on the face as it is a very strong skin sensitiser.

Emotional uses are 'awakening' of the brain and aiding concentration...very useful for clearing the head the morning after a late night.

Eucalyptus is useful throughout the year. In the summer months it can help to relieve the symptoms of hay fever due to its decongestant properties - take a hankie with a few drops of Eucalyptus sprinkled on to it, whenever you leave the house. Dilute in water and use in a spray bottle as a protective bacteriacide, insect repellent and room freshener 'in one'. Eucalyptus will help to deter dog-fleas when added to the final rinse water after shampooing and it's an effective but harmless alternative for removing tar from clothing.

During the winter months its uses are inhalation/steam for colds and flu, oil burners for living areas and chest rubs (when blended with carrier oil). When using in the bedroom to help with the symptoms of a cold, place a saucer or bowl of warm water containing a few drops of Eucalyptus on top of a radiator - the heat from the radiator will cause the oil's decongestant vapours to permeate the room.

DO NOT USE AN OIL BURNER/CANDLE IN THE BEDROOM.

Eucalyptus is, in my opinion, another of the most versatile oils for any household's First Aid cupboard.

Avoid using on sensitive areas of the skin, i.e. face

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