Eucalyptus was originated 50 million years ago in Australia. There are about 700 species of eucalyptus trees in the world. Today, they are found in many countries. Some of them are Indonesia, India, Europe, Africa and New Guinea. But, they are not found in cold climates, as they are not tolerant of frost. They can only tolerate light frost up to -5 degrees Celsius.
It belongs to the diverse group of flowering shrubs and trees in the Myrtaceae family. They are also known as gum trees, since they produce sap when the bark is broken.
A mature tree is either a large tree or a small shrub. The tree has waxy leaves. Its flowers have fluffy stamens. The flowers may be cream, pink, red or white in color with no petals. The eucalyptus oil is steam distilled from the leaves. This oil contains powerful disinfectants and toxic in large quantities. The oil is used as an antiseptic for its medicinal properties. It is also used as a bio pesticide.
Eucalyptus offers many benefits to us, but at the same the use of it creates many side effects.
Top 10 Side Effects Of Eucalyptus:
The following are the side effects of eucalyptus that can happen when used inappropriately:
1. Lowers Blood Sugar Level:
The use of eucalyptus oil and leaves lower the blood sugar level in the body. The effect worsens when the oil is taken along with the medicines for diabetes. Since it hinders the normal blood sugar level, it is advised to stop using eucalyptus oil at least 2- 3 weeks before the surgery.
2. Serious Complications In Children:
Eucalyptus oil and leaves are considered to be unsafe for children. They cause serious complications among children below 6 years. The oil should not be applied on the skin or taken orally by small children. It is best to avoid using eucalyptus leaves or oil even in small quantities.
3. Allergic Reactions:
Eucalyptus oil often causes allergic rashes after application on the skin either directly or as an ingredient in creams. When taken orally, it causes rashes both in adults and children. It also causes diarrhea and nausea.
Deadly side effects have been reported, when the eucalyptus oil is taken orally. It causes extreme drowsiness, hence should be avoided before operating vehicles. It also slows down the nervous system, which sometimes results in coma.
5. Difficult Breathing:
Young children and infants should avoid inhaling or ingesting eucalyptus oil. When the oil is directly applied on skin or face, it would result in sneezing, wheezing and even asthma.
6. Interaction With Drugs:
The eucalyptus oil often interacts with specific drugs. Some of them are 5- fluorouracil lotion, propanolol and anti inflammatory drugs. So, when the oil is taken along with such drugs, the drugs don’t work. Sometimes the drugs even cause serious side effects, such as rashes in the body.
7. Severity Of Asthma:
Eucalyptus oil has been traditionally used as a remedy for asthma and other related complications. But a recent study has reported that the oil induces asthma among certain individuals. Thus, avoid taking this oil, if you have asthma. It also worsens watery eyes and runny nose conditions.
8. Causes Infection:
Eucalyptus contains a certain type of bacteria, which might cause infection for specific individuals. It worsens rhino conjunctivitis in the body.
9. Produces Extreme Heat:
The eucalyptus oil produces extreme heat when you inhale it with the steam. Thus, infants, pregnant women, elderly people, people with heart diseases and nervous disorders should never inhale it, since they won’t be able to respond to the heat.
10. Severe Headache:
The use of eucalyptus oil often causes severe headache. The headache slows down after few hours. It also makes the muscles weak. Taken in undiluted form, it results in chronic effects. Sometimes, it results in collapse and death of the person.
A Word Of Caution:
As we know the side effects of using eucalyptus oil, we should be careful and cautious before using this oil. Read on to know in which situations, we should be cautious using this oil:
- If the oil enters the eyes or causes irritation when applied on skin, then rinse the area for at least 15 minutes.
- Adults should always ingest the oil in diluted form and in small quantity.
- Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable and thus should be kept away from flames and sparks.
- Don’t rub the eucalyptus oil on the chest or on nose of children under the age of 2.
Taking eucalyptus in limited amounts would lower the risk of health problems. Use it wisely to reap its benefits.
Have you ever experienced any of the above side effects of using eucalyptus? Do not forget to share your experiences with us.