Humans have used the oil of eucalyptus leaves as folk medicines for decades for its medicinal properties, especially for respiratory conditions such as cough and cold. Eucalyptus oil acts as an expectorant, which helps to loosen mucus and phlegm, making it easier to expel from the lungs. It also helps to soothe sore throats and reduce coughing. Eucalyptus oil is also used as an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, as anti-viral and insect repellent, and in aromatherapy for its soothing and calming effects.
The active compounds in Eucalyptus oil
The effect of eucalyptus oil is related to eucalyptol (1,8 cineol), the major constituent of eucalyptus species and a versatile natural organic compound. The mucolytic monoterpene 1,8-cineole is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, bronchodilatory, antiviral and antimicrobial effects and responsible for the therapeutic properties of eucalyptus oil.
Besides of 1,8 cineol, full range eucalyptus oil contains a wider range of chemical compounds, including alpha-pinene, beta-pinene and camphene, which can increase the risk of adverse reactions or interactions with other medications. Therefore, pure 1,8 cineol extracted from eucalyptus leaves and standardize for consistent quality and efficacy is considered safer than full range eucalyptus oil.
1,8 cineol and it’s beneficial effect
1,8 cineol has been shown to have an expectorant effect, which can help to relieve coughs and improve breathing by promoting the clearance of mucus from the airways. It can also help to reduce inflammation in the lungs and relieve symptoms of many respiratory diseases, such as influenza, bronchitis, rhinosinusitis, pneumonia, asthma and COPD
1,8 cineol has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body and improve conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
1,8 cineol has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria and fungi, making it a useful natural alternative to conventional antimicrobial agents.
1,8 cineol is known to have a stimulating effect on the brain and can improve mental clarity and focus, making it a popular ingredient in aromatherapy and other natural health products.
1,8 cineol has analgesic properties and can help to relieve pain, particularly when applied topically to the skin. It is often used as an ingredient in topical pain relief products.
Overall, 1,8 cineol is a well-known, versatile natural remedy, monographed in the European Pharmacopoeia, but it is important to use it safely and in the correct dosage. Phytopharmaceuticals, produced under controlled conditions and subject to strict quality and safety standards, are therefore the safest way of use for 1,8 cineol and avoid the risk of adverse effects from inconsistent dosing or contamination.
ZM Cai et al. (2021): 1,8-Cineole: a review of source, biological activities, and application https://doi.org/10.1080/10286020.2020.1839432,
Chandorkar et al. (2021): A systematic and comprehensive review on current understanding of the pharmacological actions, molecular mechanisms, and clinical implications of the genus Eucalyptus https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phyplu.2021.100089,
Moss et al. (2012): Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma 10.1177/2045125312436573