Which Eucalyptus Essential Oil is Best?

1 Posted by - December 4, 2009 - Archive

With such a large selection of great eucalyptus products offered by Young Living, it can be confusing to know which one is best for you. But once you understand more about the unique properties of each eucalyptus essential oil, you’ll have no problem picking one that fits your specific needs.

globulusLet’s start with a brief history lesson: For centuries, native Australian aborigines traditionally used eucalyptus for body pains, sinus congestion, fever, and colds. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s that English doctors started experimenting with the oil and shared it with the rest of the world. Not surprisingly, most eucalyptus species are found in Australia. Have you heard of the famous “blue mists” in Australia? It happens because the eucalyptus sap exudes from the trees and wisps into the air, creating a hazy blue mist seen for miles around. Historically, it is said the blue mist keeps down fevers in nearby communities. A recent study might suggest that is wasn’t the eucalyptus that took down the fever, but inhibited the fever-carrying mosquitoes in the area.[1] Now that’s what I call an essential oil diffuser!

radiataSo what makes eucalyptus essential oil work? Each eucalyptus species has its own unique combination of naturally-occurring plant chemicals, which are what produce an effect on the body. One of the major active ingredient in most eucalyptus species is eucalyptol (also called 1,8 cineole). Scientists are only beginning to validate the many positive effects of this constituent. In one study using rats, researchers saw significant anti-inflammatory effects in the gut in rats.[2] Another laboratory experiment looked at the reduction effects of eucalyptus essential oils on specific respiratory pathogens.[3]

PolybracteaOf the five eucalyptus essential oils Young Living offers, the most popular are Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata. These two oils smell most like traditional eucalyptus oils (kind of like the vapor rub my mom lathered on my chest when I was kid). These oils also have a high percentage of 1,8 cineole: E. globulus has up to 80 percent eucalyptol and E. radiata can contain up to 75 percent of that active ingredient.

When speaking about eucalyptus options, I always suggest Eucalyptus polybractea as well. E. polybactea has high levels of 1,8 cineole and has the comforting medicinal scent one might expect from a eucalyptus product. It also is low in a compound called isovaleric aldehyde, which can irritate mucus membranes.

divesInterestingly, Eucalyptus dives has large amounts of eucalyptol and also high amounts of piperitone, which gives it a slight pepperminty and citrus scent. E. dives is excellent for use in a Young Living diffuser to purify the air. E. dives is considered the strongest of the eucalyptus species and generally should not be applied to those with skin sensitivities.

Lastly, Gary Young rediscovered a eucalyptus species in Ecuador he named Eucalyptus Blue.™ Eucalyptus Blue has significant amounts of eucalyptol plus high levels of alpha pinene. In fact, because of its levels of alpha-pinene, Eucalyptus Blue can be considered a natural R.C. blend. So, if you are looking for an R.C. alternative, Eucalyptus Blue is a great choice.

eblueEucalyptus Blue is my favorite eucalyptus because of its deep, warm aroma. I also like it because it doesn’t make my eyes water as much as some of the other eucalyptus oils (think of when you get peppermint close to your eyes).

As general guidelines, Eucalyptus globulus and E. dives are best applied topically or on the reflex points of the feet while Eucalyptus radiata, E. polybractea, and Eucalyptus Blue are more suitable for diffusing and inhalation.

If you still can’t decide which eucalyptus to try, a great place to start is with our Breathe Again™ Essential Oil Roll-On. This convenient product has a powerful punch of four eucalyptus essential oils (including Eucalyptus Blue)—perfect for supporting respiratory health and invigorating the senses.

Which eucalyptus essential oil is your favorite? Share how you use eucalyptus in the blog’s comments section.

—Toby Palmer
Product Marketing

[1] James A. Klocke, Mark V. Darlington and Manuel F. Balandrin. 1,8-Cineole (Eucalyptol), a mosquito feeding and ovipositional repellent from volatile oil ofHemizonia fitchii (Asteraceae). Journal of Chemical Ecology. Volume 13, Number 12/December, 1987. 2131–2141.

[2] Juergens U R, Dethlefsen U, Steinkamp G, et al. (2003) anti-inflammatory activity of 1,8 cineole (eucalpytol) in bronchial asthma: a double blind, placebo controlled trial. Resp Med 97 250–256.

[3] Claudio Cermelli. Anna Fabio. Giuliana Fabio. Paola Quaglio. Effect of Eucalyptus Essential Oil on Respiratory Bacteria and Viruses. Current Microbiology. Volume 56, Number 1/January, 2008. 89–92.


  • Debora Weksler April 24, 2012 - 10:48 pm Reply

    I am a massage therapist. I have a client with severe sleep apnea. He uses a C-pap (?) machine at 15 PSI (or pounds of force)to force the air through. The doctors seriously did not know how he was still alive after they how often and how long he was not breathing when they assessed his sleep study results. He has 2 forms of sleep apnea. One which is physical and the other which is neurological.

    He is getting mixed information about regular use of the c-pap machine helping the neurological type of sleep apnea through re-education. The sleep study people said that it would help and the respiratory therapist said that it will only help him breath each time he uses it.

    I was wondering if he adds a drop of eucalyptus in the c-pap water that it could provide that extra stimulus for the brain to want to breath and it is my understanding that certain types of eucalyptus can help the lungs expand and clear the sinuses.

    Please, let me know if you think this is a good idea at all and which kind of eucalyptus to use. I know that they use aromatherapy in humidifiers and they typically add a eucalyptus/menthol mixture.

    Thank you,

  • Jayne March 5, 2012 - 1:10 pm Reply

    Hi! Is Eucalyptus Blue suitable for young children? I have read that Eucalyptus Smithi is the safest for kids.

  • Karen Garcia February 28, 2011 - 11:03 am Reply

    Can you tell me which Eucalyptus oil would be best used in a shower head for oils?

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