Report on Eucalyptus Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Eucalyptus (gum tree). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Eucalyptus should not be used on children under 2 years of age and should not be ingested by children younger than 6 years of age. The internal use of Eucalyptus is discouraged during pregnancy.

Warning 2 – Insulin: Eucalyptus may alter the effectiveness of insulin.

Warning 3 – Amphetamines: This herb decreases the effects of amphetamines.

Warning 4 – Application: Do not use eucalyptus oil full-strength either by mouth or on the skin. This oil must be diluted to avoid adverse reactions. Ingesting just 3.5 mL of undiluted oil can be fatal.

Warning 5 – Children: Eucalyptus oil NOT safe for children. It should not be taken by mouth or applied to the skin of children. Using eucalyptus oil on children can cause an allergic rash or hives.

Warning 6 – Oral Antidiabetics: Eucalyptus may alter the effectiveness of anti-diabetic medications.

Warning 7 – Diabetes: Initial research suggests that eucalyptus might lower blood sugar levels. The concern is that using eucalyptus while taking medications for diabetes might lower blood sugar too much. Monitor blood sugar levels closely. Some of the medications used for diabetes include:

  • Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
  • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • Glyburide (DiaBeta)
  • Glynase PresTab
  • Insulin
  • Micronase)
  • Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
  • Tolbutamide (Orinase)
  • And others

Warning 8 – Surgery: Eucalyptus might affect blood sugar levels and make control of the blood sugar level difficult during and after surgery. Stop using eucalyptus at least 2 weeks before surgery.

Warning 9 – Drug/herb interactions: Ingesting eucalyptus oil along with some drugs that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of those drugs. Before ingesting eucalyptus oil, talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver. Common examples of such medications include:

  • Carisoprodol (Soma)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Diclofenac (Cataflam
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Ondansetron (Zofran)
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Piroxicam (Feldene)
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • and many others

Warning 10 – Herb/herb interactions: Eucalyptus can interact with other herbs and supplements. Using eucalyptus can intensify the effects of herbs that contain hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can damage the liver. These herbs include:

  • Alkanna
  • Boneset
  • Borage
  • Butterbur
  • Coltsfoot
  • Comfrey
  • Dusty miller
  • Forget-me-not
  • Golden ragwort
  • Gravel root
  • Groundsel
  • Hemp agrimony
  • Hound’s tongue
  • Tansy ragwort.

Warning 11 – Herb/herb interaction 2: Eucalyptus oil may slow down your nervous system, decrease mental alertness, and cause drowsiness if used with Chamomile, lemon balm or other natural herbs that have a sedative effect. Avoid driving when using these combinations.

Warning 12 – Barbiturates: Eucalyptus may decrease the effectiveness of barbiturates.

Used as a natural health remedy: Diluted eucalyptus oil is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Anti-inflammatory (See other herbs for inflammation)
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Antifungal
  • Asthma
  • Bladder diseases
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Decongestant
  • Fever
  • Fight gum disease. Eucalyptus appears to inhibit the formation plaque. Several studies have shown that chewing gum containing Eucalyptus is more effective than a placebo in stopping plaque from forming.
  • Flu
  • Help control blood sugar (diabetes)
  • Liver and gallbladder problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduce fever
  • Reducing swelling (inflammation) of the upper airway tract
  • Research suggests that eucalyptol, a chemical found in eucalyptus oil, might be able to break up mucous caused by asthma. Some people with severe asthma have been able to lower their dosage of steroid medications by using eucalyptol. However, do not try this without your health care provider’s advice and monitoring.
  • Ringworm
  • Sinus pain
  • Sore throats
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Stuffy nose
  • Ulcers

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of eucalyptus for these uses.

Diluted eucalyptus oil is used externally for:

  • Acne
  • Antiseptic
  • Arthritis
  • Burns
  • Cancer (unproven)
  • Deodorant
  • Earache (when inhaled as from a vaporizer)
  • Genital herpes
  • Get rid of fleas and lice
  • Healing minor cuts
  • Herpes
  • Infections
  • Insect repellent (contains citronella)
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Sore muscles
  • Sprains
  • Ulcers
  • Vaporizer fluids
  • Wounds

Bee keepers use Eucalyptus (essential oil) to get rid of mites.

Side Effects of Eucalyptus

The known side effects of using Eucalyptus include:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Abdominal cramps
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Delirium
  7. Trouble breathing

Other side effects may also occur when using Eucalyptus. (See form below)

Eucalyptus is known by many other names. Some of them are Blue Gum, Blue Mallee Oil, Eucalipto, Eucalypti Folium, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptol Oil, Eucalyptus blatter, Eucalyptus bicostata, Eucalyptus essential oil, Eucalyptus oil, Eucalyptus fructicetorum, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus leaf, Eucalyptus odorata, Eucalyptus oil, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus smithii, Fever Tree, Fieberbaumblatter, Gully Gum, Gully Gum Oil, Gum Tree, Red Gum, Stringy Bark Tree, Sugandhapatra, Tailapatra, and Tasmanian Blue Gum.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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