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Eucalyptus

yook-a-LIP-tuss

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy

Scientific and common names: Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalypti folium, blue mallee, gully gum, eucalyptus oil, gum tree, fever tree, Tasmanian bluegum, red gum

What is eucalyptus?

Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree that grows up to 300 feet tall. Most eucalyptus medicines are made from the oil in the leaves.

What is it used for?

This remedy has been used to treat several conditions. Studies in humans or animals have not proved that this remedy is safe or effective for all uses. Before using this remedy for a serious condition, you should talk with your healthcare provider.

Eucalyptus has been taken by mouth to treat:

  • Colds and flu
  • Gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis

Eucalyptus oil has been used on the skin to treat:

  • Arthritis
  • Boils
  • Herpes
  • Sores
  • Wounds

Eucalyptus has been added to water in a vaporizer and inhaled to treat coughs. The oil has also been rubbed on the skin as an insect repellent.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

You can buy eucalyptus in the form of oil, dried leaves, tea, liquid extract, lozenges, and cough drops. It also comes as an oil or ointment that can be used on the skin. Check the label on the package for the specific dose. Eucalyptus oil must be diluted before taking by mouth or using on the skin. As little as a half teaspoon of the oil taken by mouth can be fatal.

What if I overdose?

Symptoms of an acute overdose have not been reported.

What should I watch out for?

Do not give eucalyptus oil to young children or infants in any form. Do not use on the face on children or infants. A few drops of eucalyptus oil may cause life-threatening poisoning in a child.

Do not take eucalyptus if you have:

  • Stomach or gallbladder problems
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Low blood pressure

Taking eucalyptus oil by mouth might lower blood-sugar levels in some people. This could cause low blood sugar if you take medicines for diabetes. Talk with your healthcare provider about this.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist you are taking this medicine.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or thinking about using. If your provider does not tell you how to take it, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:

  • Natural remedies are not always safe.
  • You should not take them if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without your healthcare provider’s approval. They should not be taken by infants, children, or older adults without your provider’s approval.
  • They affect your body and may interact with prescription medicines that you take.
  • Natural remedies are not standardized. They may have different strengths and effects. They may be contaminated.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you are unable to reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Trouble breathing, seizures, slurred speech, pinpoint pupils.

Serious (report these to your healthcare provider right away): Unexplained muscle weakness, severe dizziness, seizures, severe nausea or vomiting.

Other: Indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, skin irritation.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way the remedy or the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • Natural remedies such as borage oil, coltsfoot, and comfrey
  • Diabetes medicines such as glipizide (Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), repaglinide (Prandin), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide, glimepiride (Amaryl), and tolbutamide

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.


Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

This advisory includes select information only. The information was obtained from scientific journals, study reports, and other documents. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the information. The advisory may not include all side effects associated with a remedy or interactions with other medicines. Nothing herein shall constitute a recommendation for the use of any remedy. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Medication Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-12-03
Last reviewed: 2013-12-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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