Ever thought of making yourself a eucalyptus shower?
Eucalyptus is a plant genus with over 800 species, discovered by Aborigines thousands of years ago, and loved by Koala’s far and wide. It is prized for it’s numerous medicinal and aromatic properties – it is an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and contains analgesic properties to name a few!
Australia’s native Aborigines traditionally use eucalyptus leaves to help with pain caused by inflammation, fevers caused by illness, and even to prevent cancer. In China, eucalyptus is a known remedy for asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis.
Eucalyptus and the Inflammatory Response
How does this incredible plant act as a potent anti-inflammatory?
To start, inflammation can show up anywhere in the body when white blood cells (and other chemicals in the body) build up in an isolated location in the body to help protect it from harmful compounds. For example, that nasty sore throat or arthritis is simply your body’s way of telling you that it is trying to protect itself from bacteria, viruses, free-radicals, or other substances.
Researchers have found that eucalyptus oil stimulates protective macrophage (a type of white blood cell) activity and helps reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In other words, this plant helps the little warriors of our immune system work harder, and better, and prevents the “bad guys” from coming out, which cause inflammation and wreak havoc on the body.
This is especially important for individuals dealing with things like asthma (inflammation in the lungs). Studies have shown that over 36% of patients using steroid medications for their asthma discontinued their use by 3.5mg/day simply by taking an oral preparation of eucalyptus oil! Compared to patients who did not use eucalyptus and were instead given a placebo (only 7% of these patients decreased their dose by 0.91 mg/day), these results are highly significant!
Eucalyptus: The Powerful Antimicrobial!
Using eucalyptus in your shower will release beneficial oils that can help fight viral and bacterial infections, which are the main culprits in providing us with the forbidden sore throat, nasty flu, annoying cough, or troublesome sinusitis.
One study published in Clinical Microbiology & Infection found that eucalyptus oil can help rid the upper respiratory tract of any invading pathogenic bacteria, keeping our lungs clear and bug-free!
Simply breathing in the oils of this plant (released when you take a shower) is enough to help reap these amazing antimicrobial benefits! You could also buy eucalyptus essential oil and rub some on your pillow before going to bed.
De-Stress with Eucalyptus!
What more does this plant provide? None other than awesome de-stressing properties of course! Certain smells trigger chemicals in the brain to be released which will either stress us out (yucky smells) or make us incredibly relaxed (think lavender, sandalwood, or in this case, eucalyptus).
Many sauna and steam room owners utilize this plant in their facilities to help clear the bronchial passageways and sinus cavities of their customers (it helps ease nasal congestion and symptoms of asthma by reducing inflammation). In fact, eucalyptus oil vapor acts as a decongestant when it is inhaled and can be used to treat bronchitis!
Making A Eucalyptus Shower Bouquet
Want to make your own eucalyptus shower bouquet? Follow the steps below!
1. Go to your local florist shop and buy some eucalyptus leaves (a nice big bunch).
2. Tie the ends with an elastic.
3. Use some twine or hemp string to hang the eucalyptus leaves upside down to the showerhead.
When you run your shower, the steam will rise up toward the eucalyptus and fill your bathroom with a wonderful, relaxing eucalyptus scent! This scent contains beneficial eucalyptus oils which will improve your breathing, relax your mind, and put a fresh spin on your day!
Serafino A, Sinibaldi Vallebona P, Andreola F, et al. Stimulatory effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on innate cell-mediated immune response. BMC Immunol. 2008; 9:17.
Juergens UR, Dethlefsen U, Steincamp G, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of 1.8-cineol (eucalyptol) in bronchial asthma: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Respir Med. 2003;97:250-256.