How to Take Eucalyptus Oil for Cold & Flu


Eucalyptus oil has long been used as a treatment for cold and flu-related congestion. It can be used as a decongestant or an expectorant, helping to loosen phlegm and mucus from the chest. Though sold without a prescription, the National Institutes of Health warns it should be used with extreme care. For cold and flu relief, administer it as a steam inhalant or dilute it and apply it topically to the chest. Ingesting eucalyptus oil can be extremely dangerous, even in very small doses.

Things You'll Need

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Hot water
  • Sauce pan, tea kettle or vaporizer
  • Towel
  • Olive oil, sesame oil or almond oil

Steam Treatment

Add five to 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to two cups of water, then bring the mixture to a boil. Don’t use so much eucalyptus that it becomes overpowering and ineffective as a steam treatment.

Carefully pour the boiling liquid into a bowl and place it on a table. Bend your head over the bowl, close your eyes and slowly inhale the steam. For greater effect, drape a towel over your head to trap the steam. If you find yourself getting uncomfortably hot simply remove the towel. Inhale the steam for 10 to 15 minutes or until congestion is alleviated.

For alternate steam treatments, add five to 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to your vaporizer water or add several drops to a hot bath. The bath treatment not only clears congestion, but soothe aches from the body as well.

Topical Application

Mix 15 to 30 drops of eucalyptus oil with1/2 cup of olive oil. If you’d prefer, you can substitute sesame or almond oil for the olive oil.

Apply the mixture to the chest as a rub to relieve chest and nasal congestion. Try wrapping a towel around the area to add warmth and to help the mixture penetrate the skin. As the eucalyptus penetrates, it loosens phlegm and mucus from the chest for less constricted breathing.

Re-apply every two to three hours as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • For flu-related aches and pains, try using your eucalyptus rub as a massage oil on your back and neck.
  • Do not use eucalyptus oil as a topical rub on children under age 6. Also avoid using eucalyptus in any form if you are pregnant or nursing. People with asthma should take care with eucalyptus treatments, as they can sometimes trigger asthma attacks. Never ingest undiluted eucalyptus oil. Even very small amounts can cause life-threatening reactions.

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