Eucalyptus Oil for Colds

Although the common cold often resolves without medical intervention, it can be miserable while it lasts. A cold is typically caused by one or more of a group of over 200 viruses. Essential oils, which are distilled from aromatic plants such as eucalyptus, have traditionally been used in therapy for viral infections such as colds, according to a September 2007 article in "Food and Chemical Toxicology." (ref 3, pg 2)

Eucalyptus Oil Research

Research on essential oils from different species of eucalyptus reported in the June 2012 "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine" indicates that some species may be effective against viruses or bacteria that cause colds. E. odorata, for example, was found in lab testing to be nearly as effective against Haemophilus influenzae -- which can cause a bacterial upper respiratory infection -- as the antibiotic erythromycin (Erythrocin). E. bicostata, however, showed the best antiviral effects. (ref 3, 2nd Antiviral Activity subhead) In another study reported in the October 2005 "Clinical Microbiology and Infection," essential oil from E. globulata was found to inhibit growth of several organisms that cause respiratory tract infections such as colds. (ref 2, pg 2)

Considerations and Concerns

Although the research indicates some promising effects, it is important to recognize that the studies reported were laboratory tests only and the oils were not actually administered to patients. In addition, essential oils and other forms of complementary or alternative medications, may -- like conventional medications -- have side effects. Some oils have been found to cause cancer, for example, according to "Food and Chemical Toxicology." You should not attempt to treat yourself with eucalyptus oil, but consult your doctor regarding this and other alternative therapies for a cold. (ref 3, pg 17)

references & resources
Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.