Asthma. Influenza. COPD. Pneumonia. Cystic fibrosis. Bronchitis. Allergies. The common cold. And the list of illnesses and diseases involving the respiratory system goes on. In all of these cases, one of the main symptoms is shortness of breath or a general difficulty breathing. While there are dozens of treatments for breathing issues, many of these can be exorbitantly expensive and can come with their own side effects. However, prescription medications aren’t your only answer to breathing problems, whether they’re short or long term. Eucalyptus has been proven to assist in breathing and reducing symptoms of respiratory illnesses. Read on to learn more about this effective – and natural – secret weapon!
How does eucalyptus promote deep breathing?
One of the most common complaints with respiratory illnesses or chronic conditions is being unable to take a deep breath. Commonly known as shortness of breath or dyspnea, it can be scary because it feels like you are barely getting the air you need and all of the anxiety you feel from feeling unable to completely breathe can make your chest feel even tighter, worsening the symptom.
So, how does eucalyptus help alleviate the problem? First of all, the eucalyptol compound in eucalyptus plant oil functions as an expectorant, meaning that it loosens mucus in the lungs. This is beneficial as it allows you to cough up the now-loosened mucus, clearing your lungs and helping your breathing to return to full capacity faster.
Eucalyptus also has decongestant properties that come in part from its anti-inflammatory effects. Decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose that have swollen as an immune response to whatever illness or allergy has sparked the buildup of thick mucus. Once the blood vessels are reduced in size, air can more easily pass through which makes breathing less of a chore. At the same time, the decongesting properties in eucalyptus work with its expectorant qualities to expel mucus and provide relief.
On a broader level, eucalyptus is an anti-irritant. This means that it reduces irritation throughout the body including swelling and redness. If you have a sore throat that is making it difficult to breathe comfortably, eucalyptus can provide some aid in mitigating this symptom.
Finally, eucalyptus has antioxidant properties due to its high concentration of phenolic compounds which are plant-based antioxidants. If you’re like me and need a refresher on what exactly an antioxidant does, it basically strengthens the immune system by fighting against free radicals in your body which can cause harm when their levels become too high. Therefore, antioxidants provide a preventive measure against respiratory illnesses and keep you breathing before any symptoms begin by helping your body fight off attacks from the start.
Is eucalyptus effective for chronic respiratory illnesses?
We’ve established that eucalyptus can help your breathing in a variety of ways. However, you may be wondering if it will work on chronic conditions such as asthma or cystic fibrosis. Lucky for you, the answer is yes, with a qualifier.
In terms of asthma, specifically, the eucalyptus essential oil has been scientifically shown to be effective as an anti-asthma and anti-cough treatment by acting as an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory and vasorelaxant. However, on its own, it is not sufficient to treat all asthma symptoms and it is important to continue using your inhaler and other tools as advised by your doctor. Nonetheless, eucalyptus can provide an additional tool in your arsenal for fighting against breathing issues caused by asthma.
As for cystic fibrosis, research continues, but the current general consensus is that eucalyptus can provide meaningful effects as long as it does not negatively interact with any other medicines or treatments currently taking place. As one of the main distinguishing characteristics of cystic fibrosis is a clogging of the lungs with mucus, its use as an expectorant can provide a valuable lull from breathing issues and improve quality of life.
While these are just two of the many long-term illnesses that involve respiratory problems, they both highlight the important role that eucalyptus will play when used in conjunction with other treatments prescribed by your doctor that applies to nearly every chronic condition across the board.
Will eucalyptus relieve short-term respiratory symptoms?
From the flu to the common cold to seasonal allergies, short-term illnesses are nothing if not annoying and always ill-timed! Although it’s certainly a huge blessing not to have chronic shortness of breath, it can be unnerving and stressful when you suddenly are struggling to catch your breath. Thankfully, eucalyptus can be an advantageous approach to clearing up your dyspnea right away.
The science behind eucalyptus’ efficacy against short-term respiratory issues goes back to its core characteristics of being an expectorant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant - all rolled into one! Difficulty breathing from a cold or allergies typically comes from either a buildup of mucus in the lungs or congestion in your nose and head caused by thickened mucus. The expectorant present in eucalyptus can loosen the mucus, allowing you to cough it up or blow it out of your nose while the decongestant can narrow the blood vessels in your nose, allowing you to more easily expel the mucus. You can read more about the role of the mucus in a cold or other infection here. At the same time, the antioxidant properties of eucalyptus help to reduce the free radical population back to a more balanced level, protecting you from future problems and the anti-inflammatory component can aid in soothing a sore throat and other swollen or red areas such as your sinuses or lymph nodes.
Long story short: yes, eucalyptus can be a valuable asset in responding to short-term respiratory symptoms.
How can I use eucalyptus to improve my breathing?
Now that you’re aware of the myriad of benefits eucalyptus brings to the table when it comes to helping you breathe better, you’re ready to learn how to implement eucalyptus into your life. The good news is that there are several ways to do just that, meaning that you can try a few different ones out and see what works best for you.
To start off, it’s worth mentioning that eucalyptus is an active ingredient in numerous decongestants and expectorants, so you may be using it without even knowing it. But for more intentional uses, there are still several options to test out.
First of all, you can obtain the benefits of aromatherapy without adding any extra time to your daily routine by incorporating a eucalyptus bundle into your shower. By draping the bundle over your showerhead, you will inhale the soothing essential oils from the eucalyptus bundle as the steam from the shower releases it. Not only is it effective, it also provides a calming way to end (or start) your day. After all, eucalyptus has more benefits than just helping with respiration! For a similar effect, you can also try out a eucalyptus bath essential oil pouch which is made up of fresh eucalyptus leaves and eucalyptus essential oil added in. Also perfect to hang in the shower, you may also elect to hang it anywhere around your house and reap the fragrant and therapeutic gains throughout your day.
Another is to use eucalyptus bath salt soak packs. These are perfect if you’re more of a bath than shower person. Simply place them in the bath and enjoy the aromatic soaking that occurs. One thing that is special with this method is that you are both inhaling the eucalyptus and also absorbing it into your skin - providing a double whammy of benefits to your lungs. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a spa-like experience with bath salts?
You may also choose to use eucalyptus essential oil directly by adding it to your essential oil diffuser or inhale over a bowl of steam. However you choose to enjoy your eucalyptus, Self-Care Shower is here to help. At Self-Care Shower, we offer a wide variety of options of eucalyptus products for your home ranging from the original eucalyptus bundle to other items such as a eucalyptus bath salt soak or even a combination of scents such as our eucalyptus and lavender bundle! No matter what you choose, you can refresh your bathroom and enhance your breathing with a Self-Care Shower bundle, sustainably hand-picked and grown in the United States.
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Jul 13, 2022 • Posted by Imani
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