The use of eucalyptus oils in consumer products

Insect repellents

As noted in the introduction, Eucalyptus citriodora oil has been used as a ‘natural’ insect repellent. Depending on the product formulation it is used in, Lemon Eucalyptus (known as Quwenling in China) is up to four or five times more effective and longer-lasting than citronella oil (from Cymbopogon nardus), one of the best known natural insect repellents. p-Menthane-3,8-diol is the main active component of Quwenling and this can be isolated and used as a highly effective insect repellent. Eucalyptus citriodora oil contains up to 80–90 per cent citronellal, along with geraniol, both of which are known to have insect repellent activity but tend to dilute the much higher activity of the p-menthane-3,8-diol.

The Mosi-guard Natural insect repellent spray produced by MASTA in the UK contains ‘Extract of Lemon Eucalyptus’ and claims on the label:

Approved and recommended by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Field trials have shown effective protection for 6 h after a single application in mosquito infected areas. Also protects against many other biting insects. Mosi-guard Natural is made from a natural and renewable resource. It is kind to your skin and has no adverse effects on fabrics and surfaces. Apply Mosi-guard Natural to exposed areas as often as required.

Eucalyptus citriodora was traditionally used for perfuming the linen cupboard by putting the dried leaves in a small cloth sachet. During the last century, its use as an insect repellent was recognised, especially against silverfish and cockroaches.

The use of eucalyptus oil as a natural flea repellent, sprayed around the home three times a week as a dispersion in water, has also been advocated. Pets and their bedding can be sprayed with the same solution. An equine shampoo, containing eucalyptus oil as a natural insect repellent, is also available for sale on the Internet.

The insect repellency properties of eucalyptus have also been reportedly used in mosquito mats in India.

Medicinal uses

Today, the number and diversity of medicinal products containing eucalyptus oil which are marketed is very large indeed. This is illustrated in Table Examples of pharmaceutical products containing eucalyptus oil which are marketed in Australia, Europe, Thailand and the United States which lists some, but by no means all, of the products which are available in Australia, Europe, Thailand and the United States. Note that there are many more products which contain eucalyptol (cineole) and although these are derived from eucalyptus oil they are not included in Examples of pharmaceutical products containing eucalyptus oil which are marketed in Australia, Europe, Thailand and the United States.

Table Examples of pharmaceutical products containing eucalyptus oil which are marketed in Australia, Europe, Thailand and the United States

Product nameManufacturerTreatment
Australia
Alcusal SportAlcusalSports injuries
Analgesic RubJ. McGloinMuscle and joint pain
BiosalYauyipArthritic pain
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus InhalantFelton Grimwade & BickfordCold symptoms
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus RubFelton Grimwade & BickfordMuscular aches and pains
DencorubCarter WallaceMusculoskeletal pain
DenteseJ. McGloinToothache
Euky Bear Eu-Clear InhalantFelton Grimwade & BickfordCold symptoms, respiratory tract congestion
Euky BearubFelton Grimwade & BickfordCold symptoms, nasal congestion, muscular aches and pains, insect bites
Logicin Chest RubSigma PharmaceuticalsRespiratory tract congestion
Methyl Salicylate Compound LinimentJ. McGloinMuscle pain
Metsal3M PharmaceuticalsRheumatic pain, arthritis, sprains and strains
Vicks VapodropsProcter & GambleNasal congestion, sore throat
Vicks VapoRubProcter & GambleCold symptoms
Zam-BukKey PharmaceuticalsMinor skin disorders
France
BalsofletolLaboratoires PharmascienceNose and throat infections
Édulcor eucalyptus et mentholLaboratoires Pierre FabreSore throat
Eucalyptine Le BrunLaboratoires JanssenCoughs
InonganLaboratoires FumouzeMuscle pain
KamolWhitehallLocalised pain and injury
NazophylLaboratoires Médecine VégétaleRhinitis, rhinopharyngitis, sinusitis
PulmaxLaboratoires ZymaRespiratory tract congestion
Pulmoll au menthol et à l’eucalyptusSterling MidyThroat disorders
Sirop PectoralLaboratoires OberlinCoughs
Thiopon BalsamiqueLaboratoires AmidoUpper respiratory tract infections
Trophirès ComposéMillot-SolacRespiratory tract disorders, coughs, fever
Tussipax à l’EuquinineLaboratoires ThéricaCoughs
Vicks PastillesLaboratoires LachartreSore throats
Vicks VaporubLaboratoires LachartreRespiratory congestion
Germany
Aerosol Spitzner NW. SpitznerRespiratory tract disorders
Angocin percutanRephaRespiratory tract disorders, muscle and joint pain
Aspecton-BalsamKrewel-WerkeCoughs, cold symptoms
BabifortonPlantorganRespiratory tract catarrh
Babix-Inhalat NMickan ArzneimittelRespiratory tract disorders
Baby-TranspulminAsta MedicaCold symptoms
Bronchicum Sekret-LöserA. NattermannUpper respiratory tract disorders
BronchoduratG. Pohl-BoskampBronchitis, cold symptoms
BronchofortonPlantorganBronchitis, sinusitis
Divinal-Broncho-BalsamDivinal ArzneimittelRespiratory tract disorders
Dolo-cylPharma LiebermannMusculoskeletal and joint disorders, sports injuries
Emser Balsam echtSiemensRespiratory tract disorders
Emser Nasensalbe NSiemensColds, hay fever
EphepectBolder ArzneimittelBronchitis, catarrh
Eucabal-Balsam SEsparma Pharmazeutische FabrikRespiratory tract disorders
Eucafluid NSteigerwald ArzneimittelwerkMusculoskeletal and joint disorders
Eufimenth N mildLichtenstein PharmazeuticaRespiratory tract disorders
HevertopectHevert-ArzneimittelRespiratory tract disorders
HustagilDentinoxCoughs, respiratory tract disorders
Inspirol N SolutionLyssiaMouth and throat disorders
Kneipp Erkältungs-Balsam NKneipp-WerkeCoughs, respiratory tract disorders
Leukona-Eukalpin-BadDr Atzinger PharmazeutischeBath additive, respiratory tract disorders
LiniplantW. SpitznerUpper respiratory tract disorders
Logomed Erkältungs-Logomed PharmaUpper respiratory tract disorders
Balsam Creme
Makatussin Balsam MentholRoland ArzneimittelCatarrh, bronchitis
Melrosum InhalationstropfenA. NattermannCold symptoms
Mentholon Original NRichard SchöningCatarrh
Nasivin Intensiv-BadE. MerckRespiratory tract congestion
Nervfluid SFides Vertrieb Pharm. PräparateNerve, muscle and joint pain
PalatolPascoe Pharm. PräparateCatarrh
Piniol NW. SpitznerRespiratory tract disorders
Pulmotin-NSerum-Werk BernburgRespiratory tract disorders
Pumilen-NE. TosseColds, nasal congestion
Repha-OsRephaInflammatory disorders of oropharynx
Retterspitz AerosolRetterspitzRespiratory tract infections
Salviathymol NGalenika Dr HetterichInflammatory disorders of oropharynx
Sinuforton (oral drops)PlantorganSinusitis
Thymipin N (cream)ZymaCoughs, respiratory tract disorders
Tumarol-NRobugenColds
TussipectBeiersdorfCoughs, respiratory tract disorders
Italy
AntipulminaLisapharmaRespiratory tract disorders
CapsolinParke DavisJoint and muscle pain
Eucalipto CompostoDynacrenNasal congestion
FomentilSITRespiratory congestion
RinostilLaboratorio Chimico DecaInflammation of nose and throat
SloanParke DavisMusculoskeletal and joint pain
Vicks GolaProctor & GambleOropharyngeal disorders
Vicks VaporubProctor & GambleUpper respiratory tract disorders
Spain
BellacanforBictherRheumatic and muscular pain
GartricinCantabriaMouth and throat inflammation
Lapiz Termo CompositumDomenech GarciaRheumatic and muscular pain
PorosanReig JofreUpper respiratory tract disorders, soft tissue and muscular disorders
TermosanDomenech GarciaUpper respiratory tract disorders, soft tissue disorders, muscular pain
Vicks VaporubProcter & GambleUpper respiratory tract disorders
Switzerland
AntiphlogistineCarter-WallacePain, inflammation
Baby LibérolGalactinaColds, fever
Baume KyttaWhitehall-RobinsMusculoskeletal and joint disorders
BismorectalViforOropharyngeal disorders
BradoralZymaOropharyngeal disorders
Bronchoforton NSterling HealthRespiratory tract disorders
CapsolinParke, DavisMusculoskeletal pain
Demo pâtes pectoralesDemopharmCoughs, bronchitis
EmbropaxTaphlanPeri-articular and soft tissue disorders
GEMPiraudCoughs, throat disorders
Huile analgésique ‘Polar-Bär’Panax Import, F. RuckstuhlHeadache
Huile Po-Ho A. VogelBioforceHomeopathic preparation
KemeolInterdeltaNasal congestion
LibérolGalactinaMuscle and joint pain, chilblains, cold symptoms
Makatussin (oral drops)MakapharmCoughs, catarrh
MassoraxLaboratoire RTAJoint and soft tissue disorders
NasobolSodipRespiratory tract disorders
Pasta boliSpirigMusculoskeletal and soft tissue pain
PhlogantineG. StreuliMusculoskeletal inflammation, bronchitis, skin disorders
PinimentholPiniolInfluenza, muscle and joint pain
PiromSolmerMuscle and joint pain, headache, sports injuries, insect bites
PulmexZymaRespiratory tract disorders
RhinothricinolLaboratoires PlanRhinopharyngeal infections
RoliwolECR PharmaMuscle and joint pain
Sloan BaumWarner-LambertMusculoskeletal and joint disorders
TumarolRenapharmCold symptoms
Vicks VapoRubProcter & GambleUpper respiratory tract disorders
Thailand
Golden Cup BalmGolden Cup PharmaceuticalMuscular rheumatism, strains, insect bites, eczema
Golden Lion BalmJack Chia IndustriesMinor muscular aches and pains
Golden Snake BalmL.P. Standard LaboratoriesMinor muscular aches and pains, sprain, headache, insect bites
Neotica Analgesic BalmThai Nakorn PatanaMuscular aches and pains, sprains, sports injuries, insect bites
White Monkey Holding Peach BalmMonkey Holding Peach BrandMinor muscular aches and pains, sprain, insect bites
United Kingdom
9 Rubbing OilsPotter’s Herbal SuppliesRheumatic and muscular pain
AleevexPure Plant ProductsCold symptoms
CabdriversOpal ProductsCoughs
Catarrh CreamWeledaNasal congestion
Catarrh PastillesHealthcraftsCough and cold symptoms
Chymol Emollient BalmRosmarine ManufacturingChapped skin, chilblains, bruises, sprains
Cupal Baby Chest RubCupalBronchial congestion
Deep Heat RubMentholatumRheumatic and muscular pain
Dragon BalmGerard HouseMuscular aches
Fisherman’s FriendLofthouse of Fleetwood[Confectionery]
Gonne BalmG.R. Lane Health ProductsMuscular pain
Mackenzies Smelling SaltsCox PharmaceuticalsCatarrh, head colds
Medicinal GargleWeleda
Mentho-lyptusWarner-Lambert ConfectioneryCold symptoms, sore throats
MentholeaseWarner-Lambert Health CareHay fever
MerotholMarion Merrell DowMouth and throat infections, nasal congestion
NicobrevinIntercare ProductsAid to smoking withdrawal
Olbas OilG.R. Lane Health ProductsBronchial and nasal congestion, hay fever, muscular pain
Olbas PastillesBCM for G.R. Lane HealthColds, coughs, catarrh, sore throats,
Productsflu, catarrhal headache, nasal congestion
Oleum RhinaleWeledaCatarrh, sinus congestion
PenetrolSeton HealthcareNasal congestion
Potter’s Decongestion PastillesErnest JacksonBlocked noses, coughs, catarrhal colds
Proctor’s Pinelyptus PastillesErnest JacksonThroat irritation, coughs
Sanderson’s Throat SpecificSandersonsSore throat, catarrh
SnufflebabeJ. Pickles & SonsCongestion
SootheneG.R. Lane Health ProductsMinor skin disorders
Strepsils Menthol & EucalyptusCrookes HealthcareSore throat, mouth infections, nasal congestion
Tixylix InhalantNovartis Consumer HealthNasal congestion
Vicks VaporubProctor & Gamble (H&B Care)Congestion
Zam-BukRoche ConsumerWounds, skin abrasions
United States
CapastatSmithKline BeechamSore throat
EucalyptamintCiba Pharmaceutical
Hall’s Sugar Free Mentho-LyptusWarner-LambertSore throat
MassengillBeecham ProductsVaginal disorders
Maximum Strength Flexall 454Chattem Consumer ProductsPain, musculoskeletal disorders
MexsanaSchering-PloughNappy rash
Robitussin Cough DropsWhitehall-RobinsCoughs
Unguentine OintmentMentholatumPain in minor burns
Vicks Menthol Cough DropsProcter & GambleSore throat
Vicks VapoRubProcter & Gamble
Vicks Victors Dual Action Cough DropsRichardson-VicksCoughs
  • Source: RPS (1996), Ody (1996) and retail outlets in the UK and Thailand.
  • Products containing ingredients listed as eucalyptol/cineole are not included.
  • The list is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive. Some products may no longer be marketed; or they may be used for the treatment of conditions different, or additional, to those described; or they may no longer be labeled as containing explicitly ‘eucalyptus oil’. Company names may also have changed.

Eucalyptus is widely used for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, influenza and sinusitis. Vaporisers and aromatherapy oil burners can be used in the home to distribute the essential oil odour around the room, helping to purify the air and aid breathing. There are also numerous inhalation/chest rub products on the market, one of the most well-known being Vicks VapoRub (Proctor & Gamble), which has been marketed for over eighty years. The oils used in this, and similar products, which have demonstrated a clinically significant contribution to the overall nasal decongestant effects of the product, are Eucalyptus, Camphor and Peppermint (menthol). Vicks VapoRub ointment contains as active ingredients: Camphor B.P 5.46% w/w, Menthol B.P. 2.82% w/w, Turpentine oil B.P. 4.71% w/w and Eucalyptus oil B.P. 1.35% w/w in a petrolatum base. Non-medicinal ingredients are typically Cedar leaf, Nutmeg and Thymol.

A typical formula for a decongestant oil is:

Wintergreen27
Camphor23
Peppermint20
Turpentine18
Eucalyptus8
Cedar leaf2
Nutmeg2
Total100

This is then mixed with pure petroleum jelly for use as a chest rub or encapsulated for use with hot water as a decongestant.

Hall’s Mentho-Lyptus cough suppressants, Listerine mouthwash, Olbas oil and various nasal inhalers are further examples of products utilising the refreshing and expectorant properties of Eucalyptus. A recent eucalyptus product, Eucalyptamint, has been promoted in the United States as a treatment for muscle soreness. Researchers at the University of California are reported to have tested the ointment and discovered that it increases the blood flow to muscle tissue ().

Tigerbalm is one of the most popular liniments, traditionally used in Asia but now widely available in the West. A Chinese merchant is said to have composed the first Tigerbalm, based on the ointment that tradition says was used by Genghis Khan’s Mongolian horsemen and which was very effective against saddle and backache. A typical formula is:

Peppermint25
Wintergreen20
Camphor15
Eucalyptus15
Lavender15
Vegetable oil10
Total100

This is then mixed with pure petroleum jelly (adding the above oil at about 15% w/w). A small spot is applied to the forehead to alleviate headaches, or it can be rubbed on aching muscles or insect bites. However, in Tigerbalm products currently marketed in the UK eucalyptus oil appears to have been replaced by cajeput oil (from Melaleuca cajeputi) which also contains a high level of cineole and has similar warming, expectorant and analgesic properties.

Further examples of active ingredients and essential oils used in some preparations containing eucalyptus oil, and the proportions used, are given in Table Active ingredients and essential oils used in some proprietary preparations containing eucalyptus oil (%):

Tiger® LinimentGolden Cup BalmKwan Loong® OilNeotica Analgesic BalmGonne BalmGolden Snake BalmGolden Lion Balm (White)Golden Lion Balm (Red)Olbas Oil®Olbas® Pastilles
Methyl salicylate3815151591
Menthol812251041011.6154.10.1
Camphor15151022228.08
Eucalyptus631022313.7635.451.16
Peppermint41616.71035.451.12
Clove0.526.040.10.0025
Spike lavender57
Turpentine7
Cajuput11018.5
Cinnamon1
Wintergreen3.70.047
Juniper berry2.70.067

 

Other applications of eucalyptus oil include its use in a footbath for sore feet (one teaspoon in a bowl of hot water) and addition to the water used in saunas or steam rooms to invigorate and relieve congestion. It can also be used to prevent blistering caused by burns or over-exposure to the sun, to soothe itching caused by insect bites or rashes and to aid healing of sores, cuts and abrasions.

Aromatherapy uses

The reported medicinal and aromatherapeutic properties of Eucalyptus are legendary. Amongst the properties attributed to Eucalyptus globulus and other cineole-rich oils by various aromatherapy texts are the following:

Analgesic
Antidiarrhoeal
Anti-inflammatory
Antineuralgic (relieves or reduces nerve pain)
Antiphlogistic (checks or counteracts inflammation)
Antirheumatic
Antiseptic
Antispasmodic (prevents and eases spasms or convulsions)
Antiviral
Bactericidal
Balsamic (soothing, having qualities of a balsam)
Cicatrisant (promotes healing by formation of scar tissue)
Decongestant
Deodorant
Depurative (cleanses the blood)
Digestive
Diuretic (aids production of urine)
Expectorant
Febrifuge (reduces fever)
Hypoglycemiant (reduces blood sugar levels)
Insecticidal
Parasiticidal
Prophylactic (prevents disease or infection)
Rubefacient (causes redness of the skin)
Stimulant
Vermifuge (expels intestinal worms)
Vulnerary (helps heal wounds and sores by external application)

Aromatherapy texts also recommend Eucalyptus in cases of boils, pimples, dandruff, athlete’s foot, measles, nervous exhaustion or fatigue and various other complaints. In addition to its physical benefits, Eucalyptus is claimed to act on the emotional centre of the brain. With the properties of centring, balancing and stimulation, it can be used for treating exhaustion, congestive headaches, an inability to concentrate, mood swings and temper tantrums.

In aromatherapy, Eucalyptus is said to blend well with Angelica, Benzoin, Black pepper, Cedar wood, Coriander, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Melissa, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Tea tree, Thyme and Wintergreen. It is said to combine well with Lemon for mental clarity and with Myrtle for building up the immune system. The heating effect of Eucalyptus can often be balanced by mixing it with a ‘cooling’ oil such as Lavender or Peppermint (to reduce fever).

Personal care products

Table Examples of personal care and other products which contain eucalyptus oil

lists some examples of personal care products which contain eucalyptus oil, together with the benefits claimed for them. They are found mainly in the UK market. The list includes some products (mainly bath additives) which may also be described as having medicinal or aromatherapeutic actions. Two other types of product, a general purpose cleaner and a disinfectant, are shown at the bottom of Table Examples of personal care and other products which contain eucalyptus oil:

Product nameManufactureraProduct descriptionBenefit claimed
Baby Breatheasy Bath and Breatheasy CreamJohnson & JohnsonMild baby bath foam and skin cream with decongestant action. Contains Eucalyptus, Rosemary and MentholHelps to relieve blocked nasal passages and aids restful sleep
Breathe Clear with Extract of Eucalyptus[For] Sainsbury’s Supermarkets LtdFoam bathSoothing, aids relaxation and makes breathing easier. Eucalyptus oil is renowned for its head-clearing properties
Carex Bath & Body Wash; Liquid Handwash; Antibacterial Moisturising Hand GelCussons (International) LtdGreen, soothing Aloe vera and Eucalyptus variant of the range of shower and bath body cleanser, liquid hand soap and waterless antibacterial hand gelDermaclens is a unique new moisturising system with antibacterial action, derived from natural oils
Radox Solutions ‘Spring Unwind’Sara Lee H & BCBath and massage oil containing Juniper berry and EucalyptusRelieves muscle tension
Radox Herbal Bath Breathe EasySara Lee H & BCBath foam with Menthol and EucalyptusRenowned for helping to clear the head
Original Radox Herbal Bath Muscle SoakSara Lee H & BCBath foam with EucalyptusContains Eucalyptus, well known to relieve congestion
Radox Bath Salts Vapour TherapySara Lee H & BCWater-softening bath salts with EucalyptusHelps to relieve stiff, aching muscles and clear the head. Contains Eucalyptus which acts as a decongestant
Fresh! Green Devil Bath BonanzaThe Boots Co.Bath ‘bomb’ – large effervescing bath tabletRecharge yourself with this refreshing Eucalyptus soak
Eucalyptus Spa BathAubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)Bath oil containing blend of Eucalyptus and MentholSoothes minor muscle strain and tension. Helps open up blocked sinuses and clear the head
Relax-R-BathAubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)Herbal bath emulsion. Contains soothing blend of roots and herbs, including ground Eucalyptus leafSoothes sore muscles and eases tension. Ideal for athletes, dancers and for anyone after a hard day’s work
G’Day Eucalyptus Bath BarAubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)Vegetable soap base containing Eucalyptus, Menthol and other essential oilsWake up your senses with this invigorating deodorant soap bar. Menthol and Eucalyptus tone and deodorise
Breathe Easy Headache MaskMother Earth Herbals (via Internet)Mask that can be chilled or heated. Ingredients: Flax seed, Eucalyptus and PeppermintDesigned to provide relief for the pain and discomfort of sinus/cold congestion and allergies
Blue Gum Shampoos and Aqua ConditionersCanCan ProductsRange of shampoos and conditionersBased on Blue Gum – Eucalyptus essential oil – added to promote healthy hair and scalp
Original Source: Eucalyptus & Mint Conditioner Shampoo Bath Foam Facial WashHealth & Beauty Solutions Ltd.Intensive hair conditioning treatment and various detergent-based products. Fragranced by natural Eucalyptus and Peppermint oilsInspired by herbal remedies based on the healing power of plants of the Australian outback. Stimulating vapours give an exhilarating and refreshing sensation
Fresh! Bar Belle Massage BarThe Boots Co.Massage bar that melts on the skinWith refreshing Mint and Eucalyptus to work out and freshen up
NSR (Natural Sports Rub)Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)Warm-up/rub-down massage lotion. Compounded with seven essential oils, including EucalyptusHas a warming/cooling action. Eases minor muscle tightness and tension to help relaxation after a workout. Helps warm up and loosen muscles before a workout
Hand Salve – a farmer’s friendBurt’s Bees, USAMoisturising and healing hand salve with Comfrey, Rosemary, Lavender and EucalyptusSoothes the skin and promotes healing. For dry, chapped and weather-beaten skin
Buzz Off Natural Insect RepellentMother Earth Herbals (via Internet)Insect repellent oil. Contains Eucalyptus and other essential oilsAn all natural alternative for fighting off ‘pesky insects’
Hairwars – Healthy head and hair promoterTisserand Aromatherapy Products LtdLeave-on, vegetable-based hair oil treatment for head liceAn original aromatherapy formulation. Contains Tea tree, Eucalyptus and Kanuka oils as a ‘natural solution to one of life’s little problems’
Head Lice TreatmentLincs Aromatics (via Internet)Complete treatment for head lice. Oil, rinse and fine comb packContains Lavender, Geranium and Eucalyptus
Soothing Anti-Itch Herbal RemedyAubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)Skin-soothing balm containing Aloe vera, Canadian Willowherb extract and essential oils including Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea tree and OreganoRelieves itching and inflammation of rashes and insect bites; soothes symptoms of poison oak and ivy. Helps clear skin fungi and yeast overgrowth and ease symptoms of eczema, seborrhoea, psoriasis and other skin conditions
King of Shaves Shaving Oil. (Shaving gels are also produced containing Eucalyptus)Knowledge and Merchandising (KMI) Inc. LtdShaving oil containing Camphor, Eucalyptus globulus, Mentha viridis (Spearmint) and MentholTotal sensitive skin protection
Ajax with Eucalyptus Earth Aware Household CleanerColgate, France Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet)General-purpose cleaner General-purpose cleaner (incl. laundry detergent). Contains Rosemary, Sage and Eucalyptus oilsWith essences of Eucalyptus Cleans most surfaces in the home

without harming health or the

environment

Myo Powerfresh Ultra Concentrate, EucalyptusWolseley Castle, AustraliaDisinfectantWith real Eucalyptus oil. Hospital grade

Typical formulations for personal care products

Eucalyptus oils can easily be incorporated into detergent or soap-based products or those based on alcohol or vegetable/mineral oils. However, their strong odour may conflict with other fragrances which are used in the products. Furthermore, in common with other essential oils, eucalyptus is not water-soluble and so cannot easily be incorporated in purely aqueous products without adding a solubiliser (usually a type of non-ionic detergent).

One way of circumventing any odour and water solubility problems is to use one of the many eucalyptus herbal extracts, widely available around the world, where solvents such as propylene/butylene glycol, glycerol or ethanol are used to extract the fresh plant material. In these cases, and depending on the extraction methods used, the components of the extract will differ significantly from those of the essential oils. However, under the sixth Amendment to the EU Cosmetics Directive the INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) name used on European product packaging is the same for both oil and extract, namely the Linnaean botanical name of the plant species used, for example, Eucalyptus globulus. However, the solvent used, such as propylene glycol, will also appear somewhere in the ingredient listing. In the USA, the CTFA3 INCI name ‘Eucalyptus Globulus Extract’ or ‘Eucalyptus Globulus Oil’ must be used until such time as the two sets of nomenclature are fully harmonised.

Formulations and methods of preparation for some typical personal care products containing Eucalyptus are given below, where European INCI names are used throughout.

Formulation 1 – Aching muscle relief bath foam This formulation is designed to relieve congestion and help soak away aches and pains due to everyday stresses and strains. It should be poured into the bath under warm running water.

% wlw

Aqua (purified water)to 100.00
Sodium laureth sulfate, 28% aq. solution ( foaming agent)45.00
Cocamidopropyl betaine, 40% aq. solution (mild cleanser)10.00
Cocamide DEA ( foam booster/stabiliser)2.00
Sodium chloride (thickener)0.50
Eucalyptus globulus (as essential oil)0.50
Tetrasodium EDTA (sequestering agent)0.10
Preservativeas required
Parfum ( fragrance)/other essential oilsas required
Dyesas required
Citric acid (pH adjuster)to pH 6.00

Preparation: Mix the ingredients in the order given, stirring well after each addition. Adjust the pH as shown.

Formulation 2 – Clear hand cleanser gel This clear antimicrobial gel has been designed to hygienically cleanse the hands without the need to use soap and water.

% wlw

Phase A
Aqua ( purified water)to 100.00
Alcohol (Ethanol, DEB 100) (solvent/antimicrobial )65.00
Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer (thickener)0.50
Glycerin (moisturiser)1.50
Triclosan (bacteriostat)0.25
Triethanolamine ( pH neutraliser)0.50
Phase B
Parfum ( fragrance)0.30
Eucalyptus globulus (as essential oil)0.10

Preparation: Disperse the Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer in the water and add the remaining ingredients of phase A. Pre-mix phase B, add to phase A and stir gently until completely mixed.

Formulation 3 – Hair conditioning treatment with Eucalyptus and Mint This thick, creamy hair conditioner is designed to remoisturise the hair and prevent static build-up. The eucalyptus and mint essential oils are designed to stimulate the scalp.

% w/w

Phase A
Aqua (purified water)to 100.00
Hydroxyethyl cellulose (high viscosity grade) (thickener)1.00
Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5 hair conditioning agent)0.50
Phase B
Cetyl alcohol (emulsion stabiliser/bodying agent)3.00
Dialkyl ester ethyl hydroxyethyl methylammonium methosulfate2.00
(biodegradable hair conditioning agent)
Isopropyl myristate (emollient oil)2.00
Phase C
Preservativeas required
Citric acid or Triethanolamine ( pH adjuster)to pH 6–6.5
Eucalyptus globulus (as essential oil)0.40
Mentha piperita (peppermint oil)0.20
Parfum (fragrance)as required

Preparation: Heat the water of phase A to 75°C, stir rapidly and slowly add the hydroxyethyl cellulose; stir until fully hydrated. Heat phase B to 75°C, add phase A to phase B with stirring and continue stirring until cool. Finally add phase C.

Oral health care

The therapeutic properties of eucalyptus oils and extracts have meant that their use in oral health care products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes and chewing gums is becoming more common. Euthymol by Warner Lambert, a traditional style toothpaste, is based on the renowned natural antibacterial properties of Eucalyptus and thymol. Eucalyptus is believed to kill bacteria that cause halitosis and is said to be particularly effective against breath problems caused by strong-smelling food and drink. Microbiological testing by Quest has demonstrated that Eucalyptus globulus oil (with an 80—85 per cent 1,8-cineole content) has moderate antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.

The Eucalyptus may thus be present as an active agent, for example, as a decongestant (along with menthol) in the Wrigley’s Airwaves ‘vapour release’ chewing gum, or as part of a more complex flavour compound. Eucalyptus is not common as a predominant flavour ingredient in oral care products as it has a medicated note that is not liked by some people, particularly in North America. Clark () cites a 1992 Wall Street Journal article which reported that the major brands of mouthwash which contain eucalyptol were all losing market share. However, Eucalyptus is used to give lift and some freshness to oral care flavours.

One interesting application of Eucalyptus is in a mouthwash to combat or reduce snoring. A product called ‘Good Night Stop Snore’ is available by mail order in the UK. This is claimed to be an effective natural remedy for snoring if used every night. The mouthwash contains a blend of natural essential oils including Peppermint, Thyme, Fennel and Eucalyptus. These are said to have the combined effect of clearing bronchial congestion, whilst toning and increasing blood supply to the soft palate.

Another interesting oral care use is in an ‘aromatherapeutic’ chewing gum, designed to impart a stress-free mind as well as fresh breath. Peace of Mind Gumballs are marketed by Origins (Estée Lauder) in the USA as part of their Sensory Therapy line. They contain a blend of relaxing essential oils, including Peppermint, Basil and Eucalyptus. The latter is added for its ‘tranquil effect’.

Research by Osawa and Yasuda at the Lotte Central Laboratory in Japan found that extracts of the dried leaves of Eucalyptus globulus showed appreciable antibacterial activity against the bacteria that cause dental caries and periodontal disorders (). The researchers identified eight compounds that exhibited antibacterial behaviour, three of which (macrocarpals) had never been isolated before (). These macrocarpals have greater antibacterial activity than thymol, commonly used as an oral antibacterial agent. The extracts also act as inhibitors of glucosyltransferases, used by cariogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans to synthesise insoluble glucans. These adhere to the tooth surface, forming dental plaque and leading to acid attack of the enamel. Further work was planned to involve in vivo testing as a possible new natural cariostatic drug for the maintenance of oral health.

In a draft review by the Food and Drug Administration Dental Plaque Subcommittee in the USA, a fixed combination of menthol, Eucalyptus, thymol and methyl salicylate is classified as a Category I, safe and effective oral care ingredient. The final report was due to have been published during 1999.

Cleaning uses

Eucalyptus oil can be used in a wide variety of ways as a cleaning agent. It is perhaps best known in Australia as a wool wash () but other applications in the home include use in carpet shampoos, floor and general hard surface cleaning, spot and stain removal from clothes and furniture, as a solvent for the removal of chewing gum and for general air freshening. Elsewhere, it can be used as a leather or vinyl cleaner and for the removal of tar marks from motor vehicle paintwork, residues from stickers, labels or sticky tape, and grease or paint from the hands (when it will also eliminate obnoxious odours). These properties utilise the ability of cineole and other monoterpenes to act as a solvent for other oily or greasy molecules.

A general purpose cleaner which contains Eucalyptus is included in Table Examples of personal care and other products which contain eucalyptus oil.

 

Selections from the book: “Eucalyptus. The Genus Eucalyptus”. Edited by John J.W. Coppen. Series: “Medicinal and Aromatic Plants — Industrial Profiles”. 2002.