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 name Manufacturer Treatment
Alcusal Sport Alcusal Sports injuries
Analgesic Rub J. McGloin Muscle and joint pain
Biosal Yauyip Arthritic pain
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Inhalant Felton Grimwade & Bickford Cold symptoms
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Rub Felton Grimwade & Bickford Muscular aches and pains
Dencorub Carter Wallace Musculoskeletal pain
Dentese J. McGloin Toothache
Euky Bear Eu-Clear Inhalant Felton Grimwade & Bickford Cold symptoms, respiratory tract congestion
Euky Bearub Felton Grimwade & Bickford Cold symptoms, nasal congestion, muscular aches and pains, insect bites
Logicin Chest Rub Sigma Pharmaceuticals Respiratory tract congestion
Methyl Salicylate Compound Liniment J. McGloin Muscle pain
Metsal 3M Pharmaceuticals Rheumatic pain, arthritis, sprains and strains
Vicks Vapodrops Procter & Gamble Nasal congestion, sore throat
Vicks VapoRub Procter & Gamble Cold symptoms
Zam-Buk Key Pharmaceuticals Minor skin disorders
Balsofletol Laboratoires Pharmascience Nose and throat infections
Édulcor eucalyptus et menthol Laboratoires Pierre Fabre Sore throat
Eucalyptine Le Brun Laboratoires Janssen Coughs
Inongan Laboratoires Fumouze Muscle pain
Kamol Whitehall Localised pain and injury
Nazophyl Laboratoires Médecine Végétale Rhinitis, rhinopharyngitis, sinusitis
Pulmax Laboratoires Zyma Respiratory tract congestion
Pulmoll au menthol et à l’eucalyptus Sterling Midy Throat disorders
Sirop Pectoral Laboratoires Oberlin Coughs
Thiopon Balsamique Laboratoires Amido Upper respiratory tract infections
Trophirès Composé Millot-Solac Respiratory tract disorders, coughs, fever
Tussipax à l’Euquinine Laboratoires Thérica Coughs
Vicks Pastilles Laboratoires Lachartre Sore throats
Vicks Vaporub Laboratoires Lachartre Respiratory congestion
Aerosol Spitzner N W. Spitzner Respiratory tract disorders
Angocin percutan Repha Respiratory tract disorders, muscle and joint pain
Aspecton-Balsam Krewel-Werke Coughs, cold symptoms
Babiforton Plantorgan Respiratory tract catarrh
Babix-Inhalat N Mickan Arzneimittel Respiratory tract disorders
Baby-Transpulmin Asta Medica Cold symptoms
Bronchicum Sekret-Löser A. Nattermann Upper respiratory tract disorders
Bronchodurat G. Pohl-Boskamp Bronchitis, cold symptoms
Bronchoforton Plantorgan Bronchitis, sinusitis
Divinal-Broncho-Balsam Divinal Arzneimittel Respiratory tract disorders
Dolo-cyl Pharma Liebermann Musculoskeletal and joint disorders, sports injuries
Emser Balsam echt Siemens Respiratory tract disorders
Emser Nasensalbe N Siemens Colds, hay fever
Ephepect Bolder Arzneimittel Bronchitis, catarrh
Eucabal-Balsam S Esparma Pharmazeutische Fabrik Respiratory tract disorders
Eucafluid N Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk Musculoskeletal and joint disorders
Eufimenth N mild Lichtenstein Pharmazeutica Respiratory tract disorders
Hevertopect Hevert-Arzneimittel Respiratory tract disorders
Hustagil Dentinox Coughs, respiratory tract disorders
Inspirol N Solution Lyssia Mouth and throat disorders
Kneipp Erkältungs-Balsam N Kneipp-Werke Coughs, respiratory tract disorders
Leukona-Eukalpin-Bad Dr Atzinger Pharmazeutische Bath additive, respiratory tract disorders
Liniplant W. Spitzner Upper respiratory tract disorders
Logomed Erkältungs- Logomed Pharma Upper respiratory tract disorders
Balsam Creme
Makatussin Balsam Menthol Roland Arzneimittel Catarrh, bronchitis
Melrosum Inhalationstropfen A. Nattermann Cold symptoms
Mentholon Original N Richard Schöning Catarrh
Nasivin Intensiv-Bad E. Merck Respiratory tract congestion
Nervfluid S Fides Vertrieb Pharm. Präparate Nerve, muscle and joint pain
Palatol Pascoe Pharm. Präparate Catarrh
Piniol N W. Spitzner Respiratory tract disorders
Pulmotin-N Serum-Werk Bernburg Respiratory tract disorders
Pumilen-N E. Tosse Colds, nasal congestion
Repha-Os Repha Inflammatory disorders of oropharynx
Retterspitz Aerosol Retterspitz Respiratory tract infections
Salviathymol N Galenika Dr Hetterich Inflammatory disorders of oropharynx
Sinuforton (oral drops) Plantorgan Sinusitis
Thymipin N (cream) Zyma Coughs, respiratory tract disorders
Tumarol-N Robugen Colds
Tussipect Beiersdorf Coughs, respiratory tract disorders
Antipulmina Lisapharma Respiratory tract disorders
Capsolin Parke Davis Joint and muscle pain
Eucalipto Composto Dynacren Nasal congestion
Fomentil SIT Respiratory congestion
Rinostil Laboratorio Chimico Deca Inflammation of nose and throat
Sloan Parke Davis Musculoskeletal and joint pain
Vicks Gola Proctor & Gamble Oropharyngeal disorders
Vicks Vaporub Proctor & Gamble Upper respiratory tract disorders
Bellacanfor Bicther Rheumatic and muscular pain
Gartricin Cantabria Mouth and throat inflammation
Lapiz Termo Compositum Domenech Garcia Rheumatic and muscular pain
Porosan Reig Jofre Upper respiratory tract disorders, soft tissue and muscular disorders
Termosan Domenech Garcia Upper respiratory tract disorders, soft tissue disorders, muscular pain
Vicks Vaporub Procter & Gamble Upper respiratory tract disorders
Antiphlogistine Carter-Wallace Pain, inflammation
Baby Libérol Galactina Colds, fever
Baume Kytta Whitehall-Robins Musculoskeletal and joint disorders
Bismorectal Vifor Oropharyngeal disorders
Bradoral Zyma Oropharyngeal disorders
Bronchoforton N Sterling Health Respiratory tract disorders
Capsolin Parke, Davis Musculoskeletal pain
Demo pâtes pectorales Demopharm Coughs, bronchitis
Embropax Taphlan Peri-articular and soft tissue disorders
GEM Piraud Coughs, throat disorders
Huile analgésique ‘Polar-Bär’ Panax Import, F. Ruckstuhl Headache
Huile Po-Ho A. Vogel Bioforce Homeopathic preparation
Kemeol Interdelta Nasal congestion
Libérol Galactina Muscle and joint pain, chilblains, cold symptoms
Makatussin (oral drops) Makapharm Coughs, catarrh
Massorax Laboratoire RTA Joint and soft tissue disorders
Nasobol Sodip Respiratory tract disorders
Pasta boli Spirig Musculoskeletal and soft tissue pain
Phlogantine G. Streuli Musculoskeletal inflammation, bronchitis, skin disorders
Pinimenthol Piniol Influenza, muscle and joint pain
Pirom Solmer Muscle and joint pain, headache, sports injuries, insect bites
Pulmex Zyma Respiratory tract disorders
Rhinothricinol Laboratoires Plan Rhinopharyngeal infections
Roliwol ECR Pharma Muscle and joint pain
Sloan Baum Warner-Lambert Musculoskeletal and joint disorders
Tumarol Renapharm Cold symptoms
Vicks VapoRub Procter & Gamble Upper respiratory tract disorders
Golden Cup Balm Golden Cup Pharmaceutical Muscular rheumatism, strains, insect bites, eczema
Golden Lion Balm Jack Chia Industries Minor muscular aches and pains
Golden Snake Balm L.P. Standard Laboratories Minor muscular aches and pains, sprain, headache, insect bites
Neotica Analgesic Balm Thai Nakorn Patana Muscular aches and pains, sprains, sports injuries, insect bites
White Monkey Holding Peach Balm Monkey Holding Peach Brand Minor muscular aches and pains, sprain, insect bites
United Kingdom
9 Rubbing Oils Potter’s Herbal Supplies Rheumatic and muscular pain
Aleevex Pure Plant Products Cold symptoms
Cabdrivers Opal Products Coughs
Catarrh Cream Weleda Nasal congestion
Catarrh Pastilles Healthcrafts Cough and cold symptoms
Chymol Emollient Balm Rosmarine Manufacturing Chapped skin, chilblains, bruises, sprains
Cupal Baby Chest Rub Cupal Bronchial congestion
Deep Heat Rub Mentholatum Rheumatic and muscular pain
Dragon Balm Gerard House Muscular aches
Fisherman’s Friend Lofthouse of Fleetwood [Confectionery]
Gonne Balm G.R. Lane Health Products Muscular pain
Mackenzies Smelling Salts Cox Pharmaceuticals Catarrh, head colds
Medicinal Gargle Weleda
Mentho-lyptus Warner-Lambert Confectionery Cold symptoms, sore throats
Mentholease Warner-Lambert Health Care Hay fever
Merothol Marion Merrell Dow Mouth and throat infections, nasal congestion
Nicobrevin Intercare Products Aid to smoking withdrawal
Olbas Oil G.R. Lane Health Products Bronchial and nasal congestion, hay fever, muscular pain
Olbas Pastilles BCM for G.R. Lane Health Colds, coughs, catarrh, sore throats,
Products flu, catarrhal headache, nasal congestion
Oleum Rhinale Weleda Catarrh, sinus congestion
Penetrol Seton Healthcare Nasal congestion
Potter’s Decongestion Pastilles Ernest Jackson Blocked noses, coughs, catarrhal colds
Proctor’s Pinelyptus Pastilles Ernest Jackson Throat irritation, coughs
Sanderson’s Throat Specific Sandersons Sore throat, catarrh
Snufflebabe J. Pickles & Sons Congestion
Soothene G.R. Lane Health Products Minor skin disorders
Strepsils Menthol & Eucalyptus Crookes Healthcare Sore throat, mouth infections, nasal congestion
Tixylix Inhalant Novartis Consumer Health Nasal congestion
Vicks Vaporub Proctor & Gamble (H&B Care) Congestion
Zam-Buk Roche Consumer Wounds, skin abrasions
United States
Capastat SmithKline Beecham Sore throat
Eucalyptamint Ciba Pharmaceutical
Hall’s Sugar Free Mentho-Lyptus Warner-Lambert Sore throat
Massengill Beecham Products Vaginal disorders
Maximum Strength Flexall 454 Chattem Consumer Products Pain, musculoskeletal disorders
Mexsana Schering-Plough Nappy rash
Robitussin Cough Drops Whitehall-Robins Coughs
Unguentine Ointment Mentholatum Pain in minor burns
Vicks Menthol Cough Drops Procter & Gamble Sore throat
Vicks VapoRub Procter & Gamble
Vicks Victors Dual Action Cough Drops Richardson-Vicks Coughs
  • 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:

Wintergreen 27
Camphor 23
Peppermint 20
Turpentine 18
Eucalyptus 8
Cedar leaf 2
Nutmeg 2
Total 100

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:

Peppermint 25
Wintergreen 20
Camphor 15
Eucalyptus 15
Lavender 15
Vegetable oil 10
Total 100

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® Liniment Golden Cup Balm Kwan Loong® Oil Neotica Analgesic Balm Gonne Balm Golden Snake Balm Golden Lion Balm (White) Golden Lion Balm (Red) Olbas Oil® Olbas® Pastilles
Methyl salicylate 38 15 15 15 9 1
Menthol 8 12 25 10 4 10 11.6 15 4.1 0.1
Camphor 15 15 10 2 2 22 8.0 8
Eucalyptus 6 3 10 2 2 3 13.7 6 35.45 1.16
Peppermint 4 16 16.7 10 35.45 1.12
Clove 0.5 2 6.0 4 0.1 0.0025
Spike lavender 5 7
Turpentine 7
Cajuput 1 10 18.5
Cinnamon 1
Wintergreen 3.7 0.047
Juniper berry 2.7 0.067


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:

Antineuralgic (relieves or reduces nerve pain)
Antiphlogistic (checks or counteracts inflammation)
Antispasmodic (prevents and eases spasms or convulsions)
Balsamic (soothing, having qualities of a balsam)
Cicatrisant (promotes healing by formation of scar tissue)
Depurative (cleanses the blood)
Diuretic (aids production of urine)
Febrifuge (reduces fever)
Hypoglycemiant (reduces blood sugar levels)
Prophylactic (prevents disease or infection)
Rubefacient (causes redness of the skin)
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 name Manufacturera Product description Benefit claimed
Baby Breatheasy Bath and Breatheasy Cream Johnson & Johnson Mild baby bath foam and skin cream with decongestant action. Contains Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Menthol Helps to relieve blocked nasal passages and aids restful sleep
Breathe Clear with Extract of Eucalyptus [For] Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd Foam bath Soothing, aids relaxation and makes breathing easier. Eucalyptus oil is renowned for its head-clearing properties
Carex Bath & Body Wash; Liquid Handwash; Antibacterial Moisturising Hand Gel Cussons (International) Ltd Green, soothing Aloe vera and Eucalyptus variant of the range of shower and bath body cleanser, liquid hand soap and waterless antibacterial hand gel Dermaclens is a unique new moisturising system with antibacterial action, derived from natural oils
Radox Solutions ‘Spring Unwind’ Sara Lee H & BC Bath and massage oil containing Juniper berry and Eucalyptus Relieves muscle tension
Radox Herbal Bath Breathe Easy Sara Lee H & BC Bath foam with Menthol and Eucalyptus Renowned for helping to clear the head
Original Radox Herbal Bath Muscle Soak Sara Lee H & BC Bath foam with Eucalyptus Contains Eucalyptus, well known to relieve congestion
Radox Bath Salts Vapour Therapy Sara Lee H & BC Water-softening bath salts with Eucalyptus Helps to relieve stiff, aching muscles and clear the head. Contains Eucalyptus which acts as a decongestant
Fresh! Green Devil Bath Bonanza The Boots Co. Bath ‘bomb’ – large effervescing bath tablet Recharge yourself with this refreshing Eucalyptus soak
Eucalyptus Spa Bath Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet) Bath oil containing blend of Eucalyptus and Menthol Soothes minor muscle strain and tension. Helps open up blocked sinuses and clear the head
Relax-R-Bath Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet) Herbal bath emulsion. Contains soothing blend of roots and herbs, including ground Eucalyptus leaf Soothes sore muscles and eases tension. Ideal for athletes, dancers and for anyone after a hard day’s work
G’Day Eucalyptus Bath Bar Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet) Vegetable soap base containing Eucalyptus, Menthol and other essential oils Wake up your senses with this invigorating deodorant soap bar. Menthol and Eucalyptus tone and deodorise
Breathe Easy Headache Mask Mother Earth Herbals (via Internet) Mask that can be chilled or heated. Ingredients: Flax seed, Eucalyptus and Peppermint Designed to provide relief for the pain and discomfort of sinus/cold congestion and allergies
Blue Gum Shampoos and Aqua Conditioners CanCan Products Range of shampoos and conditioners Based on Blue Gum – Eucalyptus essential oil – added to promote healthy hair and scalp
Original Source: Eucalyptus & Mint Conditioner Shampoo Bath Foam Facial Wash Health & Beauty Solutions Ltd. Intensive hair conditioning treatment and various detergent-based products. Fragranced by natural Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils Inspired 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 Bar The Boots Co. Massage bar that melts on the skin With 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 Eucalyptus Has 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 friend Burt’s Bees, USA Moisturising and healing hand salve with Comfrey, Rosemary, Lavender and Eucalyptus Soothes the skin and promotes healing. For dry, chapped and weather-beaten skin
Buzz Off Natural Insect Repellent Mother Earth Herbals (via Internet) Insect repellent oil. Contains Eucalyptus and other essential oils An all natural alternative for fighting off ‘pesky insects’
Hairwars – Healthy head and hair promoter Tisserand Aromatherapy Products Ltd Leave-on, vegetable-based hair oil treatment for head lice An original aromatherapy formulation. Contains Tea tree, Eucalyptus and Kanuka oils as a ‘natural solution to one of life’s little problems’
Head Lice Treatment Lincs Aromatics (via Internet) Complete treatment for head lice. Oil, rinse and fine comb pack Contains Lavender, Geranium and Eucalyptus
Soothing Anti-Itch Herbal Remedy Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet) Skin-soothing balm containing Aloe vera, Canadian Willowherb extract and essential oils including Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea tree and Oregano Relieves 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. Ltd Shaving oil containing Camphor, Eucalyptus globulus, Mentha viridis (Spearmint) and Menthol Total sensitive skin protection
Ajax with Eucalyptus Earth Aware Household Cleaner Colgate, France Aubrey Organics, USA (via Internet) General-purpose cleaner General-purpose cleaner (incl. laundry detergent). Contains Rosemary, Sage and Eucalyptus oils With essences of Eucalyptus Cleans most surfaces in the home

without harming health or the


Myo Powerfresh Ultra Concentrate, Eucalyptus Wolseley Castle, Australia Disinfectant With 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
Preservative as required
Parfum ( fragrance)/other essential oils as required
Dyes as 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 methosulfate 2.00
(biodegradable hair conditioning agent)
Isopropyl myristate (emollient oil) 2.00
Phase C
Preservative as 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.