Eucalyptus has a long history in folk medicine and people have long been using not only the plant, but also its essential oils. Over time, it has been shown that different types of eucalyptus help with various ailments, from sore muscles to indigestion, says herb specialist Christine Buckley. Of course, such a long history of use justifies the existence of health benefits, and scientific research has confirmed them.
Among other things, in one study states that essential oils of eucalyptus have an anti-inflammatory effect, and in subjects they reduced the body’s inflammatory response by 25 percent when eucalyptus was applied in the form of a cream. In another study, they discovered that essential oils used in diffusers have anti-fungal effects and improve air quality.
Ultimately, the active ingredient of eucalyptus oil is eucalyptol, which helps to remove mucus from the respiratory tract and relieves coughs and sore throats. Buckley notes that even the smell of the eucalyptus plant has certain health effects, gently improving concentration and calming the respiratory system. She explains that the shower is the best place for the plant due to the warm, moist air’s stimulating effect on the oils’ release.
Eucalyptus is rich in oils that evaporate when exposed to warm, moist air. When used in the shower, the steam stimulates the release of the oil and the cramped space of the bathroom keeps them in the surrounding space. Additionally, Buckley suggests that a good rule of thumb for replacing the eucalyptus is to check the smell, as it will usually be very weak after a week. If the primary benefit is inhaling the oils that evaporate from the plant, keeping a twig in the bathroom after the oils have already evaporated is unnecessary and of no use.