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How to Do a Eucalyptus Steam Inhalation

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Updated January 15, 2008

Eucalyptus steam inhalation is recommended by some alternative practitioners for relieving nasal congestion and sinus congestion, usually from colds and flu. It can be done two to four times a day to relieve symptoms. If you're not able to do this, a steamy shower, vaporizer, or facial sauna is an alternative.

Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus) is an essential oil which can be found in many health food stores and online. It should not be confused with camphor oil. Eucalyptus oil should not be ingested, applied directly to the skin, or used in excess of suggested amounts.

Materials

  • Kettle
  • Water
  • Eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Sheet or large towel
  • Large bowl or container

Instructions

Fill the kettle and bring the water to a boil.

Place the bowl on a stable surface, such as a table.

Turn the kettle off and carefully pour approximately four to six cups of water into the bowl.

Add two to three drops of eucalyptus oil to the water.

With your head at approximately arm's length away, cover your head with the towel. Don't bring your face too close to the water.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Continue for 10 minutes.

If you start to feel overheated or uncomfortable, remove the sheet.

Safety Precautions

Do not add more than the suggested amount of eucalyptus oil.

Keep children away while doing a eucalyptus steam inhalation.

Certain people should avoid eucalyptus steam inhalation, such as those with heart conditions, central nervous system disoders, and pregnant women. Infants, children, and elderly people may not be able to respond appropriately to the heat.

Side effects may include headache, dizziness, nausea, and tiredness.

Eucalpytus oil should not be taken internally or applied directly to the skin.

Sources:

Boyle W, Saine A. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications 1988; 83-5.

Lawless, J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Dorset: Element Books, Ltd. 1995; 141.

Schnaubelt K. Advanced Aromatherapy. Vermont: Healing Art Press 1998.

Tisserand R, Balacs, J: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone 1995; 31-2.

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