Herbal Supplements

Peer Reviewed

Eucalyptus is probably best known as the food eaten by koala bears. There are several species of this plant, which is native to Australia. Medicinal preparations are extracted from the bark and leaves.
Koala bear eating from eucalyptus treeHerbal preparations may help clear chest congestion, kill bacteria, increase blood flow, reduce swelling, and ease tired sore muscles.

  • Eucalyptus may be used as a deodorant.
  • Inhaling vapor from a few drops of the oil may help break up mucus.
  • Eucalyptus oil is known to control dust mite and cockroach populations.

Sources of Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is available in the following forms: liquid essential oil, ointment, leaf tincture, crude leaf, and tea. It an ingredient found in perfume, soap, insect repellents, candles, mouthwash, cough drops and syrups, vaporizer fluid, and toothpaste.

Guidelines and Cautions
Always follow package directions.

  • Eucalyptus is recommended for external use only. It is toxic if taken internally.
  • Keep in a secure place away from children.
  • Do not apply to the face, nose, broken skin, cuts, or wounds.
  • Eucalyptus contains tannins, which could cause stomach, liver, or kidney damage. If you have a gastrointestinal disorder, consult a medical professional.
  • Do not use eucalyptus if you are hypoglycemic (low blood sugar).
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use eucalyptus.

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 01/22/19
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Mark R. McLaughlin, MD
While I have had some patients that describe improvement of their symptoms from various dietary supplements, there is little scientific evidence that they work. In small amounts, I do not believe they are harmful, but I am not convinced they are any more effective than adhering to a healthy, well-balanced diet. On the contrary, there is strong scientific evidence showing that patients with a poor overall nutritional status have higher complication rates from surgery.
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