Eucalyptus oil in topical and inhalation products is generally well tolerated by adults. Side effects can include local redness, burning, and irritation. Some people can develop an allergic skin reaction to eucalyptus-oil-containing creams and lotions. There is also a risk of experiencing more severe side effects from eucalyptus oil products that are taken by mouth. Do not take eucalyptus oil by mouth unless directed by your physician.
Serious side effects that could be caused by eucalyptus oil poisoning include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominalabdominalrelating to the stomach and intestines pain, difficulty breathing, very weak muscles, diarrhea, confusion, seizures, and difficulty waking up. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medication attention. Never take undiluted eucalyptus oil by mouth.
If you are allergic to eucalyptus oil, eugenol, eucalyptol, or any other member of the Myrtaceae tree family, do not use products that contain eucalyptus oil.
If you have heart disease, acute intermittent porphyria, kidney disease, serious liver disease, or inflammation of the stomach or gallbladder, do not take eucalyptus oil by mouth.
Eucalyptus-oil-containing products, including lotions and creams,should not be applied to the face or nose of infants or children.
If you have asthma or any other pre-existing lung disease, avoid using inhalation products that contain eucalyptus oil, as it may cause sudden breathing problems.
If you have a history of seizures, avoid using eucalyptus-oil-containing lotions and creams or inhalation products.
If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels when taking oral products containing eucalyptus. Eucalyptus can interfere with blood sugar control and can increase the risk of blood sugar levels becoming too low.
If you will be getting elective surgery, stop using eucalyptus products least 2 weeks before the procedure.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and young children and infants should not use any form of eucalyptus.
Health Canada has issued a warning concerning the use of products containing eucalyptus oil. To read the full Health Canada warning, visit Health Canada's website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.
Eucalyptus may interact with the following:
- 5- fluorouracil lotion
- antidiabetes medications (e.g., insulin, metformin, glyburide)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., diclofenac, ibuprofen, celecoxib)
- proton pump inhibitors (e.g., lansoprazole, omeprazole)
- sedating medications or herbs (e.g., benzodiazepines, barbiturates, German chamomile, lemon balm)
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.