Ask an Aromatherapist: I'm Allergic to Eucaplytus. What Essential Oils can I use to Fight a Cold
Eucaplytus radiata, dives, and globulous all offer support for colds and coughs. And over the past year I've met several people who mention that they are allergic or sensitive to this often used oil family. Fortunately there are many other options when it comes to opening up airways, loosening mucus, and calming coughs.
Eucaplytus radiata and globulus are typically high in 1,8 cineole and also contain a-pinene. The Cineole offers mucolytic (1) and anti-spasmodic (2) actions. The a-pinene is likewise anti-spasmodic (3) which is great for soothing coughs and helping move mucus out. Both components are also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.
In addition to cineole, camphor, camphene, and carene are know to be mucolytic (help reduce the stickiness of mucus so it can be cleared easier from the body). Camphor and menthol are components that can act as antitussive ( agents that can help alleviate or suppress a cough). Thus an aromatherapist can look for these aromatic compounds and other anti-microbial and immune supportive compounds to support a client that can't use eucaplytus.
If I am able to work with the client directly I can choose appropriate essential oils and have the client sniff the caps of the essential oil bottles. Any tightness or irritation I'll avoid that particular oil. If I do have a client that is very allergic to a particular plant I may even steer clear of the family.
One of my favorite cineole rich oils is Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct 1,8 cineole) or Ho leaf. It is similar to eucaplytus in aroma and is excellent in fighting germs, a mucalytic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. It would make an excellent substitute for eucaplytus for both chemistry and price.
Cajeput (Melaleuca leucadendron), niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia ct 1,8 cineole), laurel leaf (Laurus nobilis), saro (Cinnamosma fragrans), and spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) would also be great choices for cineole rich oils that could stand in for eucalytus.
For camphor rich oils I love rosemary ct. camphor (Rosmarinus officinalis ct camphor) and for menthol rich oils peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and cornmint (Mentha arvensis) are two of my favorites. Oils such as black spruce (Picea mariana) and Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) are camphene rich and great for support as well. And there are still many more oils we could touch on but as you can see there are lots of options!
For a client looking for cold and cough support who was allergic to eucaplytus I might stick to herb and citrus oils for support. A chest rub blend or aroma inhaler with rosemary ct. camphor, peppermint, and orange could be helpful to open airways, fight germs, and help thin mucus (and smells great!). For night I might use laurel leaf combined with frankincense, ravintsara, and lavender for a soothing night blend.
Of course these choices would depend on age as well as possible contraindications. Camphor, cineole, and menthol each have safety considerations that need to be considered.
The good news with essential oils is that if you do have a sensitivity to an essential oil an aromatherapist can work with you to find a safe effective substitute.