There are a lot of fads out there on Pinterest and elsewhere to put an entire forest in your bathroom. Plants can help purify the air, enjoy the moisture from steamy showers, and over all just look incredibly aesthetically pleasing. I am always one to chase an aesthetic, especially one that has so many green-living benefits, so this has been something I’ve been interested in doing. However, I haven’t necessarily had the funds nor the space to make that fancy little dream come to life.
Instead, I started simple. The one that I knew I wanted for the bathroom for sure was eucalyptus.
As an occasional allergy sufferer and headache getter, eucalyptus is often my go to essential oil to seek out to help with these issues. I mix this oil with lotions, put a few drops in my aromatherapy diffuser, and sometimes I’ll just grab the bottle and sniff for some instant head clarification. The next logical step to me was to make the eucalyptus plant itself a more consistent part of my day-to-day.
Rather than being reactive with my eucalyptus use, I wanted to be proactive by consistently having it around when I’m home so that I can find relief without keeping the oils right with me. And since I spend a great deal of time in the bathroom directly across from my room for both bathing and making all natural skin and haircare creations, this was going to be the best place for it to be.
That being said, whether you spend all that much time in there or not, this will also be the best place for you. Eucalyptus plants and cuttings yield the most benefit from being in steamy or moist environments. In nature they can most commonly be found in the hot, dry area of Australia and California, but they can tolerate cold and wet areas as well. However, for you to get the most benefit from its natural oils and aroma, you’ll want to keep the plant in a humid area to help the plant release those natural oils.
When finding eucalyptus to bring into your home, be careful what kind you are buying and where you are buying from.
Two big things I realized after the first time I bought eucalyptus cuttings:
- There are over 600 species of eucalyptus, and not all of them emit the famous smell essential oil companies have gotten us all used to. Southern Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus) is the one you’ll want for the best aromatic experience. (You can also use Eucalyptus Radiata, but this species has a slightly lighter smell)
- Be conscious of where you buy your eucalyptus from. It may be easy to just grab some at the grocer, but, if you can, go find some at your local nursery. You can even call ahead to most local nurseries to ask if they have any available. I assumed that since eucalyptus isn’t commonly grown in my area that they just wouldn’t have it… Wrong!
The first time I picked up eucalyptus cuttings, I just grabbed a couple branches from the baskets at Trader Joe’s. They didn’t smell the way I expected them to and they weren’t locally sourced. I had just assumed that the reason they didn’t smell strong in the store was because I hadn’t put them in a humid environment yet, but that turned out not to be the case. Granted, I did still enjoy having them in the shower for their beauty and the otherwise fresh, leafy smell they did have.
Once you get the right plant or cuttings for your shower, get ready to enjoy a spa day every day! As you shower, the eucalyptus plant will get steamed from the warm shower water and give off aromatic oils from its leaves in response. These oils can help with congestion in the chest and head, help with gentle, natural muscle relaxation, and provide clarity from stubborn or persistent headaches.
Set up is simple as well. All you’ll need to do is bunch up your eucalyptus cuttings like a bouquet and tie them to your shower head just behind the stream of water. Be sure to put the leaves behind the water so that they get well steamed but not completely rinsed.
There are also plenty more uses for eucalyptus cuttings and oils which I will be posting about in the near future. We’ll explore how to (and how not to) make essential oils at home, as well as how to use the leaves and oils in DIY skin and haircare products.
Let me know: Is eucalyptus a staple in your day-to-day wellness practice? What’s your favorite use for eucalyptus?