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Most people feel an alluring “ah” from a steamy shower. After a long day, there’s nothing quite like reinvigorating yourself with hot water trickling down your body. Yet, while showering is a typical daily occurrence for those with excellent hygiene, some people take relaxation to the next level with a eucalyptus shower.
Eucalyptus can transform your showers and give them a spa-like quality — aside from adding a hint of green, the plant is deliciously aromatic. Here you’ll learn about the history and benefits of eucalyptus and how to make a bundle for your next rinse.
What Is a Eucalyptus Shower?
A eucalyptus shower is just how it sounds — a shower in which you hang a bundle of eucalyptus branches from the showerhead. When hot steam hits the plant, it releases a fragrant oil compound that calms and restores you.
Eucalyptus plants have numerous benefits conducive to a relaxing bathing ritual. They’re also relatively easy to get your hands on. Depending on where you live, you may have eucalyptus growing in your yard. If not, you can usually buy eucalyptus branches at a garden center, grocery store or florist. Otherwise, they’re easy to search for and purchase from online vendors.
How to DIY a Eucalyptus Shower Bundle
Making a eucalyptus shower bundle is easy and only takes a few minutes. You’ll need a handful of dried or fresh eucalyptus branches with their leaves, twine or ribbon, a rubberband and scissors.
Cut the ends of the branches and pull the leaves from the bottom of the stems so you can tie them together — about two to four inches should suffice.
Cut a piece of string or twine about two feet long — you’ll want to work with a longer strand, or hanging it from your showerhead will be difficult. Wrap the string around the stems to tie everything together tightly. A rubberband can help secure the branches while you’re binding them.
Then tie the eucalyptus bundle to the showerhead so that it hangs down the shower wall. You’ll want to ensure the bundle is in a position that isn’t directly hit with hot water. Replace the bundle every few weeks or until the plant is no longer fragrant.
Eucalyptus Healing: Aboriginal Beginnings
Eucalyptus’ therapeutic properties are not groundbreaking — more than 500 aboriginal clans of Australia’s indigenous people have long relied on eucalyptus for medicinal purposes. In fact, 77% of Australia’s forests comprise 800 species of eucalypt trees, making them one of the most commonly utilized plants for healing.
Throughout history, aboriginal communities used eucalyptus plants to remedy skin conditions, joint pain, upset stomachs and bacterial infections due to their antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory activity. Today, you can purchase eucalyptus essential oil at pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers.
Herbs and plants like eucalyptus are essential to aboriginal clans that reside in remote areas with little access to modern medicines and facilities. Today, they remain an integral part of aboriginal culture and customs.
The Benefits of Eucalyptus
There are numerous herbs and plants with health benefits. For instance, basil is excellent for detoxification and digestion, while peppermint oil can relieve migraines and repel pests like mosquitoes, spiders and bed bugs.
While many have touted eucalyptus’ healing properties, there is still surprisingly limited research on the plant’s health benefits for various conditions. More studies are needed to understand its potential as an ingredient in vital medicines. However, the results are astonishing for those who’ve looked into its healing nature.
Improves Respiratory Health
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory compounds — and menthol fragrance — studies show that eucalyptus may effectively treat asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments, including congestion from the common cold. One ingredient found in eucalyptus oil — cineol — significantly affects the mucus membranes’ cilia in the respiratory tract by reducing inflammation in the lungs and surrounding muscles.
In a study examining upper respiratory infections and bronchitis, eucalyptus proved to be an effective, safe over-the-counter cough suppressant — even more effective than researchers reported in the placebo group.
One of the most impressive qualities of eucalyptus is its enticing fragrance — many people can’t get enough of it. However, eucalyptus does more than make your shower smell nice — it also purifies the air and fights bacteria. This is crucial since showerheads host an ecosystem of harmful organisms, including a mycobacterium that causes lung infections. Since showerheads aerosolize, humans can easily inhale the bacteria.
Fortunately, eucalyptus’ antiviral and antimicrobial properties make them ideal for sanitizing and improving indoor air quality. The plant’s germ-fighting properties are so powerful that it is effective against MRSA and its biofilm — a protective coating produced by the bacteria.
Considering that most people spend 90% of their time indoors, where pollutants are five to seven times higher than outside, household purification is essential — and eucalyptus can help.
Boosts Mental Health
There’s a reason why so many people dab eucalyptus essential oils on their wrists during yoga. Others might add a few drops to an air diffuser. Eucalyptus can improve your mental health by relieving anxiety and inducing calmness.
A study of 70 rheumatoid arthritis patients with poor quality of life breathed eucalyptus fragrance for five minutes three times a day. After one month, researchers had patients fill out a quality of life test with questions regarding their personal and emotional health, happiness and enthusiasm for life and physical discomfort. The findings showed that their pain levels decreased significantly while their quality of life —including anxiety — improved.
In an earlier study from 2017, researchers studied eucalyptus’ effects on male rats were similar to certain antidepressants’ effects on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, indicating that they both tap into similar binding sites.
Breathe Easier During a Eucalyptus Shower
Once you take a eucalyptus shower, you’ll unlikely return to taking a regular one. There’s something about eucalyptus branches that enhance the experience and deliver more profound relaxation. Of course, with so many healing properties, eucalyptus allows you to breathe easier, too.
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