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Internal use of eucalyptus oil at appropriate doses by healthy people can cause nausea, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rash. 1 Excessive dosages can be fatal, especially to children. Inhalation of the oil can exacerbate asthma in some people. Application of cineole to the entire body resulted in severe nervous system poisoning in a 6-year-old child. 2 In general, eucalyptus oil should not be used by young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease.
Although no drug interactions of eucalyptus are firmly documented, there are theoretical reasons to believe it could interact with a number of medications, either raising or lowering their levels. 3 Therefore, people taking any oral or injected medication that is critical to their health or well-being should avoid internal use of eucalyptus until more is known.
- Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope. 114(4):738-42.
- Darben T, Cominos B, Lee CT. Topical eucalyptus oil poisoning. Australas J Dermatol. 39(4):265-7.
- Kim NH, Hyun SH, Jin CH, Lee SK, Lee DW, Jeon TW, Lee JS, Chun YJ, Lee ES, Jeong TC. Pretreatment with 1,8-cineole potentiates thioacetamide-induced hepatotoxicity and immunosuppression. Arch Pharm Res. 27(7):781-9.