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Eucalyptus (generic name)

treats Decongestant/expectorant, Skin ulcers, Arthritis, Dental plaque/gingivitis, Headache, Tick repellant, Smoking cessation, and Asthma
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Interactions with Drugs

Multiple case reports associate eucalyptus oil taken by mouth with slowing of the mind and nervous system. These symptoms may be worsened when eucalyptus is taken with sedating medications. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital or pentobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery. Eucalyptus may also interact with amphetamine.

Eucalyptus should be taken with caution if combined with medications that lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

Several components of eucalyptus interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be decreased in the blood with reduced intended effects. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist about possible interactions.

When applied to the skin with 5-fluorouracil lotion (5-FU, Efudex®, Carac®), eucalyptus may increase the absorption of 5-FU.

Many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol and may cause nausea or vomiting when taken with metronidazole (Flagyl®) or disulfiram (Antabuse®).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Eucalyptus may increase the drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements, such as German chamomile or lemon balm. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.

Eucalyptus may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

Eucalyptus may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too low in the blood. In addition, levels of eucalyptus in the body may be affected by herbs or supplements that affect the P450 system, such as bloodroot, cat's claw, or chamomile.

Eucalyptus has been said to worsen the side effects of borage, coltsfoot, comfrey, hound's tooth, or Senecio species, although there is no reliable research in this area.


This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ( Ethan Basch, MD, MPhil (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center); Heather Boon, BScPhm, PhD (University of Toronto); Richard Philip Cohan, DDS, MS, MBA (School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Cynthia Dacey, PharmD (Northeastern University); Paul Hammerness, MD (Harvard Medical School); Kerri MacWhorter, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Michelle Miranda, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Mamta Vora, PharmD (Northeastern University), Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Jen Woods, BS (Northeastern University).

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