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Eucalyptus Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings

  • Eucalyptus can cause dermatological side-effects. It is concluded that adverse effects of herbal medicines are an important albeit neglected subject in dermatology, which deserves further systematic investigation.
    - Br J Dermatol 2000 Nov;143(5):923-9 -- Adverse effects of herbal drugs in dermatology. -- Ernst E.

  • Survey of the literature shows essential oils of 11 plants to be powerful convulsants (eucalyptus, fennel, hyssop, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, savin, tansy, thuja, turpentine, and wormwood) due to their content of highly reactive monoterpene ketones, such as camphor, pinocamphone, thujone, cineole, pulegone, sabinylacetate, and fenchone. Three cases strongly support the concept of plant-related toxic seizure. Nowadays the wide use of these compounds in certain unconventional medicines makes this severe complication again possible.
    - J Neurol 1999 Aug;246(8):667-70 -- Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. -- Burkhard PR, Burkhardt K, Haenggeli CA, Landis T.

  • Eucalyptus oil is well documented as being extremely toxic if ingested. We report a case of systemic eucalyptus oil toxicity from topical application. A 6-year-old girl presented with slurred speech, ataxia and muscle weakness progressing to unconsciousness following the widespread application of a home remedy for urticaria containing eucalyptus oil. Six hours following removal of the topical preparation her symptoms had resolved, with no long term sequelae.
    - Australas J Dermatol 1998 Nov;39(4):265-7 -- Topical eucalyptus oil poisoning. -- Darben T, Cominos B, Lee CT.

  • Can cause seizures.
    - Pediatr Emerg Care 1996 Aug;12(4):298-300 -- Unusual cause of seizure. -- Gouin S, Patel H.

  • Not recommended for children. Can cause depression of conscious state, drowsiness, unconsciousness, vomiting or ataxia. Ingestion of eucalyptus oil caused significant morbidity in infants and young children. Significant depression of conscious state should be anticipated after ingestion of 5 mL or more of 100% oil. Minor depression of consciousness may occur after 2-3 mL.
    - Med J Aust 1995 Aug 21;163(4):177-80 -- Clinical effects and management of eucalyptus oil ingestion in infants and young children. -- Tibballs J.

  • Contact allergy to eucalyptus oil.
    - Clin Exp Dermatol 1995 Mar;20(2):143-5 -- Allergic airborne contact dermatitis from essential oils used in aromatherapy. -- Schaller M, Korting HC.

  • Accidental ingestion of eucalyptus oil by a 3-year-old boy caused profound central nervous system depression within 30 minutes, but he recovered rapidly after gastric lavage. The extreme toxicity of eucalyptus oil is emphasised.
    - Arch Dis Child 1980 May;55(5):405-6 -- Eucalyptus oil poisoning. -- Patel S, Wiggins J.

last update: March 2014

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