Last fall, I had a pretty nasty cold and was desperate for natural remedies to relieve my symptoms.

Who knew this would be the beginning of my fascination with eucalyptus. Before then, I’d occasionally used it as an essential oil. I was attracted to the smell and I would add it to my oil diffuser. Also, a few drops in my nightly bubble bath was a small luxury I looked forward to at the end of a long day.

I immediately began reaping benefits of the eucalyptus oil. Similar to the effect of menthol, I noticed my sinuses began clearing up. This was quite assuaging, being that I’d lived in Manhattan — such a heavily populated locale — for almost 7 years. The air is saturated with irritants like pollution, dust, cigarette smoke, and ghastly perfumes. Even though it was slight, I didn’t know I’d had any sinus issues at all until I started getting a bit of relief. It took some time to associate it with the essential oil.

I began to research and literally search for fresh eucalyptus plant. Little did I know, I was on the hunt for a magical plant that possesses more benefits than I could even imagine or anticipate. Eucalyptus can provide relief from the following ailments:

- congestion
- respiratory conditions
- asthma
- colds + coughing
- inflammation
- stress + anxiety
- headaches + migraines

Medicinally, there’s an abundance of purposes, but eucalyptus is also known for cleansing properties and is often added to scent perfumes and fragrances.

Native to Australia, there are over 700 variations — all contain a great abundance of nectar. The most common type available in the United States is the silver dollar gum and silver drop eucalyptus.

The best and simplest way to benefit from eucalyptus is to hang a bundle of fresh leaves onto your shower head. Steam from the shower will activate the release of the elixirs within the leaves. Within minutes, your bathroom will transform into a day spa. Whether you hop in for a quick rinse or unwind with a long shower, take advantage of the steam inhalation.

This will provide you with the multitude of benefits. Be sure not to have the eucalyptus in direct contact with the water. You don’t want to the plant to be overly saturated. The steam from the shower stimulates the release of the oils within the leaves.

The best part? You don’t need to have a green thumb to care for the eucalyptus! With the moisture emitting from the shower, it will stay potent for up to 4 weeks. Even if you don’t t want to keep it in the shower, you can place it in a vase and I promise you, just looking at your plant will brighten your day.

If you are wondering where you can find eucalyptus plants, it all depends on where you live. If you reside in a major city, many florists will carry it. There are inline retailers that sell dried eucalyptus like:

- West Elm
- Pottery Barn
- Etsy

Since I've started using eucalyptus (coupled with religious hand washing) I haven't had another cold or nasal congestion. Coincidence or not, I'm keeping the eucalyptus. At the very least, it makes for good decor.