Cineole is more properly referred to as 1,8-cineole, although in less scientific-study literature you’ll see it discussed as either cineole or sometimes as eucalyptol. It’s a chemical compound you’ll find in a lot of popular essential oils and herbal extracts, including:
Cineole for Respiratory Health
Most of the plants that produce higher levels of Cineole are connected with respiratory health and reducing inflammation. Rosemary and Eucalyptus, for instance, are often included in herbal steam blends to help open the bronchial passages, help move phlegm and excess mucus, and to fight off pathogens. Traditionally, plants high in Cineole have also been used in aromatherapy or been strewn, burned, or used in similar ways to prevent airborne illness and pathogens from spreading. Australian hospitals and medical practices have long used Tea Tree and Eucalyptus in this manner.
Studies have connected Cineole with positive effects on COPD and asthma, and we have long reached for plants high in Cineole to help us ease many respiratory conditions, including both stress-induced and allergic or compound-induced asthma as well as respiratory infections and a variety of allergies.
Cineole for Anxiety and Stress
Cineole-rich plants are also connected with easing stress and anxiety. Helichrysm, for instance, is used by aromatherapists to help ease the anxiety that comes with deep trauma or wounding. Lavender, which contains lower amounts of Cineole, and Rosemary have been found to help decrease general anxiety and ease stress. Studies specific to Cineole have found that pre-surgery anxiety is significantly reduced when patients are given a little Eucalyptus or even pure Cineole to inhale prior to surgery.
It’s reasonable to conclude that plants high in Cineole may be helpful for handling many forms of anxiety and stress, although it is wise to consider the traditional uses and actions of the plant medicine you’re considering before adding it to your formula. Cineole is just one of many chemicals that come together to create each plant’s unique chemical signature. Even when Cineole is the dominant chemical constituent, the others have an important role to play in directing that plant’s medicine.
The primary actions associated with Cineole include:
- anti inflammatory
Cineole for Cleaning and Clearing Body and Home
The antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti fungal properties Cineole contribute to topical and ingested herbal formulas for cleaning, clearing, and protecting both body and home. Adding essential oils of herbs high in Cineole to home cleaners, like Four Thieves style cleaning solutions and air fresheners, helps to clear harmful microbes from the environment.
Some such herb, like Lavender, Tea Tree, and Bay Laurel, have been a basic part of such formulas for centuries. Four Thieves vinegar is a powerful case-in-point. Although we do not know the precise formula for this cleaning solution, we do know that it included several common herbs high in Cineole, including wormwood, rosemary, mugwort, sage, and lavender. Modern versions of this formula almost always include some variation that makes use of Cineole-rich plants alongside other potent chemical constituents like Rosmarinic Acid, Acetic acid, and Camphor.
Alongside these properties, the the analgesic, expectorant, and antispasmodic properties of Cineole-rich herbs contribute significantly to formulas designed to heal from respiratory illness. Herbs like Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Tea Tree have a long-standing place in traditional formulation for colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, and related respiratory distress. Plants that draw on Cineole to defend themselves against damp environments, like the Mediterranean coast where Rosemary makes its home, typically make volatile oils that are particularly well-suited to helping our damp respiratory systems fight off potential pathogens and return to a state of balance.
Cineole for Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory properties Cineole contributes to topical and ingested herbal formulas for healing chronic conditions and trauma. This can include chronic digestive problems, like IBS, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut or similar conditions where the digestive tract has become chronically inflamed, contributing to inability to absorb nutrients properly or to break down and eliminate waste properly. Herbs like Cardamom and Bay Laurel that are high in Cineole as well as those like Fennel and Clove that contain lower amounts of Cineole have traditionally been included in digestive formulas. Often, those formulas provide carminitive, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory actions designed to help ease cramping while supporting healthy peristalsis to aid elimination and promote healthy levels of bile for digestion. Cineole’s antispasmodic property can contribute to formulas for chronic digestive complaints, too.
For recent trauma, the anti-inflammatory property of Cineole helps to clear the wounded place, promoting healthy flow of fluids and energies to the site. Herbs like Rosemary, Helichrysum, and Yarrow have traditionally been used to assist in healing traumatic injury, including topical and deep wounds, contusions, welts and bruising. The anti-inflammatory response these herbs offer helps the body clear plasma, wastes, and dead white blood cells from the wound and open the channels to receive fresh nutrients and cellular activity. Here, Cineole’s analgesic and antispasmodic properties may contribute to the success of the formula, as well.
You can get to know Cineole better by working with herbs that contain high levels. Here are a couple of herbal remedy recipes that make use of this remarkable chemical constituent:
- Four Thieves Vinegar
- Calm and Focused Oil
- Muhkwas for Digestion and Fresh Breath
- Rosemary Hair Grow Goo
- Rosacea Facial Rinse
Resources for Cineole Research
- “1,8-cineole” by Simon Scott
- “The Effect of 1,8-Cineole Inhalation on Preoperative Anxiety: A Randomized Clinical Trial”
- “Staying Healthy Using Essential Oils Rich in 1,8 cineole” by Andrea Butje
- “Compound Summary: Eucalyptol”
- “Essential Oils in Hospitals: The Ethics, Safety, Cost and Application of Clinical Aromatherapy” by Sue Pace
- “Using Essential Oils to Enhance Nursing Practice and for Self-Care”