Wanna make your bathroom look a 'lil prettier in legit 10 seconds? Attach some eucalyptus leaves to your shower head and voilà, instant spa vibes.
But it turns out adding the plant to your shower can do a lot beyond making your bathroom look like a bougie influencer’s. Like, there are actual health benefits to hanging eucalyptus in your shower.
Before we get into that though, let's talk about where to buy eucalyptus and how to hang it. Shopping IRL? Lots of Instagram stores that sell drived flowers offer eucalyptus leaves—just make sure to inquire! (Just make sure you're ordering fresh or dried leaves, some of the artificial ones look very realistic.)
Once you've got your branches, it's time to prep 'em for the shower. Use a rubber band or some twine to gather them into a bunch. Then, tie the eucalyptus bunch to your shower head or stick it on your shower caddy—somewhere where it's close to the steam but not directly in the water.
Alright, now that you know *exactly* how to set up this plant bb in your bathroom, it's time to discuss why it's worth doing. Here, eight health benefits of hanging eucalyptus in your shower, according to science.
It fights nasal congestion.
If your nose is feeling majorly stuffed up from a cold, inhaling steam that's infused with eucalyptus oil (which happens naturally in the shower) can help. That's because the oil has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can help open up the airways, says Hasti Fashandi, ND, a naturopathic doctor at Peninsula Integrative Medicine.
According to a study published in the Journal of Korean Biological Nursing Science, eucalyptus aromatherapy can also help with nasal congestion that results from seasonal allergies.
It promotes stress relief.
A long, hot shower always chills me out after a stressful day, and apparently adding some eucalyptus leaves to the mix can make the experience even more calming. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that inhaling eucalyptus oil made patients feel more relaxed before undergoing surgery. Researchers believe that eucalyptol, a chemical compound found in eucalyptus oil, is what gives the oil its anti-anxiety effects.
It can help with sinus infections.
Because eucalyptus oil has antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, inhaling steam that's infused with it can help you manage a variety of respiratory conditions, including sinus infections, says Dr. Fashandi. As you breathe in the steam, it travels up into the sinuses so the essential oils from the leaves can work to kill the viruses and/or bacteria that are growing there, she explains.
It can treat bronchitis.
Bronchitis is another one of the respiratory conditions eucalyptus may help to treat. In addition to killing the viruses that create bronchitis, the plant's anti-inflammatory effect and mucus-thinning abilities may help the stubborn infection go away, according to a review published in Alternative Medicine Review. Yay!
It relieves pain.
Eucalyptus is often used topically for headaches and muscle aches because it increases blood flow to the area, which flushes out inflammation and relieves pain, explains Dr. Fashandi. But you might still be able to reap some benefits from just inhaling the oil. In a study of patients undergoing knee replacement surgery published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that breathing in eucalyptus oil for 30 minutes decreased patients' pain after surgery.
It boosts alertness.
Have a hard time waking up before 9 a.m.? Same. Good news: Putting a few sprigs of eucalyptus in your shower can help with that. The essential oils released by the steam will dilate your airways, which will improve oxygenated blood flow to your organs, including your brain. And increased oxygen to your brain = feeling more alert and awake, explains Dr. Fashandi.
It might improve your mental health.
If you're a plant parent, you probably already know that having plants in your living space just ~feels better~. And science supports that. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology suggests that interacting with indoor plants can calm the nervous system and promote comfortable, soothing feelings. "We also get really good energy from plants," Dr. Fashandi adds.
It can help control asthma.
Research suggests that eucalyptol (that chemical compound I mentioned earlier) can be used improve asthma symptoms, according to a review in Drug Research. This is another case where eucalyptus oil's anti-inflammatory properties come to the rescue. Asthma causes inflamed airways, so inhaling steam infused with the plant's oil in the shower can help the airways to open back up, making it easier to breathe.