​​Are Eucalyptus Tea or Drops Safe for Pregnancy? 

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Eucalyptus drops and tea are well-known for their use in treating common cold symptoms. You may wonder if eucalyptus drops would be a good option for reducing nausea during pregnancy, or perhaps if eucalyptus might be a calming herbal beverage to act as an antibacterial tea.

In small amounts, it is generally considered safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to consume eucalyptus tea made from eucalyptus leaves. However, there is no research to suggest the safety of eucalyptus cough drops or lollies made from eucalyptus oil compounds. 

Eucalyptus consumption during pregnancy is more complex than just a “yes” or “no” answer. Here, we’ll discuss the implications of consuming eucalyptus tea, cough drops, and lollies during your pregnancy. 

Is Eucalyptus Tea Safe for Pregnancy?

The eucalyptus tree has leaves and oils known for their antibacterial and anti-fungal effects on the body (source: MedlinePlus). Also, eucalyptus is used for dental hygiene as well as for sore throats (source: Mount Sinai Health System). 

However, the health benefits of eucalyptus lack verification and reliable information, especially when it comes to the recommendations for pregnant women. For this reason, many conflicting sources exist about the safety of eucalyptus leaves, and therefore eucalyptus tea, during pregnancy. 

A significant concern for tea consumption during pregnancy relates to caffeine. However, herbal teas, such as eucalyptus tea are generally caffeine-free. Still, the worry for pregnant women exists regarding herb usage. 

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) recommends caution while using any herb during pregnancy and breastfeeding (source: American Pregnancy Association). 

Researchers are mainly concerned about herbs’ impact on the developing fetus (source: American Pregnancy Association).

Unfortunately, few experimental studies exist on eucalyptus tea consumption and pregnancy. This lack of literature is because it is considered unethical by the medical community to perform clinical trials on pregnant women. 

The conclusion is that pregnant women can safely use eucalyptus leaves in small amounts as a flavoring for foods. Additionally, eucalyptus tea made from steeping eucalyptus leaves is generally recognized as safe.

a cup of aromatic eucalyptus tea and leaves on the table

However, it is crucial to read the label of store-bought eucalyptus teas to check the other herbs that may be present.

For example, the Traditional Medicinals “Breathe Easy” Eucalyptus Mint tea also contains fennel, which is not safe for consumption as tea during pregnancy. Therefore, if you’re about to enjoy a tea blend, check the ingredients to make sure all the herbs and ingredients in tea products are safe for pregnant women. 

Are Eucalyptus Cough Drops or Lollies Safe When Pregnant? 

Eucalyptus is also often found in lozenges, cough syrups, and lollies to treat coughs and the common cold (source: Mount Sinai Health System). Many pregnant women also consider using eucalyptus drops to relieve nausea. However, the eucalyptus compound in the cough drops is present in the form of eucalyptus oil, rather than leaves. 

It is essential to make a distinction between eucalyptus oil and eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus oil, extracted from the leaves, has very different health implications. Pure and undiluted eucalyptus oil is very dangerous for oral consumption, even in tiny amounts as small as a teaspoon or even less (source: MedlinePlus).

Other brand names for eucalyptus are fever tree, gum tree, red ironbark, and white ironbark (source: Rxlist). These should be avoided as well.

Research has demonstrated that eucalyptol, a chemical derived from eucalyptus oil, may possibly be safe for human consumption, but this does not apply to pregnancy or breastfeeding. Therefore, eucalyptus oil and its derivatives are not safe for consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding women (source: MedlinePlus).

a bottle of eucalyptus oil and branches

However, bear in mind that commercially-made cough drops, syrups, and so on do not contain neat, undiluted oil – they’re almost always combined with other ingredients. However, it’s probably still a good idea to avoid them during your pregnancy and opt for other types of cough drops instead (e.g. honey and lemon or menthol).

If you’ve had a eucalyptus oil drop or lolly once or twice, then there’s no need to panic – choose other non-eucalyptus drops for the duration of your pregnancy and speak to your health provider if you have any concerns. 

If you’re experiencing nausea, this is perfectly normal. Up to 70% of pregnant women experience nausea during their pregnancy (source: American Pregnancy Association). If you thought about using eucalyptus for nausea then worry not! There are safe alternatives to eucalyptus to manage nausea during your pregnancy. 

It is essential to be aware of certain foods or drinks or even simply smells that trigger your nausea — avoid these triggers as much as possible! Dry and plain foods, such as crackers or toast, may help ease the stomach instead of greasy or creamy foods.

Small meals and frequent meals can help regulate gut symptoms and reduce nausea as well (source: American Pregnancy Association).

Ginger consumption can also lessen the intensity of nausea during pregnancy (source: Mayo Clinic). Whether ginger drops, tea, or ginger ale, give ginger a try for your nausea instead of eucalyptus! For more on this, you can read our article on ginger during pregnancy. You might also find our information on lemon and nausea helpful, too.

I hope you found this information helpful in determining which eucalyptus products are appropriate to consume during your pregnancy, along with some safer alternatives.