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In your recent TikTok scrolls (or visits to friends’ houses), you may have noticed the presence of some green leaves against the white shower tiles. Is that, um, a plant in the shower? Yes, it’s eucalyptus—and it seems to be popping up in bathrooms everywhere.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal—and it certainly does look lovely!—putting eucalyptus in the shower has been shown to release the plant’s incredible healing properties. It can help reduce anxiety, ease congestion, soothe a cough, and more. It also smells amazing. Think of it as your own personal at-home spa treatment, but without those expensive spa prices.
The health benefits of eucalyptus in the shower
If you’re familiar with an essential oil diffuser, hanging eucalyptus in your shower is a similar concept. When you put essential oils into a diffuser, the steam from the diffuser breaks down the oil into smaller, breathable molecules. The steam from your hot shower does the same thing to the eucalyptus leaves.
Beyond its pleasant smell, eucalyptus has plenty of health benefits. In a 2014 study published in the journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that 1,8–cineole (known as eucalyptol), the dominant compound in eucalyptus, helped decrease anxiety before a medical procedure. If you’re experiencing increased stress, eucalyptus oil can help you feel calmer and more at ease.
Feel a cold coming on? This native Australian plant can help with that too. In a 2017 study, researchers found that eucalyptus oil had anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties. Whether you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or a bad cough, you can leave those Emergen-C packets in the cabinet and breathe in this plant’s soothing fragrance instead. It’s easier, better for you, and—cheaper.
What you need to know before putting eucalyptus in your shower
Ready to try this wellness trend out for yourself? You can purchase eucalyptus leaves at your local grocery store or plant shop, as well as online. However, if you decide to go the online route, proceed with caution. While this may seem obvious, make sure to check that the eucalyptus you’re purchasing is fresh or dried—not artificial. Unfortunately, while artificial eucalyptus leaves may last, well, forever, they don’t offer any of the benefits of the plant’s essential oils.
Additionally, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your eucalyptus leaves and roll them out. By rolling out your bundle, you’ll release the scent of the leaves. (And who doesn’t want their shower to smell like fresh eucalyptus?) After rolling out your leaves, wrap your bundle in some twine or string—and drape it around your shower head.
Tada! You’ve officially created a spa-worthy shower experience. Now, all you need to do is relax and enjoy the benefits that your eucalyptus plant offers. However, don’t forget to change your leaves every few weeks. Since it’s an actual plant, it will lose its smell and benefits over time. Just see it as another excuse to head back to the plant shop (as if you needed another one).