Eucalyptus has been used for centuries, from folk medicine to cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. Find out how this aromatic plant can be used to help you breathe better during cold or allergy season.
fresh eucalyptus from Trader Joe's

I probably don't have to tell you that life can be stressful. Between balancing work, finances and our personal relationships, it can be hard to carve out time for self-care. While taking a day off to head to the spa might be out of the question, you can bring the spa to your home—all it takes is $4, a trip to Trader Joe's and a few minutes of your time.

First, a little backstory: I discovered how much I *love* the smell of eucalyptus when I tried everything in my (admittedly limited) power to help my seasonal allergies. I put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on my shower floor to let the scented steam relieve my stuffed-up nose. The oil smelled amazing, gave my bathroom a spa-like quality and helped me breathe a little better. The only problem? Essential oils can be pricey—the pure, therapeutic-grade stuff runs around $20 for a tiny bottle.

So when I spotted a bunch of eucalyptus at Trader Joe's for $3.99, I got really excited. I recalled seeing some eucalyptus bunches on Etsy for your shower a few months ago, but they were nearly 10 times the price of the ones at TJ's!

I decided to try recreating a eucalyptus steam shower at home. I bought a bouquet, used a hair elastic (a rubber band would be fine) to secure the stems together and attached it to my shower head with a bit of twine. Then, I shut the bathroom door and ran the water as hot as I could handle. It created a spa-like steam room in my bathroom, and I was instantly hooked.

While I won't say that it'll magically cure your allergies, bronchitis or asthma, research, like the 2022 study in Molecules, shows that eucalyptus does have a nose- and throat-clearing effect—and that helps me breathe better—plus, it's incredibly relaxing and feels indulgent (even though it only costs a few bucks). The best part? Fresh eucalyptus lasts for about three weeks, so you will get plenty of use from it.

So next time you swing by TJ's for your weekly meal prep staples or seasonal goodies, stop by the flower section and pick up a bouquet or two of eucalyptus—I promise you won't regret it.