Eucalyptus globulus possesses important pharmacological activities, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We investigated the anti-fatigue, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of eucalyptus essential oil after swimming exercise using an animal model. Male Sprague– Dawley rats were administered eucalyptus oil (200 μL/h) daily via inhalation (15 min), and anti-fatigue effects were assessed following eucalyptus essential oil administration for 2 or 4 weeks when forced to swim until exhaustion while carrying ~5% body weight-equivalent. To assess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, control and oil-treated groups were subjected to swimming, which was intensified from 90 min to 120 min daily over 4 weeks, with non-swimming groups included as controls. The 2- and 4-week-treated rats increased their swimming-to-exhaustion time by 46 s and 111 s, respectively. Additionally, lactate (LA), creatine kinase (CK), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities increased significantly in the non-treated swimming relative to levels observed in the non-swimming groups (P < 0.05); however, no significant differences in these markers were observed between the treated groups. The anti-fatigue effects were related to LA clearance and reduced LDH and CK concentrations. Moreover, compared to the corresponding levels in the non-swimmers, the non-treated swimmers showed markedly elevated levels of liver malondialdehyde (MDA), xanthine oxidase (XO), and other factors, but significantly decreased (P < 0.05) glutathione (GSH) concentrations. However, compared with that of the non-swimmer group, the treated swimming group showed no significant changes in these levels (P > 0.05), suggesting stable XO and MDA production and maintenance of GSH levels. These results suggested that eucalyptus oil aromatherapy increased rat swimming performance and antioxidant capacity and decreased oxidative damage and inflammatory reactions in tissues, indicating good anti-fatigue, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects after high-intensity endurance exercise.
Keywords: 1,8-cineole; anti-fatigue; anti-inflammation; antioxidation; Eucalyptus globulus.