Common Name: Cajuput
Scientific Name: Melaleuca leucadendron
Origin: Native to Indonesia & cultivated in tropical countries
Synonyms: M. leucadendron var. cajeputi, Melaleuca cajeputi, punk tree, kayaputi, M. minor, cajeput, white tea tree, white wood, swamp tea tree and paperbark tree
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
The essential oil of cajuput is colourless to pale-yellow or greenish-coloured liquid with a powerful fresh, eucalyptus-like and camphoraceous odour.
Origin and History
M. cajeputi is a medium sized tree to 30m, with a single trunk to 1.5m, but several stems may grow from the original root stock. The trees often have small crowns, especially in pure stands, with smaller branches and often slender twigs. The bark is whitish, papery, thin and flaking.
Cajuput has been traditionally used for its antiseptic, carminative and local analgesic properties by Australian aborigines. It was used by local aborigines on Groote Eylandt for the treatment of aches and pains. The leaves were crushed in the hand and rubbed on. Sometimes young leaves and twigs are crushed and steeped in hot water; the liquid is used to bathe the affected area and the rest is poured over the head. Crushed leaves are sniffed to cure headache.
Method of Extraction
The essential oil of cajuput is steam distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs of M. cajeputi.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Cajuput is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising. However it can irritate the skin, therefore it needs to be well diluted and never allowed to come into contact with mucous membranes.
Cajuput is a versatile antiseptic and clearing essential oil that can also be used effectively as an inhalant during the cold season. Cajuput essential oil has a fresh, camphoraceous-medicinal aroma with a fruity body note and is very similar to eucalyptus, but softer with a hint of herb.
Other therapeutic properties reported include Analgesic, antispasmodic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulating, sudorific and vermifuge.
Cajuput essential oil blends well with bergamot, cypress, juniperberry, lemon, pine and rosemary.