CajuputBotanical Name: Melaleuca leucadendron (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
Synonyms: Cajeput. White Tea Tree. Swamp Tea Tree. White Wood.
Part Used: The oil.
Habitat: East Indies, Tropical Australia. Imported from Macassar, Batavia, Singapore, Queensland and N.S. Wales.
Description: The tree has a long flexible trunk with irregular ascending branches, covered with a pale thick, lamellated bark it is soft and spongy and from time to time throws off its outer layer in flakes; leaves entire, linear, lanceolate, ash colour, alternate on short foot-stalks; flowers sessile, white, on a long spike. The leaves have a very aromatic odour and the oil is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs, and is volatile and stimulating with an aroma like camphor, rosemary, or cardamom seeds; taste bitter, aromatic and camphoraceous. Traces of copper have been found in it, hence the greenish tint; it should be stored in dark or amber-coloured bottles in a cool place. Cajuput oil is obtained from Melaleuca leucadendron, Roxburgh, and the minor Smith, but several other species of Melaleuca leucadendron are utilized such as M. hypericifolia, M. veridifolia, M. lalifolia, and others. The Australian species M. Decussata and M. Erucifolia are also used. The oil is fluid, clear, inflammable, burns without residue, highly volatile. The trace of copper found may be due to the vessels in which the oil is prepared, but it is doubtless sometimes added in commerce to produce the normal green tinge when other species have been used which do not impart it naturally.
Constituents: The principal constituent of oil is cineol, which should average 45 to 55 per cent. Solid terpineol is also present and several aldehydes such as valeric, butyric and benzoic.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, stimulant, antiseptic, anthelmintic. Highly stimulant, producing a sensation of warmth when taken internally, increasing the fullness and rapidity of the pulse and sometimes producing profuse perspiration. Used as a stimulating expectorant in chronic laryngitis and bronchitis, as an antiseptic in cystisis and as an anthelmintic for round worms, also used in chronic rheumatism. Applied externally, it is stimulant and mildly counter-irritant and is usually applied diluted with 2 parts of olive oil or turpentine ointment. Used externally for psoriasis and other skin affections.
Adulterants: The oils of Rosemary and Turpentine, impregnated with Camphor and coloured, are said to be used. Spirit of Cajeput, B.P., 5 to 20 minims. Oil U S P., 3 to 10 minims. Oil, B.P., 1/2 to 3 minims.