Feb 12, 2014
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MELALEUCA LEUCADENDRON

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Linn.

Family ► Myrtaceae.

Habitat ► Indegenous to Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Malay Peninsula to Australia; grown in Indian gardens and parks.

English ► Cajeput tree, Swamp Tea tree, White Tea tree.

Folk ► Kaayaaputi. (The oil of Cajeput is imported into India, chiefly from France and Netherlands.)

Action ► Oil—used as an expectorant in chronic laryngitis and bronchitis, and as a carminative. Acts as anthelmintic, especially against round worms. Enters into ointments for rheumatism and stiff joints, sprains and neuralgia, migraine, colds, influenza, and as a mosquito repellent.

Key application ► The oil is antimicrobial and hypermic in vitro. (German Commission.)

The oil contains terpenoids, 1,8- cineole (40-65%) as major component, with alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, nerolidol, limonene, benzaldehyde, valeraldehyde, dipentene and various sesquiterpenes; 3,5-dimethyl-4,6,di- O-methylphloroacetophenone.

The essential oil of Melaleuca al- ternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) is indicated for acne, tinea pedis and toe and nail onychomycosis on the basis of human trials. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Tea Tree Oil is distilled from the leaves of several species of Australian trees belonging the genus Melaleuca, principaly from M. alternifolia. Tea Tree Oil should contain a maximum of 15% 1,8-cineole and a minimum of 30% (+)-terpinen-4-ol, the principal germicidal ingredient. Other constituents, alpha-terpineol and linalool, also exhibit antimicrobial activity. (Cited in Rational Phytotherapy.)

The essential oil of Melaleuca virdi- flora Solander ex Gaertner leaves, known as Niauli Oil, is used for catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. The oil is antibacterial and stimulatory to circulation in vitro. (German Commission E.) Like cajeput oil, the principal constituent is cineole (eucalyptol).

A related species, M. genistifolia, indigenous to Australia, is grown in botanical gardens at Saharanpur and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh). The leaves and terminal twigs yield 0.53% of a volatile oil which consists mainly of d-pinene, and about 2% cineole and traces of aldehyde.

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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