Cajeput Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
Cajeput essential oil has an aroma similar to tea tree oil. If you are comfortable using tea tree oil, then give a try to this too, as the cajeput oil benefits are a bounty.
The uplifting aroma of the oil can promote mental balance and treat various health problems. Here is a detailed article that gives you a whole lot of information on cajeput oil.
What Is Cajeput Oil?
Cajeput oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of Melaleuca cajuputi, which belongs to the Myrtaceae family. It is commonly known as Cajuput tree and also referred to as Cajeput.
The species has three subspecies. The tree is widespread in Australia, New Guinea, and Southeast Asia (1).
Cajeput is a tall, evergreen tree with grey paper-like bark, aromatic leaves, and white or green flower spikes. The bark is light in color, and hence, it has been nicknamed as “White tree.”
The principal places of production of cajeput essential oil include Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Australia, and Vietnam.
Scientific Name Of Cajeput Oil
The botanical name of cajeput is Melaleuca leucadendron / Melaleuca cajuputi.
History Of Cajeput Oil
Though cajeput essential oil is not as popular as Eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil, it holds a great historical background. Its use dates back to ancient times when people used it for both therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.
The name “cajeput” is believed to be derived from the Malay word “Kayuputi” – which means “Whitewood.”
Traditionally, cajeput extracts were used to treat cholera, rheumatism, and gastrointestinal disorders. The bark of the tree has been long used as a roofing and flooring material.
It is also an excellent insecticide. The tree is also known as river tea tree, weeping tea tree, swamp tea tree, and punk tree.
Colour, Consistency, and Smell Of Cajeput Oil
- The color of cajeput oil is colorless or pale yellow.
- The consistency of cajeput oil is thin.
- The smell of cajeput oil is fresh, robust, fruity, and camphor-like.
Properties Of Cajeput Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of cajeput essential oil include:
- Analgesic – Reduces the sensation of pain
- Antibacterial – Prevents the growth of bacteria
- Anthelmintic – Repels the intestinal parasites
- Anticatarrhal – Effective against catarrh
- Antidepressant – Alleviates depression
- Anti-infectious – Prevents infections
- Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
- Anti-inflammatory – Gets rid of inflammation
- Antimicrobial – Prevents the growth of microorganisms
- Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation
- Antiseptic – Destroys microbes and prevents further development
- Antirheumatic – Cures rheumatic conditions
- Antispasmodic – Prevents or relieves spasms, convulsions, or contractions
- Antitussive – Relieves coughs
- Antiviral – Prevents the growth of virus
- Balsamic – Soothes coughs & sore throats
- Calmative – Sedative, calming agent
- Carminative – Treats flatulence, eases abdominal pain and bloating
- Decongestant – Reduces congestion such as mucus
- Deodorant – Masks or removes unpleasant smell
- Digestive – Helps in the digestion of food
- Emmenagogue – Induces or regularises menstruation
- Expectorant – Removes fungus from the body
- Febrifuge – An antifebrile (anti-fever) agent
- Mucolytic – Breaks down mucus
- Pectoral – Beneficial for diseases or conditions of the chest and respiratory system
- Regenerative – Tends to regenerate
- Spasmolytic – Eases smooth muscle spasms
- Stomachic – Keeps your stomach healthy; acts as a digestive aid
- Stimulant – Enhances the overall body functions
- Tonic – Refreshes, restores, and invigorates the bodily functions
Chemical Compounds In Cajeput Oil
The Chemical constituents and the composition of Cajeput essential oil differ according to the places of production.
The major compounds present in cajeput essential oil include 1,8-Cineole (41.1–70.8%), a-Terpineol (6.5–8.7%), p-Cymene (0.7–6.8%), Terpinolene (0–5.9%), g-Terpinene (1.2–4.6%), (þ)-Limonene (3.8–4.1%), Linalool (2.7–3.6%), a-Pinene (2.1–3.2%), b-Caryophyllene (0.7–2.5%), b-Myrcene (0.9–2.0%), a-Caryophyllene (0.5–1.6%), b-Pinene (0.8–1.5%), Terpinen-4-ol (0.6–1.5%), b-Selinene (0–1.5%), a-Selinene (0–1.5%), and Guaiol (0–1.2%).
The 1,8-Cineole content primarily determines the biological activity of the cajeput essential oil.
Health Benefits Of Cajeput Oil
Though there are various cajeput oil benefits, the best ones include:
1. Treats skin infections
Skin, being the largest organ in the human body, is prone to many infections and external factors. From protecting the underlying organs to heat regulation, it performs many significant functions.
Scientific studies claim that cajeput essential oil can prevent the skin from infections and helps to regenerate the damaged skin (3).
Many environmental factors, allergens, unhealthy food habits, chemicals, cosmetics, stress, and much more are responsible for skin problems like acne & rashes.
Parasite-induced skin infections and rashes that occur due to hay fever and other allergic conditions can be treated by the topical application of cajeput essential oil.
The compounds 1,8-Cineole, a-Terpineol, limonene, and linalool in cajeput oil are attributed to antimicrobial properties (4).
Dilute 2 to 3 drops of cajeput essential oil in 2 tablespoons of suitable carrier oil and apply it on the affected region.
BE CAUTIOUS WHEN APPLYING IT ON THE FACE.
2. Fights against dandruff
Dandruff can affect any person and any hair type. It is a general scalp disorder, which is caused due to a variety of reasons like dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, chemical products, allergies, dirt, and fungal infections.
Malassezia furfur, a lipophilic yeast is the widely accepted causative agent of dandruff.
Dandruff are the little white flakes that your scalp sheds upon any trigger. It is often annoying, but many essential oils can be incorporated for dandruff treatment.
Scientists have found that cajeput essential oil inhibits the fungus Malassezia furfur when used in combination with cinnamon oil. However, it takes a little time for the scalp to recover and to stop shedding the flakes (5).
Blend 5 drops of cinnamon oil with 5 drops of cajeput oil and 10 drops of rosemary oil. Take 4 drops from the combination and add it to the chemical-free shampoo. Massage the scalp and wash it thoroughly.
3. Relieves sinus congestion
The primary function of the sinus is to filter the air that you breathe. There are about 14 – 16 sinus cavities in the skull. A little amount of mucus is always present in the cavities.
Any infection or inflammation sometimes causes mucus to build up in the cavities or airways. This is referred to as Catarrh. Catarrh may be acute or chronic.
The uplifting aroma of cajeput essential oil and the 1,8-Cineole present in the oil helps to decongest the gathered mucus. It relieves sinus congestion and facilitates easy breathing (6).
Mix 2 drops of rosemary oil with 1 drop of peppermint oil, 1 drop of cajeput oil, and 1 drop of eucalyptus oil. Add 3 to 4 drops of the mixture in a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.
KEEP YOUR EYES TIGHTLY CLOSED DURING STEAM INHALATION.
4. Alleviates the arthritis symptoms
Arthritis is a general term that refers to several diseases occurring in the joints. There are about 100 different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious, and metabolic arthritis are a few of them.
The common symptoms of arthritis include swelling of joints, pain, inflammation, stiffness, and decreased motion. The symptoms may be mild but can get worse sometimes.
Essential oils can be used to alleviate the symptoms. However, treatment should include a holistic approach and start from nutritional changes.
The compound 1,8-Cineole present in the cajeput oil is responsible for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
A gentle massage with cajeput essential oil helps reduce pain and brings a significant improvement in the health condition (7).
You can either massage the joints with diluted cajeput oil or add in the bath to reduce the pain. Soaking yourself in bath gives you greater relief and helps you overcome a lack of mobility.
5. Cures vaginal candidiasis
Vaginal candidiasis is the most common problem menstruating women experience. It causes intense itching, rashes swelling, and irritation. It is also embarrassing to handle.
Since the genitals are too sensitive, undiluted essential oils or lower dilution may irritate and worsen the condition.
Scientists have found that cajeput oil and its interactions with conventional antibiotics gives new treatment strategies for candida infections (8).
The compounds 1,8-Cineole, a-Terpineol, limonene, and linalool in cajeput have antimicrobial properties.
Blend 3 drops of geranium oil with 2 drops of cajeput oil and 1 drop of rosemary oil. Dilute the mixture using 2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil. Make sure that the coconut oil should not contain any chemical additive.
Apply the diluted oil onto the affected area. Repeat this process twice daily.
6. Eases muscle cramps
Muscle cramps are sudden and involuntary contractions of the muscles. It causes sharp and severe pain. It occurs due to overuse of muscles, inadequate blood supply, dehydration, nerve compression, mineral depletion, and much more.
Stretching your muscles and regular hydration helps you to overcome the pain caused by cramps.
Besides stretching, cajeput oil can come in handy. The analgesic property of the cajeput helps ease the pain due to cramps and gives a warming effect during night time (9).
Blend 10 drops of rosemary oil with 5 drops of cajeput oil and 5 drops of lavender oil. Take 3 to 4 drops from the mixture and dilute it using 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Massage the legs and take proper rest to feel better.
7. Overcomes visual & screen stress
Today, our eyes are mostly exposed to artificial lights, mobile screens, computer screens, and other artificial environments. Most people are aware of the invisible waves or radiations coming from computers, smartphones, and other gadgets.
We are living in an era of electromagnetism, radiation, and microwaves.
Visual stress and screen stress may harm well-being. It is crucial that we protect our eyes and bodies from the hazards we produce to ourselves.
Inhaling the aroma of cajeput essential oil helps to overcome stress and also provide a better working environment.
8. Cures colds, coughs, and sore throats
Cajeput essential oil is an excellent remedy for respiratory diseases. Be it a common cold, cough, sore throat, or bronchitis, you can always trust cajeput oil.
The decongestant property of the oil helps to break down mucus and phlegm. The uplifting aroma of the cajeput oil clears the mind and airways. Uninterrupted breathing makes you more active and focused.
You can either inhale the aroma or give a chest rub using cajeput essential oil. For aromatherapy benefits diffuse the oil using a diffuser and take proper rest (10).
Blend 2 drops of eucalyptus oil with 2 drops of cajeput oil and 2 drops of rosemary oil. Dilute it with a suitable carrier oil and prepare your chest rub. Rub your chest and back to relieve yourself from the cold.
9. Soothes sciatica
Sciatica refers to the pain that radiates along the Sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It comes out from both the sides of the spinal cord, passes through the buttocks, into the back thighs, and to the foot.
Nerve compression causes radiating pain in the legs and calf muscles. Sciatic nerves would become extremely sensitive and numb, making the person feel prickling/burning sensation.
The best remedy is to strengthen the stomach muscles and stretch the whole body. A gentle massage with cajeput essential oil gives you a temporary relief by causing the contracted muscles to expand, enhance the blood circulation, and aid the body to recover itself (11, 12).
10. Treats insect bites
Cajeput essential oil is an excellent treatment for mosquito bites. The aroma of the oil helps repel the mosquitoes and a few other insects.
You can also apply the diluted oil topically to treat mosquito bites. The anti-inflammatory property of the oil prevents itching and rashes (13).
To get rid of head lice, add 2 to 3 drops of cajeput essential oil to a mild, chemical-free shampoo. Massage your head and rinse it off.
What Blends With Cajeput Oil?
Cajeput oil blends the best with:
- Bay laurel oil
- Bergamot oil
- Camphor (white) oil
- Cardamom oil
- Cinnamon leaf oil
- Clove Bud oil
- Eucalyptus lemon oil
- Eucalyptus Radiata oil
- Geranium oil
- Ginger oil
- Hyssop oil
- Juniper berry oil
- Lemon oil
- Myrtle oil
- Niaouli oil
- Nutmeg oil
- Spruce oil
- Orange (sweet) oil
- Peppermint oil
- Oregano oil
- Pine oil
- Sage (Greek) oil
- Rosemary oil
- Sandalwood oil
- Tea tree oil
- Thyme oil
How To Use Cajeput Oil?
Be careful when buying cajeput essential oil, as it might be adulterated or substituted with eucalyptus oil. Sometimes low-quality cajeput oil can be contaminated with kerosene too.
Buy only a high-quality essential oil to avoid side effects.
- Topical Application: Cajuput essential oil is safe for topical application. However, undiluted oil may be a potential irritant. It is always recommended to use the oil in higher dilution. Perform a patch test on healthy skin before using it.
- Aromatherapy: For aromatherapy benefits, diffuse the oil using a diffuser or vaporizer. It is best not to use the oil in a congested room. Seek professional help if you are using the oil for the first time.
- Ingestion: We do not recommend oral intake of cajeput essential oil. It may be toxic, and the adulterated oil may even lead to serious side effects.
Side Effects Of Cajeput Oil
- Cajeput essential oil is rich in 1,8-Cineole. The high content of 1,8-Cineole may cause problems in the Central Nervous System in children.
- The aroma of the oil may also cause breathing problems in children. So, avoid exposure to young children.
- Always make sure that the cajeput essential oil is not applied near the face of infants or young children.
- Cajeput oil may cause skin irritation in sensitive skin.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using the oil.