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Cajeput Essential Oil Benefits: Your Health Guide

While relatively unknown internationally, Cajeput essential oil has long been a household staple in Indonesia. Nearly every household readily keeps a bottle of Cajeput essential oil at hand in recognition of its extraordinary medicinal potential. It is used in herbal medicine to treat health problems, including stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, coughs, and colds. 

Cajeput essential oil entered the global stage after researchers developed an interest in its potential to treat COVID-19. A 2020 study conducted by researchers in Vietnam determined that it had the ability to inhibit proteins that facilitate the entry and replication of viruses. The researchers encouraged using Cajeput essential oil to prevent viral infections, particularly COVID infection. 

The publication of this research brought Cajeput essential oil to the limelight, stoking admiration worldwide for its medicinal properties. This article sheds light on the origins and benefits of Cajeput essential oil and its comparison to other essential oils with a similar chemical profile. 

Origins and Extraction

cajeput plants

Cajeput essential oil is derived from the leaves of Cajeput trees, a species scientifically known as Melaleuca cajuputi. The species belongs to the Melaleuca genus of the Myrtaceae plant family. The word Melaleuca comes from the Greek words ‘melas,’ meaning black, and ‘leucon,’ meaning white, describing the striking visual contrast of the indigenous Cajeput trees. 

Cajeput trees are native to Indonesia and Northwestern Australia, growing in acidic soils and tropical climates. The trees reach a towering height between 30-40 meters and have a full canopy. The leaves of the Cajeput tree which the oil is extracted from are small and thick. The oil occurs in glands present on the leaf blade. 

The essential oil has a light and fluid texture and appears clear to pale yellow. It has a herbaceous, slightly camphoraceous aroma with a fruity hint. The aroma is great for creating a calming and peaceful environment.

Annually, 400 tonnes of Cajeput essential oil is produced for commercial use. The essential oil exclusively comes from the Indonesian crops and is then carefully distilled by small-scale distilleries situated in the Indonesian Maluku islands. The distilleries use the steam distillation method to extract the essential oil. Both in Indonesia and worldwide, the demand for Cajeput essential oil is increasing, leading to a push for new Cajeput tree plantations. 

Cajeput Chemical Constituents and Their Therapeutic Effects

The chemical profile of the Cajeput essential oil varies greatly within the species. The oil is affected by numerous intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including plant genetics, temperature, rainfall, and quality of the soil. 

The most prominent chemical compound is the monoterpene 1,8 cineole, which makes up between 30-60% of the oil. This compound has been widely researched for its beneficial qualities, ranging from antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and anti-rheumatic. As a result, 1,8 cineole has a wide range of applications in herbal medicine, from being used as a digestive to relieving arthritis pain. 

Cajeput essential oil also contains sesquiterpene compounds, namely globulol, vridiflorol, and spathulenol. These chemicals have a natural anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and insect-repellent effect. 

Another notable compound that the essential oil consists of is limonene. Limonene is used in a range of alternative medicine applications, such as the treatment of bronchitis and cancer. While it does not replace professional medical treatment and prescribed drugs, studies have supported its therapeutic effects. A 2018 review consolidated findings from multiple studies investigating the therapeutic potential of limonene. The review concluded that limonene presents the following properties: anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer. 

How Cajeput Compares to Other Essential Oils

Cajeput essential oil is often compared to eucalyptus essential oil and tea tree essential oil. All three of these essential oils are derived from plants of the Myrtaceae family and hence share biological characteristics. The subsequent sections will explore the chemical compositions and pharmacological properties of Cajeput essential oil, contrasting it with tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils, respectively.

Cajeput vs. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Like Cajeput essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil belongs to the Myrtaceae plant family. As a result, Cajeput and eucalyptus share physical characteristics and chemical compounds. Both essential oils contain 1,8 cineole, a-pinene, limonene, and globulol. This means that they can be used for similar potential purposes, such as pain relief and treatment of respiratory health. 

Cajeput and eucalyptus essential oils both have a thin consistency and appear clear. Eucalyptus has a woody, bright scent with a camphoraceous note. Cajeput has a similar woody, camphoraceous scent but is slightly sweeter.

There is a significant overlap between the therapeutic effects of both essential oils, including the possible treatment of sore throat, bronchitis, and muscular aches. However, there is better scientific evidence for eucalyptus essential oil’s effective usage.

Cajeput vs. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is also a relative of Cajeput essential oil, and shares chemical compounds, including 1, 8 cineole, a-pinene, and a-terpineol. These compounds give the oils their characteristic camphoraceous scent. When compared, the aroma of tea tree oil is stronger and more medicinal, while Cajeput oil has a fruity top note and smells more pleasant. 

Tea tree essential oil is known for its versatility in possibly treating conditions, such as the flu, colds, insect bites, and sinusitis. In addition, it is also beneficial for potentially treating skin conditions, such as acne. Cajeput essential oil shares these properties, but might be more pleasant to use because of its sweeter character. 

Health Benefits of Cajeput Essential Oil

Like other essential oils extracted from plants of the Myrtle family, Cajeput essential oil is widely used for its medicinal potential. It is a multi-purpose remedy that can be potentially beneficial for multiple health and beauty concerns. 

Cajeput Essential Oil for Skin

Although lesser known, Cajeput essential oil has immense potential as a skincare ingredient. It has the ability to brighten the skin, and protect it from acne and inflammation. The star chemical compound responsible for many of these benefits is 1, 8 cineole. It imparts the essential oil with antifungal and antimicrobial properties, preventing the development of skin infections. 

1, 8 cineole is also effective for preventing and treating damage caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays. As affirmed by a 2017 study, the compound is a chemopreventive agent, reducing the risk of skin cancer. 1, 8 cineole shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, reducing oxidative stress and, thereby, fine lines and sun damage. 

Additionally, Cajeput essential oil is suitable for use as an insect repellent as it contains insecticidal sesquiterpene compounds. 

To use: Mix a few drops of Cajeput essential oil with a carrier oil with skin-enhancing benefits; argan oil and rosehip oils nourish the skin and are not comedogenic. Apply the diluted oil directly on the skin, or add it to your moisturizer for smoother, calmer skin. 

Cajeput Essential Oil for Respiratory Health

Cajeput essential oil, hailed for its remarkable respiratory health benefits, garnered significant attention as a natural remedy during the research conducted to combat COVID-19. Researchers readily developed an interest in Cajeput essential oil as the literature review indicated it had significant antiviral capabilities. 

Studies conducted highlighted that 10 compounds in Cajeput essential oil exhibited synergistic antiviral activity. These compounds account for nearly 70% of the essential oil, and the most powerful compounds identified were terpineol, linalool, cineol, and guaiol. These findings provide evidence that Cajeput essential oil can be used to inhibit flu, colds, and viral infections.

Cajeput essential oil also has expectorant properties, possibly helping clear phlegm and mucus from the chest. Research published in 2013 confirmed the effectiveness of cineole, a major component in Cajeput, for treating acute bronchitis. The chemical compound significantly reduced mucus secretion, chest pain, and frequency of dry cough.

To use: Diffuse Cajeput essential oil using a reliable ultrasonic diffuser in a well-ventilated space. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the diffuser to enhance the mucolytic effect. Avoid directly inhaling the essential oil, as it can cause breathing problems and other side effects. 

Cajeput Essential Oil for Pain Relief

In alternative medicine, Cajeput has been used as a natural analgesic for centuries. After the development of contemporary healthcare, evidence has emerged to validate its traditional use. Cajeput essential oil has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving potential as a result of the abundance of terpenes in it. 

Cajeput essential oil contains cineole, pinene, and a-terpineol, compounds that have been compared to OTC pain relievers in terms of their effectiveness. The study that made this comparison emphasized the mechanism of pain suppression. The results obtained showed that terpenes work by reducing levels of inflammatory cytokines (inflammation-causing proteins) and regulating the activity of cells that signal pain. 

To use: Diffuse a blend of Cajeput, lavender, and peppermint essential oils using an ultrasonic diffuser. Avoid using nebulizing diffusers as they put out a concentrated mist that might cause side effects from the inhalation of Cajeput vapors. 

Cajeput Essential Oil for Relaxation

Essential oils derived from the Myrtle plant family are well known for their anxiolytic and relaxing effect. Eucalyptus, tea tree, and Cajeput essential oil all have a grounding aroma that creates a calming atmosphere. Among these, Cajeput essential oil has a slightly sweeter quality, enhancing the overall diffusing experience. 

The anxiolytic property in Cajeput essential oil comes from its constituents limonene and 1, 8 cineole. Research published in the journal EBCAM (Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine) investigated the impact of inhaling limonene and cineole on postoperative anxiety. The study outcome showed that there was a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure after administration of the compounds.

To use: Light a candle and add Cajeput, chamomile, and lavender essential oil to your diffuser. Diffuse the essential oil blend and infuse your environment with calm and tranquility. 

Debunking Unsupported Health Benefits of Cajeput Essential Oil

While Cajeput essential oil has several legitimate medicinal uses, some of the purported health benefits are not evidenced by scientific research. Notably, Cajeput essential oil has been linked to hearing loss, a claim that is entirely unfounded. Many alternative health practitioners recommend inhaling Cajeput for tinnitus, vertigo, and sensorineural hearing loss. However, there has been little clinical research to support these claims.

In fact, articles published by licensed medical professionals actively discourage using Cajeput essential oil to treat auditory issues and hearing loss. 

Possible Side Effects of Cajeput Essential Oil

Cajeput essential oil may cause side effects depending on its dosage and method of administration. The essential oil is not recommended to be used by or in the presence of children, pregnant women, or pets. Patients that suffer from asthma attacks are strongly cautioned against using Cajeput essential oil.

Using Cajeput essential oil via direct inhalation may cause breathing problems or trigger the onset of an asthma attack. Always administer Cajeput essential oil through a diffuser and never inhale directly from the bottle. Also, ensure that you diffuse Cajeput essential oil intermittently in a well-ventilated area. When applying the essential oil topically, remember to dilute with a neutral carrier oil. 

It is important to note that Cajeput essential oil may interact with medications that are broken down by the liver. Examples of medications metabolized by the liver include codeine, fentanyl, metoprolol olanzapine, and trazodone. If you take any drugs or medication in your routine, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before using Cajeput essential oil. 

A Word From Wholesale Botanics on Cajeput Essential Oil

essential oil dropping in bottle candles

By integrating Cajeput essential oil into your routine, you can enjoy various health benefits and improve your overall well-being. Cajeput essential oil is particularly useful in colder seasons as it has the potential to inhibit viral infections, colds, and flu. 

However, it is important to note that the benefits of Cajeput essential oil are quite dependent on its extraction process. Some plants from the Melaleuca cajuputi species contain little to no cineole, while some contain over 45 percent. To ensure that you obtain the full pharmacological benefits, make sure that the Cajeput essential oil you buy is tested for purity and composition by a trusted organization. Our Cajeput essential oil is tested for purity by the GC-MS method and has nearly 50% cineole content, making it ideal for topical and therapeutic use. 

Even so, Cajeput essential oil cannot be used as a replacement for medical treatment. It may provide relief from symptoms such as anxiety, pain, and inflammation, but it is not a standalone treatment.

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