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Progress in Essential Oils

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of P&F magazine.

Melaleuca cajuputi Powell (syn. M. minor Smith) is a Myrtaceae tree, which is true source of cajuput oil not M. leacodendron. This earlier nomenclatural confusion stems from the fact that the trees of both Melaleuca species are known in Indonesia and Malaysia as gelam. Melaleuca cajuputi trees are found in northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The oil produced by stem distillation of the leaves of M. cajuputi and its commercial value is judged on its 1,8-cineole content. Lawrence (1992) analyzed a number of commercial samples of cajuput oil of Indonesian origin and found that the 1,8-cineole content ranged from 55.6–69.1%. A commercial sample of cajuput oil was subjected to analysis using GC and GC/MS by Reichling et al. (1999).

The constituents identified in this oil were as follows:

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