Composition of Vietnamese Essential Oil from Melaleuca Leucadendron L.

The Vietnamese plant kingdom, as part of the southeast Asian flora, contains a vast variety of plants, represented in many species and forms. Many of them are used in the traditional medicine of Vietnam and other countries, while others are sources for the production of essential oils, drugs and other useful materials. The greater part of the chemical investigations of these plants dates back to before 1940, with rather modest results conditioned by the level of the methods employed.

In this paper, the chemical composition of the oil, established by a combination of gas-chromatography (GC) and gas-chromatography/massspectrometry (GC/MS), is described.

Melaleuca leucadendron L. (Myrtaceae). Many melaleuca species are widespread in southeast Asia, the Malay Peninsula and the East Indies. The leaves of some of them contain about 1% essential oil, rich in 1,8-cineole (40-65%), known as “cajeput oil.” one of its most abundant sources is M. leucadendron. Other components of the oil are α-pinene, limonene, α-terpineol, and unidentified mono- and bicyclic sesquiterpenes. Despite the large production of M, leucadendron oil, there are no detailed data on its chemical composition.

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