Cajeput oil is a wonderful essential oil that smells a little like camphor and tea tree. That’s because it is made from the leaves of the cajeput tree, a member of the Melaleuca family. So you can expect the oil has some great health and beauty benefits. Here’s more.
Cajeput Oil Properties
There are two main species used to make cajeput oil. They are Melaleuca leucadendra or Melaleuca cajuputi.
As you can see, these names are close to the botanical name of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). That’s because they are all part of the myrtle family.
Cajeput is also called cajuput or white wood. So look out for that when buying the oil.
Color and smell
Cajeput oil is colorless but can have light yellow hues. And it smells like camphor and a little fruity. To me, it is like a blend of camphor, rosemary, and cardamom essential oils. All that rolled into one wonderful oil? How lovely!
What’s in the oil?
The main compound in this oil is eucalyptol. It can make up almost half the oil.
Other compounds in the oil worth mentioning include terpinolene, alpha-terpineol and gamma-terpinene. Limonene, linalool and alpha-pinene have also been reported.
Cajeput Oil Benefits
The benefits of cajeput oil include:
- neutralizing free radicals
- destroying bacteria
- killing fungi
- repelling and kill insects
You can find the studies proving these benefits below.
It is antioxidant
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. And free radicals can damage your skin and cause wrinkles and cancer.
Cajeput oil is antioxidant, at least according to this Cuban 2010 study. It tested the oil in three different ways and found it was an excellent antioxidant.
It is antibacterial
Lots of studies prove these benefits of cajeput oil.
This one from 1999 tested 52 essential oils on multi-drug resistant bacteria. While cajeput was not among the best antibacterial oils, it did show great antibacterial activity. In fact, the oil was able to kill several resistant bacteria at concentrations of 1%.
This 1994 study also proved the antibacterial nature of the oil. And it noted eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol were the compounds responsible for these effects.
It is antifungal too
The same 1999 study also tested cajeput on the fungi, Candida albicans, you know the one that causes thrush and yeast infections. Well, the oil killed the fungi at concentrations of just 1%.
Wow! So cajeput oil has great antimicrobial benefits.
It kills bugs
You can also use the oil on insects too like mosquitoes and termites. Yay!
This 2012 study tested a spray with cajeput oil on adult mosquitoes. Two concentrations were used – 5% and 10%. And both were able to kill mosquitoes on contact!
Another study from 2005 soaked filter paper in the oil (5% and 10% concentrations) and fed it to termites. Within one day, all the termites that ate the paper died. Omg! And the paper was effective three months after it was initially soaked.
Isn’t cajeput oil amazing?
Cajeput Oil Uses
You can also blend it with spicy and woody oils too. So add it to cedarwood, oregano and thyme essential oils.
Besides irritating your airways, cajeput oil can irritate your skin. So it is important to dilute it properly and patch test the blend first. A 1% blend or 1 drop to a teaspoon of a carrier oil is a good blend to start with.
You should also know the oil may cause breathing problems, especially in children. And maybe even asthma attacks. So it is so important to talk to your doctor before using this oil. This is even more important if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or using it around your kids. Safety first!
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