Cajeput oil (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alloaromadendrene, alpha-terpineol, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid, cajeput, cajeput essential oil, castalin, dendra, ellagic acid, flavonoids, gallic acid, grandinin, ledene, ledol, linalool, Melaleuca, Melaleuca cajuputi, Melaleuca decora, Melaleuca leaves, Melaleuca leucadendra (L), Melaleuca leucadendron, Melaleuca leucadendron leaf, Melaleuca pollen, Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves, Melaleuca quinquenervia tree, Melaleuca tree, Melaleuca tree pollen, Myrtaceae (family), niaouli, oxyresveratrol, palustrol, paper bark tree, phytol, piceatannol, platanic acid, polyphenols, punk tree, roseoside, squalene, ursolic acid, Vietamese cajeput oil, viridiflorol.
Note: Cajeput oil should not be confused with tea tree oil, although the plants are part of the same genus. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Melaleuca leucadendron and Melaleuca quinquenervia refer to the same plant and this monograph may use these terms interchangeably.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Melaleuca leucadendron and Melaleuca quinquenervia refer to the same plant.
Cajeput (Melaleuca quinquenervia leucadendron, Melaleuca leucadendron) is a tree native to Australia. Cajeput oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of the plant. Cajeput leaves may be useful for high blood pressure, herpes simplex, and Helicobacter pylori inhibition. They may also have hypoglycemic effects and may be able to lower blood sugar levels. However, currently there is not enough scientific evidence in humans to support the use of cajeput oil for any indication.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Anesthetic (pain blocker), antibacterial, antihistamine, antioxidant, diabetes, H. pylori gastric infection, herpes simplex, hypertension (high blood pressure), mosquito repellent.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cajeput oil in adults.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cajeput oil in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cajeput. Cajeput pollen is a known allergen and may cause positive skin test reactions. In addition, there is a high cross-sensitivity between cajeput, Paspalum notatum, and Callistemon citrinis pollen.
Side Effects and Warnings
There are very few reported adverse effects associated with cajeput. Nonetheless, use cautiously in patients with diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or high or low blood pressure. Leaves harvested from certain areas of the world may contain carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Cajeput oil is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
In theory, cajeput oil may intensify local anesthetic power when combined with other anesthetics.
Although not well studied in humans, cajeput may have potential interactions with antibiotics, antihistamines, antioxidants, or mosquito repellent agents. Consult a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, to check for interactions.
Cajeput oil may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and in those taking drugs that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Cajeput may inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori. Use cautiously with ulcer medications. Cajeput fruit may also inhibit herpes simplex I and there is a possible interaction when taking in combination with other antiviral agents. In addition, early evidence suggests that cajeput leaves may alter blood pressure. Use cautiously in patients taking blood pressure medications.
Cajeput may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
In theory, cajeput oil may intensify local anesthetic power when combined with other anesthetic herbs or supplements.
Although not well studied in humans, cajeput may have potential interactions with antibiotics, antihistamines, antioxidants, or mosquito repellent herbs or supplements. Consult a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, to check for interactions.
Cajeput oil may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring and doses may need adjustment.
Cajeput may inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori. Use cautiously with herbs and supplements used to manage ulcers. Cajeput fruit may also inhibit herpes simplex I and an interaction is possible when taking in combination with other antiviral herbs and supplements. In addition, early evidence suggests that cajeput leaves may alter blood pressure. Use cautiously in patients taking blood pressure-altering herbs and supplements.
Cajeput may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Amer A, Mehlhorn H. Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes. Parasitol Res 2006;99(4):478-490. View Abstract
Bhamarapravati S, Pendland SL, Mahady GB. Extracts of spice and food plants from Thai traditional medicine inhibit the growth of the human carcinogen Helicobacter pylori. In Vivo 2003;17(6):541-544. View Abstract
El Toumy SA, Marzouk MS, Moharram FA, et al. Flavonoids of Melaleuca quinquenervia. Pharmazie 2001;56(1):94-95. View Abstract
Lee CK, Chang MH. Four new triterpenes from the heartwood of melaleuca leucadendron. J Nat Prod 1999;62(7):1003-1005. View Abstract
Lee TH, Wang GJ, Lee CK, et al. Inhibitory effects of glycosides from the leaves of Melaleuca quinquenervia on vascular contraction of rats. Planta Med 2002;68(6):492-496. View Abstract
Lockhart C, Austin DF, Aumen NG. Water Level Effects on Growth of Melaleuca Seedlings from Lake Okeechobee (Florida, USA) Littoral Zone. Environ.Manage 1999;23(4):507-518. View Abstract
Moharram FA, Marzouk MS, El Toumy SA, et al. Polyphenols of Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves--pharmacological studies of grandinin. Phytother Res 2003;17(7):767-773. View Abstract
Mueller RS, Bettenay SV, Tideman L. Aero-allergens in canine atopic dermatitis in southeastern Australia based on 1000 intradermal skin tests. Aust Vet J 2000;78(6):392-399. View Abstract
Muller JF, Hawker DW, McLachlan MS, et al. PAHs, PCDD/Fs, PCBs and HCB in leaves from Brisbane, Australia. Chemosphere 2001;43(4-7):507-515. View Abstract
Nawawi A, Nakamura N, Hattori M, et al. Inhibitory effects of Indonesian medicinal plants on the infection of herpes simplex virus type 1. Phytother Res 1999;13(1):37-41. View Abstract
Oelrichs PB, MacLeod JK, Seawright AA, et al. Isolation and identification of the toxic peptides from Lophyrotoma zonalis (Pergidae) sawfly larvae. Toxicon 2001;39(12):1933-1936. View Abstract
Quimby PC Jr., DeLoach CJ, Wineriter SA, et al. Biological control of weeds: research by the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service: selected case studies. Pest Manag Sci 2003;59(6-7):671-680. View Abstract
Stablein JJ, Bucholtz GA, Lockey RF. Melaleuca tree and respiratory disease. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2002;89(5):523-530. View Abstract
Subehan Usia T, Iwata H, Kadota S, et al. Mechanism-based inhibition of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 by Indonesian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 5-24-2006;105(3):449-455. View Abstract
Wheeler GS, Massey LM, Southwell IA. Dietary influences on terpenoids sequestered by the biological control agent Oxyops vitiosa: effect of plant volatiles from different Melaleuca quinquenervia chemotypes and laboratory host species. J Chem Ecol 2003;29(1):189-208. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017