Physicochemical Properties

Reports of the physicochemical properties of cajuput oil are summarised in Table 2. Uses

Cajuput oil is classified as non-toxic (rodent LD50 of 2-5g/kg, Tisserand and Balacs 1995) and non-sensitizing, although skin irritation may occur at high concentrations (Lawless 1995).

Lassak and McCarthy (1983) described the medicinal uses of cajuput oil:

The oil is used internally for the treatment of coughs and colds, against stomach cramps, colic and asthma; the dose is one to five drops. It is used externally for the relief of neuralgia and rheumatism, often in the form of ointments and liniments. External application of a few drops on cotton wool for the relief of toothache and earache.

The oil is also reputed to have insect-repellent properties; it is a sedative and relaxant and is useful in treating worms, particularly roundworm, and infections of the genitourinary system. It is also used as a flavouring in cooking and as a fragrance and freshening agent in soaps, cosmetics, detergents and perfumes (Sellar 1992; Lawless 1995).

The antimicrobial constituents of cajuput oil have been identified as including 1,8-cineole, (-)-linalool, (-)-terpinen-4-ol, (l)-a-terpineol (Nguyen Duy Cuong et al. 1994) and 3,5-dimethyl-4,6-di-O-methylphloroacetophenone (or cajeputol) (Lowry 1973).

The use of platyphyllol and similar compounds as sunscreens, bactericides and fungicides has been patented (Joulain and Racine 1994).


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