Paperbark tree

Family • Myrtaceae - Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake - CAJEPUT OIL TREE - Bai shu yu

Scientific names

Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake
Melaleuca leucadendron var. angustifolia L. f.
Melaleuca maidenii R. T. Baker
Melaleuca smithii R. T. Baker
Metrosideros quinquenervia Cav.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Bai shu yu
SANSKRIT: Kayaputi.

Common names

Paperback tree (Baguio, Engl.)
Cajeput tree (Engl.)
Cajeput oil tree (Engl.)
Bottlebrush tree (Engl.)
Punktree (Engl.)
Five-veined paperbark (Engl.)
Melaleuca (Engl.)

Melaleuca is of Greek origin, meaning “black and white,” referring to the white bark that is often charred by fire.

Paperbark tree

Melaleuca is a tree growing to 10 meters or more, with a dense narrow crown, a stout, often twisted trunk. Bark is spongy and corky and peels off in thin layers. Branches are pendulous. Leaves are thin, leathery, alternate, lanceolate, up to 7 centimeters long, 1.5 centimeters wide, 5-nerved, short-petioled, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are finely hairy, white, in dense spikes, up to 6 centimeters long, emits an unpleasant, musty odor. Fruit is small and greyish-brown with a narrow groove around the top surrounding a small, crater-like cup marked with 5 radial grooves.

– Recently introduced to the Philippines.
– Cultivated and planted along streets in Baguio and Manila.
– Rare elsewhere in the Philippines.
– Found in Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Hawaii, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Caledonia Island, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T Blake / Melaleuca / T. F. Geary and S. L. Woodall

(2) Constituents of Melaleuca quinquenervia Cav. Grown in Egypt / M A Abdel-Alim, F A Moharram et al / Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants, Vol 5, Issue 2 January 1998 , pages 29 – 37 / DOI: 10.1300/J044v05n02_05

(3) Development of pheromone-based trapping for the Melaleuca quinquenervia biological control agent, Oxyops vitiosa / G S Wheeler /

(4) Polyphenols of Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves – pharmacological studies of grandinin / Moharram F A,, Marzouk M S et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research, 2003, vol. 17, no7, pp. 767-773

(5) Occurrence of various chemotypes in niaouli [Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake] essential oil from New Caledonia / Benedicte Trilles et al / Flavour and Fragrance Journal,Vol 21 Issue 4, Pages 677 – 682

(6) In vitro anti-microbial activity of the Cuban medicinal plants Simarouba glauca DC, Melaleuca leucadendron L and Artemisia absinthium L / Aymé Fernández-Calienes ValdésI, Judith Mendiola Martínez et al / Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.103 no.6 Rio de Janeiro Sept. 2008

(7) A New Norlupene from the Leaves of Melaleuca leucadendron / Lee CK / J Nat Prod. 1998 Mar 27;61(3):375-6.

(8) Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T.Blake is an accepted name / Synonyms / The Plant List

(9) Etymology / 96. Turner, C. E.; Center, T. D.; Burrows, D. W.; Buckingham, G. R. 1998. Ecology and management of Melaleuca quinquenervia, an invader of wetlands in Florida, U.S.A. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 5(3): 165-178. [53483]

Paperbark tree5Paperbark tree3

– Melaleuca oil is distilled from fresh leaves and twigs.
– The leaves yield cajeput oil which contains 45 to 56 % cineol, esters of butteric, valerianic and acetic acids, dl-pinene, valeral, butril, benzaldehydes, l-linalool, etc.
– The essential oil concentration in leaves is relatively high, about 1-3% of fresh mass. Among the 150 compounds present in M. quinquenervia foliage, 5-10 constitute more than 95% of the solvent-extractable terpenoids. Of these, 1,8-cineole, a-pinene, limonene, trans-nerolidol, b-caryophyllne and viridiflorol constitute the major terpenoids in the leaves.
– In one study, Niaouli essential oils were classified into three chemotypes: Chemotype 2, rich in 1,8-cineole (up to 80%); C1, rich in terpinene derivatives; , and C3 rich in a-pinene and viridiflorol.
– Indonesian study on leaf oils showed the presence of 26 compounds,1,8-cineole (44.76–60.19%), α-terpineol (5.93–12.45%), d(+)-limonene (4.45–8.85%), and β-caryophyllene (3.78–7.64%) were the major components.
– Study of leaves yielded a new lupane-type nortriterpene, 28-norlup-20(29)-ene-3beta,17beta-diol, and 13 known compounds, (2E,6E)-farnesol, phytol, squalene, alloaromadendrene, ledene, palustrol, viridiflorol, ledol, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid, 3beta-acetyl-lup-20(29)-en-28-oic acid, 3-oxolup-20(29)-en-28-oic acid, and platanic acid.

Paperbark tree4

Oil considered anesthetic, carminative, antispasmodic, sudorific, stimulant, rubefacient.

Parts used
Oil, bark.

In New Caledonia, tea is made from the leaves.

– In eastern Malaysia, the bark, softened by mastication, is applied to suppurating wounds to draw out the pus.
– In Sarawak, the bark is used with Hydrocotyle leaves on festering wounds, also to draw out pus.
– Oil used externally as a parasiticide and as anthelmintic.
– In Malaysia, oil is used externally for headaches, toothaches, earaches, rheumatism, cramps and fresh wounds.
– In European medicine, oil is used as a sudorific and vermifuge.
– In Cuba, extracts used as analgesic and antimalarial.
– Oil used for rheumatism and neuralgia.
– Oil used in dental caries, as anodyne; as eardrops for earaches; and locally, for ptyriasis, psoriasis and eczema.
– Oil also used as counterirritant, rubbed over the chest in bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurodynia, pleuritis.
– Oil may be mixed with mustard oil as an anodyne liniment.
– On unbroken skin, oil is stimualnt and rubefacient.
– Oil is a domestic remedy for all muscular pains.
– Oil taken internally as a powerful stimulant, carminative and antispasmodic; given in choleric diarrhea.
– Oil considered a powerful sudorific.

Paperbark tree2

• Wood: Not a traditional timber product because of a high bark-to-wood ratio. However, the wood may be used as pulp and cabinetry, and make a fine firewood. The papery bark is used by the Malays for caulking their boats.
• Repellent: Oil makes an excellent mosquito repellent.
• Fuel: Entire tree can be used as biomass fuel, but not ideal because of its powdery, low-density bark.

Study Findings
• Phytochemical Screening: Study of the leaf and stem of MQ yielded hydrocarbons, fatty acids, cholesterol, stigmasterol, b-sitosterol, oleanic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, quercetrin and saponin glycosides.
• Polyphenols and Ellagitannins / Grandinin / Antioxidant / Hypoglycemic: Study isolated four polyphenolic acid derivatives and three ellagitannins from the leaves of MQ for the first time. One of the 7, grandinin, showed radical scavenging properties, found to be nontoxic, and to have a significant dose-dependent hypoglycemic effect in STZ-induced diabetic mice. Grandinin also reduced the elevated BUN and serum lipid peroxides.
• Allergenicity: Study was done to determine if Melaleuco quinquenervia tree is a source of allergen and respiratory irritant. Results indicate the Melaleuca tree is not a significant source of aeroallergen and the Melaleuca odor is not a respiratory irritant.
• Antimalarial: Study showed M. leucadendron to have in vitro activity against Plasmodium falcifarum and marginal activity in vivo against Plasmodium berghei.
• Antimicrobial: An extensive Cuban study on in vitro antimicrobial profiling of three medicinal plants, Simarouba glauca, Melaleuca leucadendron and Artemisia absinthium, was tested for their antiprotozoal potential against Trypanosoma b. brucei, T. cruzi, Leishmania infantum and Plasmodium falcifarum, antifungal activity against Microsporum canis and Candida albicans, and antibacterial activity against E coli and S aureus. Only M. leucadendron extract showed selective activity against all the microorganisms tested.

Extracts and oil in the cybermarkets.