Oil of cajeput appears not to have been brought to Europe until the beginning of the 17. century, when the Dutch took possession of the Moluccas. The first accurate account of the source of this oil was given by the missionary Valentyn,12) and the merchant Georg Eberhard Rumpf of Hanau, both living in Amboina. The latter was an enthusiastic plant collector, and author of the first flora of the island Amboina.13) According to
1) Trommsdorffs Journ. der Pharm. 23, II (1814), 23.
2) Pfaff, System der Materia medica, 6 (1821), 433.
3) Journ. de Pharm. II. 13 (1827), 464 and 513; Poggendorffs Annalen 10 (1827), 609 and 611.
4) Liebig's Annalen 9 (1834), 68.
5) Ann. de Chim. et de Phys. II. 53 (1833), 165. - Liebig's Annalen 9 (1834), 68.
6) Liebig's Annalen 27 (1838), 155.
7) Ibidem 99 (1856), 242.
8) Ibidem 104 (1857), 202.
9) Ibidem 107 (1858), 238. 10) Ibidem 139 (1866), 95.
11) Zeitschr. f. Chemie 9 (1866), 95.
12) Verhandl. van der Geschiedenissen en Zaaken in Amboina. Vol.3, p. 193.
13) G. E. Rumphii Herbarium amboinense, plurimas complectens arbores frutices, herbas, plantas terrestres et aquaticas, quae in Amboina et adja-centibus reperiuntur insu/is . . . (Net Amboinsche Kruid boek). It was not until forty years after the death of Rumpf that this work was published by Johann Burmann, Professor of Botany in Amsterdam. It appeared during the years 1741 - 1755 in six folios with 587 plates. The reference to cajeput oil will be found in vol. 2, p. 72.
Rumpf's1) statement, the Malays and Javanese were acquainted with oil of cajeput long before the Moluccas, the Banda and the Sunda islands were taken possession of, and used it as a diaphoretic. In Europe, the oil at first appears to have found no application. The first notice of such is by the physician J. M. Lochner in Nurnberg, and by the apothecary joh. Heinr. Link in Leipzig. The former mentioned the oil in 1717,2) the latter had bought the oil about the same time as a novelty from the physician of a ship which had just returned from the East Indies.3) From this time on cajeput oil was used medicinally in Germany and was introduced into the apothecary shops4) and mentioned in price ordinances and in medical works. For some time, however, it remained rare and expensive5) and not until 1730 did larger quantities of the oil come into the European market via Amsterdam.6) In Germany, it was at first called Oleum Wittnebianum after a merchant E. H. Wittneben of Wolfenbiittel, who had lived several years in Batavia, and who, in German essays,7) had recommended the oil as a valuable remedial agent.
In France and in England oil of cajeput was not used until the beginning of the past century.
The first detailed account of the simple methods of distillation of cajeput oil used on the Moluccas, was given by the French traveler Labillardiere,8) who had visited the island of Buru in 1792. The use of copper stills and condensers gave rise to a green color due to a small amount of copper in the oil. The cause of this coloration was first detected by the apothecaries Hellwig1) in Stralsund in 1786, Joh. Friedr. Westrumb-) in Hameln in 1788, and Trommsdorff3) in Erfurt in 1795.4)
1) Rumphii Herbarium amboinense Vol. 2, chapt. 26. 2) Academies Natural. Curiosor. Ephemerides Centuri V, VI. Nurnberg 1717. p. 157.
3) Sammlung von Natur und Medizin, wie auch von Kunst- und Lite-raturgeschichten. Leipzig and Budissin. 1719. p. 257.
4) Fluckiger, Dokumente zur Geschichte der Pharmazie. 1876. pp. 88 and 90.
5) Abraham Vater, Catalogus variorum exoticorum rarissimorum. Witten-bergae 1726.
6) Schendus van der Beck, De Indiae rarioribus. Acta natural. Curiosor. Vol. 1. Appendix 1725. p. 123.
7) This designation was largely due to an erroneous statement in the Commercium litterarium published by I. C. Gotz in 1731 in Nurnberg. In it Wittneben is mentioned as discoverer of the oil of cajeput. This misstatement was not corrected until twenty years later in the dissertation of Martini, p. 178, footnote 4.
8) Travels in the East Indian Archipelago. London 1868. p. 282.