Cajeput Oil, a volatile oil, distilled from the leaves of a small myrtaceous tree or shrub, found alone in the island of Booro in the Malay archipelago, a species of melaleuca named the cajuputi, though possibly it is the M. mi~ nor of De Candolle. The name is a corruption of the Malay designation of the oil, minyah kayu-'putih, " white wood oil," the latter words being written by the Dutch cajoeputi. The whiteness of the bark of the tree is the cause of the name given to the oil. It is in high repute, not only as a liniment, but as an internal remedy, among the different peoples of the archipelago, especially the Javanese. A few Chinese and Javanese traders of Batavia are the sole factors of the trade in cajeput. The leaves are gathered on a dry hot day, and being steeped in water they commence fermenting, and are then distilled. The quantity of oil obtained is small, and being extensively used by the Malays, it commands a very high price. It is imported in glass bottles, and as received is commonly of a fine green color, which has been attributed to the copper vessels in which it is prepared.
Copper has indeed been detected in some samples of it; but not always being found, the color is supposed by some to be the natural color of the oil, derived from the greenish principle or chlorophyll of the leaves. Whatever may be the cause, the color disappears on rectifying the oil. It is then a very thin fluid, transparent, of a warm, pungent taste, and an odor like that of camphor and turpentine mixed. It is soluble in alcohol, but only partially in water, burns readily without residue, and is of specific gravity 0.914 to 0.927. It is often adulterated with oil of turpentine and camphor, or oil of rosemary. It is used in medicine for its highly stimulant quality, either as an external application mixed with the same quantity of olive oil for gouty and rheumatic pains, or taken internally in cases of chronic rheumatism and spasmodic affections of the bowels. Some have highly recommended its use in cholera. It is introduced into the cavities of aching teeth, to relieve the pain.
Cajeput (Melaleuca cajuputi).