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Cajeput Information from 1848

1848 Cajeput Information

Chemical History.—Cajeput-oil is obtained from the leaves of M. minor, which are collected for the purpose in autumn, allowed to steep for a night in water, and then distilled in copper vessels. It is exported to Europe in green-glass bottles. It is a very liquid oil, which possesses a grass-green colour, a strong odour partaking both of camphor and of cardamom, and a corresponding taste, succeeded by an impression of coolness. The green colour is not essential, as it may be removed by distillation ; but it is not owing to copper as was once thought. The density of cajeput-oil varies from 914 to 927. It boils at 343°. When distilled, it yields first a colourless oil of the density 897° and then a green oil, denser, weaker in odour but more acrid. It is entirely soluble in alcohol. Sulphuric and nitric acids have little ac-tion on it. It is composed of 77.92 per cent, of carbon, 11.69 hydrogen, and 10.39 oxygen,—that is 10 equivalents of carbon, 9 hydrogen, and 1 oxygen (Blanchet).
Adulterations.—It is said to be often counterfeited, especially on the con-tinent; and the usual imitation consists of rosemary-oil distilled from camphor, bruised cardamom-seeds, and water. The best character of the genuine oil is that it burns entirely away without leaving any residue (Hagen). It is some-times adulterated with copper. This may be detected by a residuum being left after combustipn, which when dissolved in nitric acid, gives a violet solu-tion with ammonia added in excess.

Actions and Uses.—Cajeput oil is a powerful diffusive stimulant much esteemed in the islands of the Indian ocean as a topical remedy for rheumatism, and internally as a panacea for most maladies. It is a good antispasmodic in nervous diseases, especially hysteria. It had for a time in India and Europe a high reputation in malignant cholera; but it is not more effectual than other diffusive stimulants. Rumphius thought it a good sudorific.

Various names include: Cajeput, Cajuputi, Oleum Cajuputi, Essence de Cajeput, Cajeputol, Cajeputöl, L. Cajuputi Oleum, E. D. Vo-latile Oil Of The Leaves Of Melaleuca Cajuputi, Volatile Oil Of The Leaves Of Melaleuca Minor, Smith In Bees' Cyd., Melaleuca Leucadendron, Oil Of Cajeput, Huile De Cajeput, Cajaputcil, Melaleuca Leucadendron,

This information was taken from....

Christison and Griffith's Dispensatory 1848
(A Dispensatory or Commentary on the Pharmacopeias of Great Britan and the United States)
Lea and Blanchard publishers of Philadelphia