Continuing on with the Under the Radar series, today we will be speaking looking at Niaouli Essential Oil, botanically known as Melaleuca viridiflora, and sometimes called broad-leafed paperbark. The essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and twigs of this small tree, which is native to woodlands, swamps, and streams of Australia, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea.
The tree's leaves are thick, elliptic, and aromatic. Its flowers are cream, yellow, or yellow-green spikes. the fruits have numerous fine seeds and woody capsules. The bark is papery, hence its nickname, and it is peeled off in layers and used for many purposes. The Aborigines made/make great use of this tree bark, including making bedding, shelter, containers, storage, boats, fish traps, fire tinder, and even wrapping corpses. Medicinally, they made an infusion from the leaves and drunk it, inhaled it, or used it in a bath to treat coughs, colds, congestion, headaches, fever and the flu In fact, many still do.
While this tree and its EO are still used to treat colds and respiratory issues, it is also used quite a bit in perfumery. It is considered a middle note, and has a sweet, fresh, camphoraceous odor. It possesses analgesic, anticatarrhal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, cicatrizant, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, and vermifuge properties. Because of its cineol content, niaouli oil will produce an expectorant action, which makes it very useful in cases of respiratory congestion such as; bronchitis, coughs, colds, sinusitis and the flu. Additionally, this EO is beneficial when making remedies for; acne, asthma, boils, burns, catarrhal conditions, cuts, cystitis, fever, insect bites, muscular aches and pains, oily skin, poor circulation, rheumatism, sore throat, ulcers, urinary infection, and wounds.
It is generally considered a safe EO, without any special warnings. So the next time you are looking to expand your EO pantry, try some Niaouli oil! Just exercise caution. In the early 1900's many trees were imported to Florida under this name, but were later found to be a different cultivar. So when purchasing this EO, as when buying any EO, make your purchases from reputable companies and check the origin. If it is not from Australia or Madagascar, the largest producing countries, steer away from it.