Melaleuca leucadendra (L.) L.

Last updated: 26 May 2016

Scientific Name

Melaleuca leucadendra (L.) L.


Cajuputi leucadendron (L.), A.Lyons Leptospermum leucodendron (L.) J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Meladendron leucocladum St.-Lag. Melaleuca amboinensis Gand. Melaleuca leucadendra var. angusta C.Rivière Melaleuca leucadendra var. cunninghamii F.M.Bailey, Melaleuca leucadendra var. lancifolia F.M.Bailey, Melaleuca leucadendra var. mimosoides (A.Cunn. ex Schauer) Cheel, Melaleuca mimosoides A.Cunn. ex Schauer, Melaleuca rigida Roxb., Metrosideros coriacea K.D.Koenig & Sims Myrtus alba Noronha, Myrtus leucadendra L., Myrtus saligna Burm.f. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Gelam, kayu puteh [2]
English Cajeput, cajeput oil, cajeput tree [2], long-leaved paperbark, broadleaved paperbark, broad-leaved tea-tree, river tea-tree, weeping tea-tree [3]
China Bai qian ceng [2]
Indonesia Cajeput, gelam, minjak kaju putih [2].

Geographical Distributions

No documentation

Botanical Description

Melaleuca leucadendra is a family member of Myrtaceae. The tree is growing upwards of 20 m tall and has a flexible trunk. The bark is thin, white and papery. The flowers are off-whitish and the weeping leaves are the source of the essential oil. The fruit are in cup-shaped capsules along branches. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

M. leucadendra has been reported to contain terpenic oxides: 1, 8 cineole (40-60%),
terpenic alcohols, α terpineol (10-15%), α and β pinenes, limonene (17%),
sesquiterpenols: viridiflorol (15%), nerolidol (5-7%). [4][5][6][7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves [2]

Traditional Use

The essential oil of M. luecadendra has been used as inhalation therapies for respiratory. The extract form the bark has been used for cold symptom and body wash. [8]

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

An in vitro test found M. leucadendron essential oil and its chemical constituents to have beneficial antibacterial activity. This activity was potentiated when combined with known antibiotics, and showed promise in antibacterial topical applications. [6]

The hydrodistillation of M. leucadendron showed antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans and Trichophyton mentagrophyte. [9]

Insect Repellant activity

M. leucadendron essential oil was tested with two additional oils against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  All three essential oils showed some level of repellency. [10] In a separate study, this essential oil also was protective against three types of mosquitoes, including the Yellow Fever mosquito for 8 hours on human skin. [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


Although this plant has been shown to be non-allergenic, some people do report allergic rhinitis. [12]

Side effects

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Melaleuca leucadendron L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 26]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 90.
  3. Nico M. Trees for saltland: A guide to selecting native species for Australia. Australia: CSIRO, 1995; p. 5
  4. Farag RS, Shalaby AS, El-Baroty GA, Ibrahim NA, Ali MA, Hassan EM. Chemical and biological evaluation of the essential oils of different Melaleuca species. Phytother Res. 2004;18(1):30-35.
  5. Lee CK. A new norlupene from the leaves of Melaleuca leucadendron. J Nat Prod. 1998;61(3):375-376.
  6. Jedlicková Z, Mottl O, Serý V. Antibacterial properties of the Vietnamese cajeput oil and ocimum oil in combination with antibacterial agents. J Hyg Epidemiol Microbiol Immunol. 1992;36(3):303-309.
  7. Ajai K, Tandon S. Chemical composition of the essential oil from fresh leaves of Melaleuca leucadendron L. from North India. J Essent Oil Bear Pl. 2013;8(1):19-22
  8. Iqbal R. Phytotherapies: Efficacy, safety, and regulation. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2015; p.113
  9. Lohakachornpan P, Rangsipanuratn W. Chemical compositions and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from Melaleuca leucadendron var. minor. Thai J Pharma Sci. 2001;25(3-4):133-139.
  10. Noosidum A. Prabaripai A, Chareonviriyaphap T, Chandrapatya A. Excito-repellency properties of essential oils from Melaleuca leucadendron L., Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Persoon and Litsea salicifolia (Nees) on Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquitoes. J Vector Ecol. 2008 ;33(2):305-312.
  11. Amer A, Mehlhorn H. Repellency effect of forty-one essential oils against Aedes, Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes. Parasitol Res. 2006; 99(4):478-490.
  12. Stablein JJ, Bucholtz GA, Lockey RF. Melaleuca tree and respiratory disease. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002; 89(5):523-530.