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Cajeput essential oil is made from distilled leaves and branches of cajeput trees. A subtype of the melaleuca tree, cajeput is indigenous to tropical regions in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Cajeput also goes by the names of cajuput, kajuput, melaleuca cajuputi, and minyak kayu putih.

The oil is primarily known for its antiseptic and analgesic qualities. It’s also considered an anti-inflammatory, which is sometimes used to help treat minor skin wounds, colds, and inflammatory skin diseases.

Despite its use as a natural product, cajeput oil can be as strong as traditional medication. Like all essential oils, it should be diluted in a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. It may also be dangerous for some people.

Learn more about the uses for cajeput oil and precautions before trying this essential oil yourself.

Like other essential oils, cajeput oil isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s important to carefully weigh any purported benefits of cajeput with the available research. Here’s what we know so far.

Cajeput oil for your skin

Cajeput oil has primarily been established for being an antiseptic. Older research suggests it has antibacterial qualities, which could make the oil beneficial for minor cuts and scratches to help prevent infection. It may also have antifungal and antiviral effects on the skin.

While not well-established, cajeput may also have anti-inflammatory effects to help with skin conditions like psoriasis and acne.

Cajeput oil for hair

The medicinal qualities of cajeput oil are also promoted in hair care. Scalp care and hair growth may be two of these benefits. However, there’s a lack of evidence proving that cajeput can treat hair loss or any scalp condition.

Other purported benefits

Cajeput oil is also promoted in various natural health outlets as helpful for the following conditions:

Still, there’s not enough scientific evidence to support any of these uses. Talk to a doctor before using the cajeput oil for any medicinal purposes.

While researchers worldwide continue to test possible vaccines for COVID-19, there are some looking at other possible measures for preventing infection with the new coronavirus.

One 2020 study looked at the possibility of using cajeput oil to help prevent developing COVID-19. Researchers cited the oil’s established antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties as the source of their interest in studying cajeput for this virus specifically.

The researchers then took extracts of cajeput oil to see how it would react in human proteins that are commonly attacked by this type of coronavirus.

The results of the study revealed “strong” inhibitory activity. However, cajeput oil wasn’t conclusively shown to prevent the new coronavirus from entering the body.

Additional studies are needed to help determine how people could take cajeput oil in such a manner, and how any potential effects could vary across different age groups and demographics.

It’s important to follow the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on COVID-19 prevention, such as physical distancing, washing your hands, wearing facial coverings, and disinfecting surfaces.

You may want to supplement your prevention strategy with essential oils, but don’t replace proven measures with essential oils and other alternative methods that need further clinical studies and human trials.

Eucalyptus oil is a better known essential oil. Cajeput oil has a similar scent to eucalyptus, which has a strong medicinal aroma.

Both are also used topically for antiseptic and analgesic purposes.

Eucalyptus oil has also been clinically studied to help with coughs and colds, whereas more studies need to be conducted to prove the safety and efficacy of cajeput oil for the same purposes.

Trying to decide between cajeput and eucalyptus oils? Both have similar effects and benefits, but eucalyptus is more widely available.

While considered natural, cajeput oil can still cause side effects similar to other types of essential oils. Symptoms may include:

  • skin rash
  • redness
  • irritation
  • burning
  • hives

If using topically on your skin and hair, it’s important to dilute cajeput with a carrier oil first. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends the following for topical use: Start with three to six drops per ounce of carrier oil. If you don’t have sensitive skin, you can gradually increase this amount up to 15 drops.

You should also conduct a patch test before using cajeput oil on your skin or hair. To do this, test a diluted portion of the oil on the inside of your elbow and wait up to 48 hours. If you develop an allergic reaction, discontinue use.

Use caution when using cajeput in aromatherapy. Avoid direct inhalation, as this oil is strong enough to possibly cause or worsen breathing problems. You should also keep in mind who else might be inhaling this oil. Some essential oils are dangerous for pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and pets.

It’s also possible for cajeput oil to cause drug interactions. If you currently take any prescription or over-the-counter medications, talk to a doctor before using cajeput.

When properly diluted and tested for allergic reactions, cajeput oil may be safely used for your hair and skin. Don’t take essential oils by mouth.

For skin care

Once you’ve conducted a patch test, you may apply diluted cajeput oil on a larger area of skin. You can apply it directly to minor wounds, scratches, and rashes. Another option is to add a few drops to an ounce of body lotion.

For hair

You can also use diluted cajeput oil for hair in the same way you would for skin application. Another option is to add several drops of the essential oil to your shampoo before massaging it into your scalp.

In aromatherapy

While directly inhaling cajeput oil from the bottle isn’t advised, you may consider diffusing the oil for aromatherapy. You may find temporary relief from congestion and headaches, but it’s unclear whether aromatherapy can have significant effects on pain and inflammation in this way.

Cajeput oil is available in health stores, natural food grocers, and online.

Shop for cajeput oil online.

Cajeput oil is used in alternative medicine for issues like wounds, colds, and inflammation. Like other essential oils, cajeput is unlikely to cause harm when used as aromatherapy, but it may cause adverse reactions when directly inhaled or used topically on your skin or scalp. Talk to a doctor before using it.