NIAOULI (Melaleuca viridiflora – Myrtaceae)
Melaleuca viridiflora is a variety of the tree which produced cajuput, and it grows principally in New Caledonia and Australia. Like M. leucadendron, it is evergreen, has a spongy bark which flakes off, linear, lanceolate leaves of an ash colour, and white flowers on a long spike. The leaves are extremely aromatic and the essential oil is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs. Niaouli oil is often called Gomenol, because distillation once took place near the port of Gomen in New Caledonia.
Like cajuput, it does not seem to have appeared in Europe until the seventeenth century, although it was very highly valued by the locals, who used it for reducing fever and healing wounds and considered it good for diarrhoea and rheumatism.
NIAOULI ESSENTIAL OIL
Description: This is very liquid, and is pale yellow which can become dark yellow (depending on the copper content of the soil, and which can be traced in the oil). It has a strong hot smell, very balsamic with a note of camphor. It is similar to cajuput in aroma and therapeutic properties.
The principal constituents: Eucalyptol (50 – 60 per cent) plus a few esters (butyric and isovalerianic), limonene, pinene and terpineol.
Niaouli is considered a strong antiseptic, and is prescribed by phytotherapists and aromatherapists for the urinary system (cystitis and leucorrhoea), and for pulmonary trouble (bronchitis, catarrh, runny or stuffy nose). Many people can tolerate it without suffering any side effects.
I always use niaouli oil in combination with other oils – especially eucalyptus, pine and myrtle – for pulmonary problems, respiratory problems, colds and ‘flu. An inhalation is best for the latter: fill a large bowl with hot water, add 2 drops niaouli, and 1 drop each of eucalyptus and myrtle, and inhale under a towel. Follow this with an oil rubbed on to the chest, sinus area, temple and nape of neck: mix 10 ml (2 tsp) soya oil, 5 drops niaouli, 2 drops eucalyptus and 1 drop myrtle.
For cystitis, leucorrhoea and irritations, niaouli is invaluable. When using the bidet, add 2 drops of niaouli and a few flakes of a natural, scent-free soap (or 15 ml [1 tbsp] sea salt). Then make an oil to rub on the stomach and lower back three to four times a day: mix 5 ml (1 tsp) soya oil and 5 drops niaouli. These two remedies can also be very helpful for women who have inflammation and cystitis after intercourse.
To protect against air-borne infections, make a room spray by mixing 300 ml (1/2 pint) warm water with 5 ml (1 tsp) niaouli in a spray bottle. This is particularly effective sprayed in public places like waiting rooms.
(See also catarrh, chest infections, dental abscess, dermatitis, fever, hayfever, headaches, neuralgia, pneumonia, sinusitis, stiffness, stings and bites and throat, sore.)
In France, many vets use niaouli essential oil on dogs: diluted with cooled boiled water it is effective on infected wounds and all skin irritations. It is also rubbed neat into rheumatic canine limbs.
I use niaouli on my two Persian cats, because they tend to have respiratory problems due to their flat noses. I brush them well, then after rubbing my hands with a little neat niaouli, I brush my hands over their fur, back, sides and front. This not only protects them from cat fleas, but helps them breathe, and builds up their immune systems.