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Melaleuca alternifolia

Melissa officinalis
Mentha x piperita
Murraya paniculata


 

 

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Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden and Betche) Cheel (Myrtaceae)

Synonyms
No information available.

Local names
Australian tea tree, tea tree

Description
A narrow-leaved tree not exceeding 6 m. Entire plant glabrous; leaves alternate. Flowers scattered in an interrupted spike; stamens more than 12mm long united at their bases to form 5 distinct bundles; capsule persisting within fruiting hypanthium

Plant material used
essential oil

Chemical assays
Contains not less than 30% (w/w) of terpinen-4-ol (4-terpineol) and not more than 15% (w/w) of 1,8-cineole (also known as cineol, cineole or eucalyptol). The oil must contain: not less than 3.5% sabine; 1–6% α-terpinene; 10–28% γ-terpinene; 0.5–12.0% p-cymene; not less than 30% terpinen-4-ol; and 1.5–8.0% a-terpineol, as measured by gas chromatography

Major chemical constituents
The major constituents are terpinen-4-ol (29–45%), g-terpinene (10–28%), a-terpinene (2.7–13.0%) and 1,8-cineole (4.5–16.5%). Other mono-terpenes present in significant quantities (1–5%) include a-pinene, limonene, p-cymene and terpinolene.

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
Topical application for symptomatic treatment of common skin disorders such as acne, tinea pedis, bromidrosis, furunculosis, and mycotic onychia (onychomycosis), and of vaginitis due to Trichomonas vaginalis or Candida albicans, cystitis and cervicitis.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
As an antiseptic and disinfectant for the treatment of wounds.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Symptomatic treatment of burns, colitis, coughs and colds, gingivitis, impetigo, nasopharyngitis, psoriasis, sinus congestion, stomatitis and tonsillitis

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Antimicrobial

Human studies
Vaginitis and cervicitis, Cystitis, Acne, Foot problems

Toxicology
The dermal median lethal dose (LD50) of the essential oil in rabbits is >5.0mg/kg body weight, since 5.0mg/kg resulted in the deaths of two out of 10 treated rabbits. The oral LD50 in rats is 1.9g/kg body weight (range of doses 1.4– 2.7 g/kg). The signs of severe toxicity are respiratory distress, and coma with diarrhoea. A few cases of toxicosis after topical application of high doses of the essential oil to dogs and cats have been reported. Symptoms included central nervous system depression, weakness, and lack of coordination and muscle tremors that were resolved within 2–3 days after supportive treatment

Contraindications
Aetheroleum Melaleucae Alternifoliae is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants of the Myrtaceae family.

Warnings
Not for internal use. Keep out of reach of children (see Adverse reactions).

Precautions
General
No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning drug interactions; drug and laboratory test interactions; carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility; teratogenic and non-teratogenic effects in pregnancy; nursing mothers; or paediatric use. Therefore, Aetheroleum Melaleucae Alternifoliae should not be administered during pregnancy or lactation or to children without medical supervision.

Adverse reactions
Allergic contact dermatitis after external application and ingestion of Aetheroleum Melaleucae Alternifoliae has been reported. No adverse reactions were reported in two patch tests using preparations containing up to 5% essential oil (45, 46). Accidental ingestion of 10 ml essential oil caused confusion, disorientation and loss of coordination in a 23-month-old child. Ingestion of 2.5 ml essential oil by a 60-year-old man resulted in a severe rash and a general feeling of malaise. Induction of a comatose state lasting 12 hours, followed by 36 hours of a semi-conscious state accompanied by hallucinations, was reported in one patient after ingestion of approximately half a cup (120 ml) of the essential oil. Abdominal pain and diarrhoea lasting up to 6 weeks were also reported.

Dosage forms
Essential oil. Store in a well-filled, airtight container, protected from heat and light.

Posology
(Unless otherwise indicated)
External application of the essential oil at concentrations of 5–100%, depending on the skin disorder being treated

 

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