Melaleuca viridiflora is a native of Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia and belongs to the same family as Tea Tree and Cajeput. The tree is evergreen with distinctive pointed leaves and charming fluffy spikes of yellow/white flowers. The young leaves and twigs are steamed to extract an oil that has a sweet, fresh, camphorous smell. Like its relatives, Niaouli has disinfectant and astringent properties and helps to fight a range of infections.
At this time of year Niaouli is most useful as a decongestant and expectorant, helping to break up congestion in the nasal passages, lungs and bronchi. Its antiviral and immune boosting properties make it an important oil in the treatment of colds and flu, particularly for children as it is a softer, gentler version of Tea Tree. Use the oil in an inhalation; add 2/3 drops to hand hot water in a bowl, cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
Niaouli is also useful for washing out wounds and ulcers to control infection and promote tissue regeneration. Try using it on a compress, add 2/3 drops of the oil to a bowl of tepid water, swish, then soak a cotton cloth in the water, wring out and apply to the wound. Repeat regularly through the day.
Niaouli oil is stimulating to both mind and body; increasing concentration, clearing the head and lifting the spirits. The sharp aroma of Niaouli clears unwanted thoughts from the mind and enhances focus, a quality that makes it a useful aid to meditation.