What is it?

Chemical abstract number: 187348-13-6
Australian Patent Number: 742711

Both the method of production and oil are patented.
Common name of the tree that the oil is derived from: Northern Australian Cypress Pine Australian Blue Cypress

The Name

Aboriginal names of the tree:

  • Karnitirrikani in Tiwi
  • Gangi/Lanapu in Djambarrpu
  • Munlark in Rembarrnga
  • Katanj in Jawony

Botanical Name: Callitris intratropica, Baker and Smith 1910
Holotype: Callitris columellaris F. Muell. 10/1855
Family: Cupressaceae
Plant part used:  Bark, Cambium, Sapwood and Heartwood.

Extraction Method

Steam or Water Distillation

The essential oil is distilled from chipped and hammer milled bark and woods of the tree, requiring a long distillation (up to 48 Hours).

Clear oil is produced if the heartwood is distilled by itself, containing clear Azulene compounds, which requires a separate National Industry Chemical Assessment to produce and is not covered by the registered Chemical abstract number.

The blue coloured guaiazulene is formed when the essential oil of the heart and sapwood touches the bark and a catalytic reaction occurs. The oil can be bluish green to dark blue depending on the percentage of bark to heart wood ratio. Guaiazulene is claimed as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti- pyretic and anti-allergenic similar to chamazulene. Australian blue cypress oil also contains eudesmol’s known for their anti-viral properties hence its reputation amongst aroma therapists for the topical treatment of Warts and Cold Sores.

The oil is only registered for cosmetic use.

When the oil is first produced it has a very high guaiol content (26% – 30%). The oil at this high guaiol percentage becomes a solid at temperatures below 18 Celsius. The crystallised guaiol is separated from the liquid by vacuum filtration to achieve levels as low as 11%.

The bark and cambium contains around 85% alpha Pinene. To achieve lower levels of alpha Pinene the first hours of the distillation parts are drawn off. Or alternatively the logs and or woodchip are left and the volatile alpha Pinene is expended to the atmosphere. The modified oil is primarily a “base” note and has a sweet woody, balsamic and herbaceous aroma. It is an excellent perfume fixative that blends well with other woody notes, citrus and ‘green’ aromas.

It's Origin

The genus name, Callitris, is derived from the Greek calli (beautiful) and treis (three) in reference to the triangular shape of the scale –like needles that are arranged in whorls of three.

Callitris intratropica is native to Australia and grows in the Northern Territory (including Melville and Bathurst, Indian and other islands), the Kimberly region of Western Australia and, Cape York to Bowen in Queensland. Its range of altitude is from near sea level up to 900 metres. The tree usually grows in open forest but also found in heath forest, vine thickets, monsoon forest and on rain forest edges. Callitris intratropica is a medium to large sized tree, from 15 to 45 metres in height. The timber is very aromatic, resistant to termites and is known in modern times by aboriginals of Arnhem Land as “Kerosene Tree” because of its flammability, and “Mosquito and Sand fly tree” because of its effect on repelling these insects while being burnt and is mainly used in the wet season.

Callitris intratropica can live for over 200 years, although the population of Callitris intratropica has declined significantly since European settlement, because of over exploitation and the change in fire regimes and the introduction of grasses that burn with a greater intensity than the native grasses.

Callitris intratropica supplied by Australian Blue Cypress is produced from plantation grown timber on the mainland of the Northern Territory, close to Darwin.