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Melaleuca quinquenervia CT ‘Niaouli’, commonly known as broad-leaved paperbark or the paper bark tea tree, is a small- to medium-sized tree of the allspice family, Myrtaceae. The plant is native to New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and coastal eastern Australia, from Botany Bay in New South Wales northwards, into Queensland and the Northern Territory. The broad-leaved paperbark grows as a spreading tree up to 20 m high, with the trunk covered by a white, beige and grey thick papery bark. The grey-green leaves are ovate and the cream or white bottlebrush-like flowers appear from late spring to autumn. Niaouli has multiple uses, and was widely used traditionally by indigenous Australians. A brew was made from the bruised young aromatic leaves to treat colds, headaches and general sickness. Indigenous people grabbed fresh leaves of the tree and wrapped them around affected areas of the body. The paper-like bark was used traditionally for making coolamons, shelter, wrapping baked food and lining ground ovens. The nectar is extracted traditionally by washing in coolamons of water which is subsequently consumed as a beverage.
The therapeutic properties of niaouli oil are analgesic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, bactericidal, balsamic, cicatrisant, decongestant, expectorant, febrifuge, insecticide, a stimulant, vermifuge and vulnerary. Niaouli oil is extracted from the fresh leaves and tender twigs by steam distillation. Niaouli oil helps to increase concentration and clears the head, while lifting the spirits. As a disinfectant, niaouli oil is valuable for washing wounds to clear up ulcers, acne, blemishes, boils, burns, cuts, insect bites, as well as acting as a decongestant on oily skin. It has an earthy, fresh, minty aroma.