The almost mythical sounding Araucaria is a needle tree endemic to New Caledonia. As it is not unusual, online searches offer different botanical names likely referring to the identical plant. Disclosure: The above image is not from an Araucaria tree from New Caledonia, but from a very similar looking species from South America.
Araucaria oil is described in Steffen Arctander’s classic “Perfume and Flavour Materials of Natural Origin.” In his time the tree Neocallitropsis pancheri grew abundantly in New Caledonia. Today it is on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) list.
Its composition is unique as it contains sizeable proportions of alpha, beta and gamma eudesmol. The eudesmol sesquiterpenes give the oil a powerful fixative character. Arctander describes it as delicately woody, rich and sweet, almost floral like nerolidol or Cabreuva oil. Mandy Aftel attributes a creamy tea-rose aroma to the oil. As often in aromatherapy the captivating fragrance is connected to health benefits. In a Brazilian study, the antitumor activity of α-, β-, and γ-eudesmol was determined. The scientists concluded that α-, β-, and γ-eudesmol possess significant antitumor activity and have only low systemic toxicity. While originally determined in essential oil of Guatteria friesiana they concluded that the effects could be attributed to its eudesmol components.
In “Essential Oil Safety” Tisserand and Young quote studies which find that eudesmol inhibited the growth of human liver cancer cells and suppressed hepatoma and sarkoma growth in mice. While common sense will have it that it would be a gross exaggeration to use this oil in and of itself as a treatment for tumors, the same common sense and the collective experience of the aromatherapy community suggest that using this oil may have benefits that are difficult to measure precisely, but are nonetheless substantial
Origin: New Caledonia
Botanical: Neocallitropsis pancheri
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