Melaleuca ericifolia (Swamp Paperbark) is a shrub or small tree, belonging to the Myrtaceae family and is native to Australia. The small tree or bush will grow to a height of between 2 to 9 meters and has a pale papery bark. It has dark green linear leaves and its white flower spikes appear from October to November, which are followed by woody capsules. In 1797, the English botanist, James Edward Smith, was first to formally describe this in Transactions of the Linnean Society of London from material collected in New South Wales. Melaleuca ericifolia occurs beside creeks, in coastal swamps and behind sand dunes along the coast to Northern New South Wales, Southern Victoria and Northern Tasmania.
The essential oil is steam distilled from the aerial parts of the plant i.e. leaves and small stems and its major chemical constituent is the alcohol linalool, which occurs in the range of 35 – 55%. The next major ingredient is the oxide 1,8-cineole, which is found in a range of between 18 – 26 %. In his book, Bush Sense, Mark Webb says that :
The essential oil of M. ericifolia is similar to that of M. alternifolia except that the major constituent is linalool and not terpinene-4-ol, this makes the oil more pleasant smelling and less irritant on young skin.
He also says that, he has found from personal experience, that Rosalina is a very good local anaesthetic for insect bites and tooth ache, numbing only the area to which is was applied, unlike clove which has the tendency to spread, numbing a much larger area.
In his book, Natural Home Health Care using Essential Oils, Daniel Penoel says:
Because of the significant presence of 1,8-cineole, we can deduct that Rosalina oil will be helpful in treating the respiratory system, especially for infections of the upper respiratory system. For children who are prone to ENT infections, Rosalina is a good choice, either by itself of in a synergistic blend that will reinforce its action.
He also suggests that because of the high linalool content in this oil, it will be soothing to the nerves, calming and might even be sleep-inducing. Interestingly enough, both my grandchildren really like Rosalina and when they come to visit, they always remind Nana, that they want their “own special smelly cotton ball” to take to bed with them.
Penoel also suggest that Rosalina can be used on a more energetic basis for the Heart, Throat and Third Eye Chakras. As this is a relatively new oil that we are still finding out about, one could look at the Doctrine of Signatures to try and figure out some other
possible spiritual uses for this oil.
The doctrine of signatures is a philosophy shared by herbalists from the time of Dioscurides and Galen. Simply stated is says that looking at the plant, its shape, where is grows, how it grows, its name can all give one indications of what and where on the body that plant could be used for. The concept was developed by Paracelsus and published in his writings. The doctrine of signatures was further spread by the writings of Jakob Böhme (1575 – 1624), who suggested that God marked objects with a sign, or “signature”, for their purpose. For instance, a plant bearing parts that resembled human body parts, animals, or other objects had useful relevance to those parts, animals or objects. The “signature” may also be identified in the environments or specific sites in which plants grew.
An example of this might be to look at where Melaleuca ericifolia Smith likes to grow, along creeks, in coastal swamps and behind sand dunes and its name, Swamp Paperbark. From this we might consider using Rosalina for people who are ‘water-logged’ physically or emotionally.