In Puerto Rico, Malagueta is mistakenly called Eucalyptus. With the leaves of the Malagueta we prepare Alcoholado. However, it is very rare to see the Eucalyptus (Globulus) in Puerto Rico. Learn more about Malagueta and how to identify it
What is Malagueta?
Malagueta, also known as West Indian Bay, is a fairly common tree in Puerto Rico. It is grown for ornamental purposes or for using its aromatic leaves to make Alcoholado.
How do I identify it?
Malagueta grows up to 40 feet tall. It has a smooth trunk that comes off in strips like the Guava tree. You’re easily identifying it by the characteristic smell of alcolado when you crush the leaves in your hand. The aroma is composed of terpenes and has a clove-like fragrance. The leaves have a dark green color with a semi-bright tone.
More about Malagueta
The Malagueta tree is native to the Antilles. It belongs to the botanical family of the Myrtecae, a relative of guava and pepper. It is called West Indian Bay and its scientific name is Pimenta Racemosa. It blooms during winter and spring, fruits usually ripen during summer and autumn.
In addition, there is a variety of Malagueta with a refreshing lemon aroma.
A very close cousin of malagueta is the Pimienta Dulce tree (Pimenta dioica). It is known by many names such as Allspice, Jamaican Pepper and Pimienta Guayabita. Malagueta seeds are toxic but Allspice seeds are used as a seasoning in the kitchen.
¿ What’s it for?
In Puerto Rico, its leaves are used to prepare a traditional remedy for pains called Alcoholado Alcolado or Bay Rum. It is a mixture of alcohol, Malagueta leaves and natural extracts such as menthol and eucalyptus. It is used locally to relieve fever, muscle aches, insect bites and more. The best known commercial brand is Alcoholado Superior 70.
The essential oil, also called Bay Rum, is distilled from the leaves of the Malagueta tree. The oil has a very long shelf life. It is a fairly complex compound, with over 23 components. Making it difficult to synthesize in the lab. The island of Dominica is one of the largest exporters of the oil.
Essential oil is used for the manufacture of soaps, after shave and colonies such as “Bay Rum”.
“Bay Rum” is an after shave for men that is made from a combination of Malagueta oil, citrus oils and spices, alcohol and water.
The St. John’s Bay Rum is a cologne made in the American Virgin Islands for more than 70 years. It is prepared with a combination of Malagueta oil, eucalyptus, cloves and Caribbean spices creating a very popular masculine essence.
What is Eucalyptus?
The first thing that comes to mind is that it’s the Koalas’ favorite food. Second, the smell of Vick’s Vaporub.
Eucalyptus is one of the most popular oil in aromatherapy.
The oil is obtained from the leaves of a specific variety of eucalyptus. The scientific name for this variety is Eucalyptus Globulus. It is a tree native to Australia. But, it is very rare to see this species of Eucalyptus in Puerto Rico.
The tree that normally grows to a height of 140 feet. The bark is usually smooth, white to cream. Just like Malagueta you can easily identify it by characteristic Vick’s odor when you crush the leaves in your hand.
More about the Eucalyptus
There are more than 900 different varieties that exist of Eucalyptus. They are fast growing and have a long life. We can find eucalyptus trees all over the world.
In Puerto Rico you will find some varieties of Eucalyptus.
You identify it by its attractive rainbow-like multicolored bark. The eucalyptus deglupta is a large tree that can reach 200 feet in height, with trunk up to 6 feet in diameter. In Puerto Rico, it is grown for ornamental use.
The Eucalyptus Robusta is a large tree, up to 125 feet tall with a wide trunk up to 3 feet in diameter. The bark is thick with deep cracks.
The tree has round, fragrant, bluish-grey leaves. The cut stems are ideal for floral arrangements, wreaths and for decoration.
What’s it for?
Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the most well-known and used oils in the world. We use it for nasal congestion as the “Vicks” and when we are sore. That’s why Eucalyptus essential oil should be part of your first aid kit.
Handcrafted Soaps and Bath Products
Eucalyptus is widely used for its properties to relieve nasal congestion and muscle aches.
It is used to make handmade soaps,bath gel, massage oils and bath salts.
It is used in the industry for its wood, and crushed to produce paper.
You know how to identify Malagueta’s tree. Now you can find it and benefit from its multiple medicinal uses.