Tea Tree oil: funny name with big benefits. Tea Tree oil is from the leaves of the Australian native tree Melaleuca alternifolia. In addition to fighting bacteria, it also is known to address fungus, yeast, and certain viruses. It is added to many personal hygiene care products from shampoo to diaper rash creams.
You can either buy the oil in its pure form and add it to other products, or buy the products with the oil already added to it. There are many different varieties of tea tree oil available so you need to buy from a source you are familiar with in order to get the truly beneficial type. Brand does matter. My favorite is a brand called Thursday Plantation, which is standardized to 36% terpinen-4-ol, the active ingredient in Melaleuca alternifolia.
Many people add a drop first to carrier oil such as almond or olive oil and then place it on the skin.
Here is a partial list of the many ways to use the oil:
- 1 drop on a Q-tip for mouth sores, toothaches, or bleeding gums; apply after dental procedures to reduce swelling and fight possible bacterial infection
- 3-4 drops neet or within a carrier oil massaged into feet and/or toes for fungal infections; this must be applied daily in order to see long term effects, but it has no adverse affect on the liver as certain other medications do
- or, use 15-20 drops in a small bucket of warm water – soak one foot at a time
- 1-2 drops on a cotton ball applied to an insect bite (especially fire ants!)
- 2-3 drops on a cotton ball applied to jewelry piercings
- 1-2 drops on a Q-tip applied to acne breakouts; will not overly dry skin and induce further production of oil
- 2-3 drops added to a squirt of shampoo will help ease itchy scalp
Tea tree soap is anti-bacterial but without stripping and adversely affecting the body’s naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties as over-the-counter soaps do
Tea tree oil is one of nature’s most wonderful gifts and studies are ongoing around the world. To quote the students from the University of Western Australia,
“Since the early 1990s, research on the medicinal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) has been conducted by a group of scientists in Microbiology within the School of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences. The primary aim of the group is to investigate and characterise the medicinal properties of tea tree oil, in particular the antimicrobial properties. So far the group has shown that tea tree oil has broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. While the in vitro work is continuing, in vivo studies have commenced. These studies are critical if tea tree oil is to be accepted as a topical antimicrobial agent.”
Nothing on this page is intended to suggest, diagnose, or treat illness or disease.