Tea tree oil is steam distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. This indigenous tree is found only in tropical northeastern New South Wales, Australia. The name tea tree was given to the tree by Captain Cook during his exploration of Australia during the 1700s. After running out of tea on his voyage, he found a fragrant plant and brewed the leaves into a spicy beverage, and named these plants tea trees.
Tea tree is both powerful and safe. It is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. The Aboriginal people of New South Wales have used the tea tree plant medicinally for thousands of years. In the early 1900s, tea tree was readily used by dentists and surgeons as a disinfectant and for incisions. Dentists also used tea tree for gingivitis, bleeding gums, and infection. During World War II tea tree was included in the first aid kits of medics. It was poured on wounds to prevent infection. It was also used very successfully to heal wounds that were already infected. Medics were amazed to find that this powerful germicide dissolved pus without damaging the surrounding tissue.
The beauty of tea tree oil is that it penetrates deep into the skin tissues. Acne and nail fungus are two conditions tea tree oil is used for. It is effective and gentle on the skin. There are numerous other conditions that tea tree oil is effective against. Such maladies as arthritis, athlete’s foot, bites and stings, candida albicans, cold sores, dandruff, eczema, head lice, hemorrhoids, muscle aches, psoriasis, rashes, sinus congestion, warts, wounds, and more can all be treated with tea tree oil. Some people also add tea tree oil to bath water to treat cough and pulmonary infections.
A 10% cream of tea tree is used effectively to treat athletes’ foot. This cream is just as effective as over-the-counter athletes’ foot treatments.
Tea tree oil can also be used as a natural deodorant due to its antibacterial qualities. Since it is the bacteria that combine with sweat and not the sweat itself that causes odor, killing the bacteria that cause odor can prevent the dreaded body odor from sweating.
The oil can also be used as a natural insect repellent. Studies have shown that the oil is just as effective as the DEET used in most commercial insect repellents. This makes it an all-natural alternative to smelly commercial insect repellents.
You can make your own natural mouthwash by adding a drop of the oil to a cup of warm water. Swish around the mouth as with any other mouthwash. This all-natural mouthwash should not be swallowed though. The oil can be toxic if swallowed.
You can make an all-natural cleaner by using the following recipe: Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil, 3/4 of a cup of water, and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle until it is mixed completely. Use in place of harsh chemical cleansers. Also, remember to shake the bottle well after storage to mix the ingredients well before using.
When using on the skin to relieve contact dermatitis the oil should be mixed with another carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Mix the oils in equal amounts or add greater amounts of the carrier oil.
Always be sure and test the mixture on a small area of skin and wait 24 hours to assure you do not have an allergic reaction or rash from the oil.
Don’t forget about your pets. It’s great for removing fleas, ticks, lice and as an antiseptic.
Tea tree oil should only be used externally. As a general rule, you should never take any undiluted essential oils by mouth unless directed to by a physician. Tea tree oil by mouth has been known to cause confusion, inability to walk, unsteadiness, and coma.
Make sure to choose high-quality tea tree oil that is 100% pure. Tea tree can be found in body lotions, foot creams, deodorants, dandruff shampoos, toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, healing salves, and even dental floss.