Melaleuca alternifolia, or Australian tea tree oil as it is more commonly known, is a native Australian plant with many remarkable properties. When crushed and distilled, the leaves of this plant yield 100% natural oil which is an antiseptic, a fungicide, and a mild solvent. Tea tree oil’s major active component is terpinen-4-ol (typically 30-40%). This compound is responsible for tea tree oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Tea tree oil has many applications, due to its remarkable properties. In Australia, it was reportedly used in diseases treatment for many centuries by the Aborigines.
It can be used for:
- For medicinal purposes; Infections, minor burns, cuts, sore throats, ingrown or infected toenails, sunburn, tinea, ulcers, golden staph, cold sores, pimples, and acne can all be treated using tea tree oil.
- Tea Tree Oil is used in Deodorants, soaps, hand creams and lotions, and an entire range of personal hygiene products are available that contain tea tree oil. Its soothing and antibacterial properties can be used to treat nappy rash, psoriasis, acne, and many other skin conditions.
- Some Anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners are available that use tea tree oil. Tea tree oil can also be used to treat damaged hair
- Some dog shampoos contain tea tree oil.
- Arthritis treatments; Tea tree oil relieves some of the painful symptoms of arthritis and is used in sport massage oils and liniments
- Tea tree oil can be found in toothpastes, mouthwash, and lozenges used to soothe a sore throat. Tea tree oil’s antibacterial action can also fight bad breath, foot odour, thrush, and rashes. More applications of tea tree oil are still being discovered.
- Tea tree oil is also one of the few oils that may be used undiluted on the skin, it is non-toxic and also non-irritating, however it is wise to test your own sensitivity by placing just a smear of the oil on the skin surface, washing it off immediately if there is any sensitivity.
Tea Tree Oil is not recommended for internal use without medical supervision. Tea Tree Oil is a strong pure concentrate known as an essential oil and very little is needed to achieve results, therefore it should be used sparingly. If using Tea Tree Oil for the first time a small patch test on the inside of the arm may be indicated if there is any concern about possible side effects. There is always the possibility that a person may have an allergic response to the product (as with any therapeutic). Normal precautions should be taken which include noting if any redness or skin irritation develops or persists. In such a case discontinuing use will cause the skin to revert to normal.