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The Many Uses of Tea Tree Oil

November 16, 2010

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Tea tree oil has been growing in popularity since the 1970’s, but was discovered for its powerful antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties in the 1920’s. Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is extracted from the tea tree plant also known as Melaleuca Alternifolia. An oil is said to be essential when the extraction bears the scent or essence of the plant. Tea tree oil is clear with a hint of yellow and has a strong, medical scent, due to its chemical compounds terpineol, cineol, pinene, and terpinene. Initially used in aromatherapy and naturopathic medicine, tea tree oil is now being use in all sorts of medical and home applications.

The tea tree plant is naturally occurring in Australia and New South Wales. The indigenous people of Australia used it for traditional medicinal practices such as treating the cold, cough, wounds, sore throats and skin problems. This early use of the tea tree and its components is the beginning of the understanding of all the healing qualities that tea tree oil has to offer. Tea tree oil is very beneficial for medical purposes when applied topically, but toxic if ingested internally. If ingested tea tree oil can cause confusion, drowsiness, hallucinations, coma, unsteadiness, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, and rashes. Therefore tea tree oil is used topically in a diluted saturation or mixed with other oils, herbs, lotions, or creams. If not diluted before use, some skin irritation can occur to people with sensitive skin and a small portion of people have allergic reactions to the oil.

Tea tree oil has been known to treat several different types of skin conditions by reducing inflammation, stimulating the immune system and healing wounds. It has a soothing affect on itchy, oily, and burning skin and open wounds. Tea tree oil can also treat several diseases and conditions due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic and antiseptic characteristics. Some diseases that tea tree oil can alleviate include arthritis, asthma, athletes foot, bladder infections, bronchitis, chicken pox, herpes, cold sores, dermatitis, diabetic gangrene, earaches, earlobe cysts, ear infections, eczema, laryngitis, ulcers, nail fungus, plantar warts, rheumatism, ringworm, sinusitis, and toothaches. In addition some conditions that tea tree oil can cure include acne, bad breath, blisters, boils, inflammation, bruises, burns, dry hair, itchy scalp, oily hair, jock itch, muscle aches, and dandruff.  Even though there are traditional medical treatments for most if not all of these diseases or conditions, tea tree oil has been proven comparable if not more effective than these treatments.

As an antibacterial, tea tree oil has been found effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Topical tea tree oil has been shown to be more effective than conventional antibiotics for preventing transmission of CA-MRSA. As an antifungal, tea tree oil is effective in fighting dermatophytes found on the skin. Additionally if added to shampoo tea tree oil can cure dandruff by treating Malassezia furfur. It also can cure head lice and scabies and is more effective than permethrin and commercial medications.  Tea tree oil is also successful at killing Candida the infection that causes yeast overgrowth. As an antiviral tea tree oil has shown success at treating the herpes virus and their cold sores, chicken pox, shingles, blisters and eczema. Tea tree oil has been shown to be equivalent to benzoyl peroxide the most common treatment for acne. Tea tree oil boosts one’s natural immune system and heals wounds by enhancing scar tissue formation.

In addition to its topical use on the skin, tea tree oil can be used in alternative medicines such as massage therapy and aromatherapy, as a household cleaner and as a pesticide. In aromatherapy, tea tree oil purifies the air and creates a relaxing and calming atmosphere. Tea tree oil is used topically in massage therapy. It can relax deep layers of tissues and muscles. Tea tree oil can be used in the household as an all-purpose cleaner, but it can also be used in the dishwasher, washing machine, humidifier, and deodorizer. Tea tree oil can enhance mood, memory and energy.  As a pesticide tea tree oil can kill blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes and sand flies on contact. However for other insects it does not act as a repellent but is toxic if they ingest it.

There are so many practical and medicinal uses for tea tree oil. It is an all in one first aid remedy that everyone should keep around the house. Whether you use it in a diluted solution or mix if with shampoo, conditioner, lotion or other oils, it can cure and treat almost all of the common and not so common ailments.

tea tree oil, esssential oils