by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Tea tree oil is an essential oil steam distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. Its strong antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a go-to natural remedy for a variety of health conditions.
Let’s take a look at the most common ways you can use tea tree oil for health:
1. Treats Acne
Most over-the-counter and prescription acne creams contain benzoyl peroxide, which can burn, sting, and dry out the skin. Tea tree oil contains antimicrobial terpinen-4-ol, which treats Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterium behind most acne breakouts, but without the side effects.
Mix a drop or two of tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and rub it onto the affected area(s) once or twice per day. Take care to avoid using tea tree oil ‘neat’ (undiluted) on the skin as it may cause redness and swelling.
2. Eliminates Body Odor
Tea tree oil is an excellent deodorizer because its antibacterial properties destroy the bacteria that causes odor. It can be mixed with aluminum-free baking soda and coconut oil and used as an underarm or foot deodorant.
3. Kills Mold
The damp smell of mold is not only offensive, it can cause a severe allergic condition called “sick building syndrome“. To get rid of mold without harsh chemicals, combine two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water in a 16-ounce spray bottle. Spray wherever you see mold and do not wipe off. Use a dehumidifier when necessary to keep mold from returning to damp areas.
4. Improves Oral Health
Tea tree oil can help reduce bleeding gums and tooth decay. Place a few drops of the oil into half a cup of warm water and swish like you would any mouthwash. Tea tree oil mixed with aluminum-free baking soda and coconut oil can be used as a homemade toothpaste.
5. Treats Fungal Infections of the Skin, Scalp, and Nails
Tea tree oil is useful for ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot, and scalp fungus. Use approximately one-and-a-half tablespoons of tea tree oil to a cup of warm water to rinse and clean infected areas. Alternatively, you can mix one or two drops of oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil and rub into the infected area(s) three times per day.
6. Heals Wound Infections
The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil make it an ideal natural treatment for wounds. This oil has been shown to treat various localized bacterial skin infections such as boils, cuts, and abrasions. Calendula oil can be used in conjunction with tea tree oil to treat skin infections as calendula has been shown to help regenerate damaged tissue[1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11482776].
7. Treats Dandruff
Tea tree oil shampoo has been shown to be effective and well tolerated in the treatment of dandruff[2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12451368]. Place 10 drops of tea tree oil into an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo. Wash your hair thoroughly, working the lather into your scalp. Let the shampoo sit for one to three minutes before rinsing it off. Use daily for best results. If you find the mixture too drying, use a bit of coconut or olive oil on your hair once a week.
8. Cleans Your Home
Commercial cleaners contain chemicals that have been linked to the development of upper respiratory allergies, fertility problems, and neurological dysfunction. Mix one or two tablespoons of tea tree oil and a teaspoon of liquid castile soap into a 16-ounce spray bottle filled with warm water. This combination will disinfect and deodorize your home just as effectively but without the potential health risks.
9. Eliminates Yeast Infections
Those with cancer and AIDS often fall victim to frequent outbreaks of oral candida (thrush).
According to a study[3. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/113.html], patients who swished and expelled a tea tree oil solution for two to four weeks noted an improvement in their symptoms.
For vaginal yeast infections, place a bit of coconut oil and a few drops of tea tree oil onto an organic tampon, insert and leave in overnight. This may need to be repeated for one or two more days depending on the severity of infection.
10. Eases Psoriasis
The anti-inflammatory and antipsoriatic effects of terpinen-4-ol seem to have a healing effect on psoriasis[4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473218]. A combination of tea tree oil and coconut oil applied to the skin several times per day can help ease bumpy, scaly skin. You can also add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil to an Epsom salt bath and soak for 20 minutes three times a week.
Tea tree oil is a versatile essential oil and a little goes a long way. When you use this oil, you’re not only improving your health, you’re saving money and the environment as well.
If you’re looking for high quality, I recommend 100 percent pure Australian tea tree oil from Healing Natural Oils.
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