Not to be confused with an extract of the tea plant (Camellia sinensus) –tea tree oil is distilled from leaves of the Australian tea tree (Melalenca alternifolia.) Although it is highly toxic when ingested, tea tree oil has a surprising number of topical uses to cure or prevent a whole host of everyday maladies, hence why it is often referred to as a “medicine cabinet in a bottle”.
Here we explore the top ten tea tree oil uses and reveal why every home should own a bottle!
1. Topical Anti-septic
Terpenes in tea tree oil give this versatile substance anti-septic properties. Tea tree oil has been shown effective against even the super-bug MRSA, a strain of staph bacteria which is resistant to many common antibiotics. For this reason, tea tree oil is often used as a natural remedy to prevent infection in small wounds, blisters, and burns.
2. Acne Treatment
Due to its anti-microbial terpenes, tea tree oil is also commonly used to combat acne. A gel composed of 5% tea tree oil, when applied to affected areas has been shown to be as effective as an identical dose of benzoyl peroxide. Treatment is slower with tea tree oil, but this natural acne remedy is also proven to be less damaging to skin.
3. Nail Fungus
Shown to work just as well as over-the-counter chemical treatments, tea tree oil can also be used to cure fungal infections in toenails and fingernails. Undiluted tea tree oil applied twice daily to infected nails can relieve symptoms, and in some cases completely heal these unsightly ailments.
4. Oral Rinse
For those prone to oral infections (fungal or bacterial), tea tree oil can be used as an effective natural mouth rinse. Alternately, add a drop of undiluted tea tree oil to toothpaste right before you brush your teeth to get similar benefits.
***It is very important never to swallow tea tree oil as the toxic compounds it contains can cause nausea, disorientation, and in severe cases coma. ***
5. Scalp Health
Often used as a non-drying, non-damaging alternative to harsh chemical dandruff shampoos, tea tree oil just might be the miracle cure for itchy, flaky scalp. Premixed tea tree oil shampoois available from many natural health stores, or try this guide to make your own.
6. Sore Throat Treatment
Tea tree oil diluted in water is also a great natural remedy for sore throat. Add 2 – 3 drops of tea tree oil to boiling water, lower your face toward the vapors, and drape a towel over the back of your head / the sides of the pot to trap the steam. Inhale deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Not only will your throat feel better, this treatment also works to clear up chest and sinus congestion. You may also add 3 – 4 drops of tea tree oil to warm water to make a gargle solution. Use this method up to twice per day to relieve soreness and kill bacteria in the throat and tonsils.
***Again, take care not to swallow tea tree oil as it is toxic when ingested. ***
7. Head Lice
When mixed with peppermint oil, tea tree oil has been shown to repel head lice in young children. Treatment with tea tree oil is also an effective natural treatment to eliminate lice already present on a host. While useful against parasites on people, tea tree oil is not recommended for treatment of pets as the toxins present in the oil present a high risk ofnegative side-effects in smaller animals.
8. Insect Bites and Stings
Apply tea tree oil liberally to insect bites and stings to disinfect the wound, lessen pain, and prevent itching. Keep the wound covered with a bandage to keep the oil from evaporating. Repeat once or twice per day until the bite or sting is healed.
Ringworm – a fungal infection of the skin caused by exposure to the fungus tinea – is highly contagious and spread through contact with infected people, animals, or items. Due to its anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil can be used to treat ringworm and prevent its spread. Apply undiluted tea tree oil 2 – 3 times per day to treat skin infected with ringworm. Clean any personal items that may have come in contact with the tinea fungus using a tea tree cleanser to prevent further spread of infection.
10. Household Cleaner
The same anti-microbial abilities that make tea tree oil so effective for clearing up infections of the body also make this oil an amazing household cleaner. In a 1 quart spray bottle, mix 4 ounces of vinegar with 24 ounces of water then add about 10 drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil cleaner can be used on mold and mildew, as a disinfectant in bathrooms, and even to clean mirrors and windows as the mixture dries streak free.
With so many great uses, tea tree oil should be a staple for every natural living enthusiast. As always, make sure to buy only certified 100% pure tea tree oil to avoid potentially hazardous additives. This bottle of Edens Garden Organic Tea Tree Oil is one of the best.