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Origins and History:
Tea tree oil is an essential oil produced by steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.
Tea tree oil has long been used by the indigenous Bundjalung people of eastern Australia to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, and various skin ailments. However, the oil’s antimicrobial properties were not formally discovered until the 1920s and 1930s.
Commercial tea tree oil plantations cropped up in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to large-scale production of a more consistent product.
Health Benefits and Uses:
Modern research and medicine are now beginning to confirm what indigenous Australians have witnessed for centuries. Tea tree oil has recently been confirmed to have significant antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
Antiviral – Tea tree oil’s antiviral properties make it potentially useful for treating viruses like herpes, chickenpox and shingles.
Antibacterial – An Oregon State University study found that tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, making it useful for preventing bacterial infections in wounds.
Antifungal – Studies have also confirmed tea tree oil’s antifungal properties, making it a potentially useful treatment against fungal skin infections, athlete’s foot, and nail diseases. Applied topically, tea tree oil is also an effective treatment for yeast infections and other types of candida overgrowth.
Cosmetics and Scalp – Tea tree oil also makes an excellent addition to many natural cosmetics, due to its distinctive scent and antimicrobial properties. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for acne, dandruff, and head lice:
- Tea tree oil has been shown to treat acne as effectively as 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion, with fewer side effects.
- Research has shown that a 5% concentration tea tree oil shampoo effectively treats dandruff.
- A 2008 study found tea tree oil more effective at treating head lice than a leading pharmaceutical remedy. It has also been found effective for treating scabies.
How to Use It:
Ready to try this AMAZING oil?
You can also add a drop or two of tea tree oil to a vaporizer, bath or neti pot to help clear up nasal congestion.
In addition to its usefulness in clearing up scalp, skin, and nail problems, tea tree oil also makes a great household cleanser.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle for a natural, all-purpose cleanser.
- Add a few drops to each load of laundry to keep clothes smelling fresh.
- Combine 15 drops of tea tree oil with a quart of water for use as an insect repellant.
The uses of this amazing oil are seemingly endless! Tell us your favorite ways to use it in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Google Creative Commons