Inexpensive, convenient, practical and easily available, tea tree oil is an essential oil that has a wide range of applications and healing properties. Although this essential oil has been around for quite a long time, its popularity increased only recently following the discovery of its therapeutic benefits.
While the name may suggests that this is oil from commonly tea plant, the oil is no way extracted from leaves or seeds of tea plant commonly used as beverage. Tea tree oil, also known as or melaleuca oil is obtained from the leaves and twigs of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant which is native to the Northeast coast of New South Wales and Southeast Queensland in Australia. Just like eucalyptus oil which has same origin, it is now known all over the world for its amazing qualities. Tea tree oil has been long valued for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. As far as natural home remedies are concerned, tea tree oil can be considered the jack of all trades!
Active ingredients in Tea tree oil
More than hundred components make up the tea tree oil but the main ingredients happen to be terpenoids such as eucalyptol, cineole, nerolidol, viridiflorol and terpinen-4-ol. The strong antiseptic and anti-microbial properties of this essential oil can be attributed to the presence of these compounds.
Benefits of Tea tree oil
Native Australians were the first to identify the medicinal properties of this tree and has been using parts of the tree for various ailments. Tree had reputation of cure of all and very effective for topical infections and diseases. Today Tea tree oil can be found in many households because of its healing and disinfectant properties. It is a wonderful remedy for treating various kinds of skin infections and diseases. The only drawback of this substance it that it is toxic when ingested. The following are some of the amazing benefits offered by tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is a strong antiseptic
Tea tree oil has potent antiseptic properties and is used in sterilizing wounds, injuries and also in preventing infections. The topical application of this oil has been found to be effecting in killing the germs and preventing their growth. The disinfecting properties of tea tree oil last for days as opposed to those of other disinfectants that last only for a few hours.
Tea tree oil has been found to be effective against three types of microbes – bacteria, virus and fungi. The penetrating ability of this oil helps in soothing itchiness and also in preventing infections. The antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil makes it beneficial in wound management. Clinical studies have demonstrated its efficacy against wide range of bacteria, fungus and other virus, making it suitable for topical medicine. Today tea tree oil is part of various cosmetic preparations and other topical ointments to treat skin infections. It is used in mild concentrations for treating infections of gastro intestinal system as well.
Tea tree oil is effective against insects and parasites
Tea tree oil is a powerful insect repellent and insect killer as well. Applying a few drops of the oil on your body prevents insects like mosquitoes, lice, fleas, or flies from coming near you. The oil is easily absorbed by the body and is found to be effective in killing parasites and intestinal worms such as tape worms, round worms, and hook worms.
Tea tree oil is effective in stopping problem of head lice. Rinsing hair wit water containing tea tree oil can help. Alternately one can add ½ teaspoon of tea tree oil to 2 tablespoon of your regular shampoo to wash your hair. Regular use can help you get rid of lice
Skin benefits of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a great remedy for various skin problems such as pimples, acne, blemishes and dark spots. Often there are scar marks of dark spots left by cuts, boils or acne. Applying a few drops of the oil can help in getting relief from these conditions. The anti-microbial effects of tea tree oil can be used to cure fungal nail infection and athlete’s foot. Its antiseptic properties is effective in healing burns, cuts, boils wounds, and other skin problems. It is used to heal wounds. Poultice made from the leaves of the tea tree is applied to wound as bandage. Tea tree oil reduces the excess production of sebum by the skin and is useful in destroying the bacteria that is responsible for producing acne. Hence it is a safe and natural remedy for getting rid of acne. Tea tree oil is a good remedy for dry skin. Regular use of this oil helps in keeping your skin hydrated, leaving it soft, smooth and supple.
This is recipe for home made tea tree oil honey mask which is effective over acne. Mix a tablespoon of honey with 2-3 drops of tea tree essential oil. Apply this to face or other affected region. Leave it for 20-30 minutes before you rinse with warm water. Regular use of this may help treat recurrent acne. One can mix few drops of tea tree oil to aloe vera gel and apply to your face to get rid of acne.
As home remedy for burns, tea tree oil may be diluted in water and same may be applied over affected area. The same is effective over ringworms, blisters, boils, itching, calluses, corn and canker sores. Massaging coconut oil or olive oil mixed with tea tree oil can also help. Add a few drops to your bathing water to treat vaginal infections. For chapped lips few drops of oil may be applied to your lips. Few drops of Tea tree oil mixed with almond oil can be used for dry skin, dermatitis and eczema. In case of insect or mosquito bite, few drops of tea tree oil may be directly applied to the region.
Read more about benefits of eucalyptus oil
Tea tree oil as an anti-inflammatory
Tea tree oil contains active compounds that have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Hence it can be used to obtain relief from aches, muscular pain, and sprains. It also increases blood circulation thus speeding up process of healing. Mix few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and massage your joints to reduce pain in arthritis, rheumatism or sciatica. Tea tree oil is often used for treating ear ache and swelling. Mix few drops of tea tree oil with warm coconut oil and add a drop of this to ear. As effective home remedy for jock itch, coconut oil mixed with few drops of tea tree oil is applied to the groin region.
Tea tree oil offers relief from respiratory problems
Tea tree oil is effective over various viral conditions. Many virus are known to remain in our body in dormant state inspite of our body immune system and create disorders when our immunity become weak. That is the reason why many people get frequently affected by common cold. Virus forms a protective cover against our immune system, which tree tea oil can break. It is effective over various forms of common cold, flu, measles, herpes and others.
Inhaling freshly cut leaves of tea tree is used as traditional medicine for cold and cough by Native people from East Australia. Tea tree oil is a great relief for people who are suffering from respiratory problems like bronchitis, congestion, cough and cold. It can be either inhaled or rubbed on the chest before sleeping, or a few drops of the oil can be applied on the pillow and you are sure to find yourself feeling much better in the morning. Inhaling the steam of water to which tea tree oil has been added is a great way to get relief from asthma. Inhaling steam with few drops of tea tree oil in water can help relieve from asthama, bronchitis and cough.
Did you know? Myrrh essential oil is excellent for common cold.
Tea tree oil and hair benefits
Tea tree oil has been found to nourish the hair roots and promote hair growth. Applying a mixture of tea tree oil and any other carrier oil is a simple remedy for inducing hair growth. Adding the oil to your regular shampoo and washing your hair with it can help in getting rid of dandruff. The anti-microbial properties of the oil helps in preventing scalp infections. In addition to nourishing your hair, tea tree oil also moisturizes your scalp and prevents dry scalp. It also prevents hair fall.
Tea tree oil is a good stimulant
Tea tree oil is widely used in aromatherapy as it is provides many internal benefits by stimulating many important bodily functions such as boosting the immune system, hormone secretions etc. Inhaling the oil helps in strengthening your immunity and in protecting your body against infections and ailments.
Tea tree oil helps in removing toxins from the body
The accumulation of toxins in the body is one of the many factors that lead to infections and diseases. Sweating, urination etc are the some of the mechanisms by which your body gets rid of these toxins. Tea tree essential oil is a sudorific substance, which means that it helps in increasing sweating, which in turn promotes the expulsion of toxins accumulated in the body. Tea tree oil also induces the removal of excess water, uric acid and salts from the body. This property is useful for preventing acne which are often due to blocked skin pores.
Tea tree oil and cancer
The effect of tea tree oil on skin cancer has been studied and according to the Journal of Dermatological Sciences, this essential oil was found to boost immunity and reduce tumors rapidly. A combination of tea tree oil and frankincense has been proven to have strong anti-cancer properties.
Tea tree oil for oral health
Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties and hence it can be as a mouth wash to eliminate bad breath, plaque, and to ease other dental problems such as gingivitis. The oil helps in getting rid of the infection causing bacteria in the mouth and is also effective in reducing the pain and inflammation. Tea tree oil also has analgesic properties and hence is a good remedy for toothaches. For getting relief from toothache, mix a few drops of tea tree essential oil in warm water and then swish in the mouth. Repeat this procedure few times a day. Gargle with this water can also help sore throat, Tonsillitis and bad breath.
Tea tree oil as a toothbrush cleaner
Your toothbrush can be kept clean and fresh by applying a drop of tea tree oil to it after use. The oil helps in destroying the bacteria and other germs that could be present in the brush.
Tea tree oil provides relief from pink eye
One of the most effective home remedies for pink eye or conjunctivitis is tea tree oil. Place a green tea bag in some hot water, add 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil and steep it for a few minutes. Let the tea bag cool down to a slightly warm temperature. Close your eyes and place the oil infused green tea bag on your eyelids for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Tea tree oil as an air freshener
Tea tree oil can be used to freshen up the air and get rid of nasty smells. Soak a few cotton balls in the oil and place it in the areas with foul odor. This helps in eliminating the smell.
Tea tree oil for getting rid of mold
Mold infestation in homes is a common problem several people experience quite often. Tea tree oil is a great remedy that you can use to kill off mold. The oil can be diffused in the air using a diffuser to get rid of mold and other microbes.
Home remedy for vaginal infection
Inflammation of vagina is mainly due to fungal or bacterial infection. Vaginitis is condition of such inflammation of vagina due to Candida/yeast infection, atrophic vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis. Overgrowth of bacteria in vagina leads to such infection resulting discharge, itch or general discomfort. Tea tree oil can work very good home remedy for vaginitis. Mix few drops of tea tree oil with warm water and wash your vaginal area thoroughly. Repeat this couple of times a day.
Precautions while using tea tree oil
In spite of the fact that this oil is highly beneficial to your health, it must only be applied topically and never be ingested. Indigestion in concentrated form may lead to nausea, drowsiness and upset stomach. It should be kept out of reach of children. Many people are found to be allergic to tea tree oil. One may test tea tree oil on small patch of skin before using it.
Tea tree oil is highly versatile oil and is something that you must have in your home at all times. It has myriad applications in and around the house as a natural cleaner and also as a remedy for healing purposes. Because of its versatility, this oil is used as a key ingredient in the manufacture of creams, mouthwashes, anti-deodorants, muscle relaxants, soaps, detergents and many more. Too much exposure to heat, light, air and moisture can affect the stability of the oil and so it is important to keep it stored in an airtight container in a dry, dark and cool place.