Tea tree oil is derived from the tea tree plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, and is native to Australia. “Bundjalung Aboriginal people from the coast of New South Wales crushed tea-tree (or paper bark) leaves and applied the paste to wounds as well as brewing it to a kind of tea for throat ailments. In the 1920s, scientific experiments proved that the tea-tree oil’s antiseptic potency was far stronger than the commonly used antiseptic of the time. Since then, the oil has been used to treat everything from fungal infections of the toenails to acne.”
The usage of tea tree in the form of an oil has become internationally popular. So much so that herbalist or not someone you know probably is using it on their dog or their dandruff. I today I hope to show you some incredibly traditional uses of this amazing plant, that might just change how you view it. “The oil (and even rubbing natural leaves on the skin) has been shown to have several different useful antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, some proven better than others,” says Jessica Krant, M.D., M.P.H., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City.
1. Bacterial Infections: Use topically, either massaging into the reflex points of the feet, adding several drops to a bath or cautiously applying over an infected site.
2. Cold Sores: Apply a drop or two of oil directly to the sore with a cotton swab. Re-apply 2 – 3 times daily.
3. Earache and Infection: Add 2 – 3 drops of oil to 2 tbsp warm olive oil. With a dropper, drop a small amount into aching ear, tilting head to one side for a moment. Use cotton swab to absorb oil. Repeat 2 – 3 times daily.
4. Household Cleaning: Can be used aromatically or added to vinegar with a few sprigs of
lavender, to kill germs and prevent the spread of colds and flues. You can make a general tea tree cleaning spray at home:
1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
handful of lavender
3 cups of water
1 cup of vinegar
combine in a spray bottle. Shake it up really well and use liberally as it is non-toxic! =)
5. Seborrhea: For skin: Add 5 drops oil to 1 tbsp of carrier oil and massage into affected areas. Repeat 2-3 times daily. For scalp: Add 5 drops of oil to 2 tbsp shampoo. Massage into scalp and hair, leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse. Repeat. Bath: Add 5-10 drops of oil to bath.
6. Air Freshener: Keep a supply of cotton balls soaked in tea tree oil packed away in a plastic bag or tin. When confronted with foul smells from cooking, musty orders from dampness or even the medicinal smell in a sick room, take a few out the freshen the air and remove the nasty smell
7. Muscle Aches and Pains: Depending upon the purity and potency add 5-10 drops of oil to half cup Epsom salts, and dissolve in your bath water. Do not use if you are pregnant. If you have sensitive skin reduce by 1/2. If you have a candida infection use on a nightly basis for a week.
8. Toenail fungus: Rub the tea tree oil directly onto the affected toenail and underneath the tip of the nail. Apply 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil. Apply the oil once a day, preferably at bedtime.
9. Tonsillitis: Inhale from steaming water with tea tree, gargle, and massage into neck and soles of feet.
10. Colds and sore throats: According to the Mother Nature Network, tea tree oil,“One of the best things I use tea tree oil for is when I feel
a sore throat or anything else cold-like, coming on, I start to take a couple of drops of tea tree oil on my tongue every hour or so,” says Ingrid Perri, an aromatherapist in Melbourne, Australia. “More often than not, after two or three doses, the symptoms disappear.” You can also try gargling with a few drops of tea tree oil in a glass of warm water, then spit. Heads up: the taste is not pleasant. Generally tea tree oil is not for oral consumption as it can be toxic in large quantity to the central nervous system when consumed liberally.
This information above is meant to be informative and should not be used in place of seeing a healer, homeopathic doctor, or regular physician. For more medical information on tea tree oil and its uses, I defer to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Here’s the link for what they say on the subject: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/tea/treeoil.htm