Common facts about Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia):
- the melaleuca plant is part of the Myrtaceae family
- the most common plant is a small shrub or tree
- this plant is indigenous to Australia, but is now grown in many other countries
- the leaves are steam distilled, to obtain the essential oil
- it’s scent is medicinal and herbal
Tea tree oil is best known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It has shown to be effective against Staphylococcus strains, including MRSA, and Streptococcus strains. If using the oil neat (undiluted) it may irritate sensitive skin, so it’s recommended that a patch test be done prior to use.
There are a number of ailments which tea tree oil can aid in recovery:
Acne (acne vulgaris): apply a drop of oil directly to the affected area, add to a natural facial cleanser, or add to distilled water to make a facial toner.
Athletes Foot (tinea pedis): after cleaning your feet well, apply the oil neat to the affected area, add a few drops to a foot bath or add a few drops to a lotion or baking soda base, and apply to the feet.
Chicken pox: It can be applied to the rash and blisters as tea tree oil relieves itching,.
Colds and Flu: the oil can be applied on the back, chest and feet in a lotion base, along with other expectorant and antiviral oils such as eucalyptus and thyme.
Cold sores (herpes labialis): apply a couple drops of oil directly to the sore with a cotton swab.
Cuts and scrapes: the oil can be applied neat to the area then covered with a bandage.
Gum inflammation: Add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil to the water and gargle it. Peppermint essential oil can also be added to improve the taste of the tea tree oil. Be sure not to swallow the mixture. Add one drop of tea tree oil to clean your toothbrush too.
Insect Bites: To disinfect the area and help with the itching, add tea tree oil directly to the bite. (including flea, mosquito, horse fly bites).
Lice: the oil can be added to a gentle, unscented shampoo and conditioner. A few drops can also be added to the laundry when bedding is washed. Be sure you’re combing through yours or your child’s hair with a finely toothed metal comb.
Sinuses: as above for colds.
Warts: apply a drop of oil, neat, directly to the wart.
Yeast infections (candidiasis or thrush): add 7-10 drops of oil to a bath, up to your pelvic bone, and soak for 10-15 minutes. A few drops can also be added to a panty liner.
Additional types of infections include eczema, herpes simplex, nail infections, ringworm, earaches, allergies and scabies, for which tea tree oil can be beneficial.
If you don't like too much chemicals found in many commercial cleaning products, you can use this for cleaning. It can be used against molds, for general cleaning spray, add it to the dish liquid soap, mixed up for cleaning your laundry and can be use as antiseptic spray.