Tea Tree Oil is a well-known essential oil, heralded for it’s antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. It is produced by steam distillation of the leaves and twigs from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia and has been used medicinally in Australia for hundreds of years. When applied to the skin (we strongly recommend diluting!), it is a multi-tasking powerhouse that can tackle a range of topical ailments. Read on to learn about some of our favorite uses for Tea Tree Oil.
Minor Wound Care
Mix 1 part tea tree oil and 10 parts warm water to create an antiseptic wash. Apply to minor wounds and cuts to prevent them from becoming infected. Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial action allows it to protect the skin from bacteria entering the wound while simultaneously controlling swelling. It can also be applied to bites and strings to reduce irritation.
Upper Respiratory Relief
Adding a drop of tea tree oil to a warm washcloth at night and then applying to your chest can give some much needed relief from a cold, cough, congestion, and bronchitis. It is recommended to do this at nighttime and remember to inhale, not ingest!
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, tea tree oil treats acne just as effectively as benzoyl peroxide and causes fewer side effects. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with 20-40 drops of witch hazel and apply to skin once or twice a day with a cotton swab. Be careful not to overuse it. While it’s gentler than benzoyl peroxide, it can dry out your skin, which can trick your body into overproducing oil (and make your acne worse).
As an antifungal, tea tree oil is also effective for treating Athlete’s Foot and toenail fungus. Combine 5-7 drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of olive oil. Apply topically 2-3 times a day until infection clears.
Treat a dry, itchy scalp by by adding 10-20 drops to ½ cup of your (preferably sulfate-free) shampoo. Wash and rinse as normal. The antifungal properties of tea tree oil help rid your scalp of the excess sebum that caused the dandruff in the first place.
*Note: Tea tree oil is a potent essential oil. It should be used with a carrier oil or liquid, like water or coconut, olive or jojoba oil, as it can cause irritation if applied undiluted. If you are pregnant, consult your physician before starting any new medical regimen.
It is refreshing to know nature has provided us with a powerful and effective alternative to conventional chemical-laden creams, ointments and remedies. Thanks, Mother Nature!
Photo credit: naturalsociety.com