Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is found in so many products nowadays, you’ve probably seen it in toothpaste and skin care and body products. The clinical use of tea tree essential oil has been published by the World Health Organization, but it has been used as a traditional medicine for many years. Many people know that it contains components that are known to be anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial.
According to the Australian Tea Tree Association, the legend of tea tree begins with a princess who goes on a journey through the bushland of New South Wales. She was given seeds as a gift from the gods, and as she walks through the forests she scatters the seeds and beautiful trees with white paper bark grew as a powerful protector on her journey. And just as the trees had protected the princess, the leaves protected against infection and skin ailments.
Tea tree essential oil contains a chemical component, terpinene-4-ol. A study published in the 2006 issue of Clinical Microbiology Reviews notes that terpinene-4-ol can eradicate bacteria, fungi and yeasts. It was also found to be effective against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a very powerful bacteria that is normally resistant to antibiotics.
How to use tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil is an important member of any aromatherapist’s tool box. Some people find the aroma quite medicinal, but it’s a must-have. Keep in mind it does blend well with others and therefore, you can make any blend that uses tea tree as an ingredient a bit more aromatically palatable.
Here are some of our favorite uses for tea tree essential oils:
- Toenail or any antifungal blend
- Aloe based hand cleanser
- Countertop cleaning spray
- Cleaning scrubs
- Anti-inflammatory blends
- Foaming soap
Even if you have tea tree essential oil in your tool kit, you may also want to include tea tree hydrosol. Tea tree hydrosol is a great mouthwash, and can be used with tooth or gum infections. It also makes a great throat spray when we start to feel that “tickle” of a cold. A teaspoon of tea tree hydrosol can also be added to a glass of water to help with a UTI. Tea tree is one that I always travel with as I am prone to urinary tract infections. If I use it at the first sign of a UTI, I find it is amazing at lessening the symptoms!
Tea Tree is one of those essential oils that we cannot overlook. Don’t let the aroma nor the fact that it is in so many commercial products put a negative spin on it for you. Tea Tree has been a staple and should most definitely remain a staple for every aromatherapist.