Essential Oils: Tea Tree
Ahh Tea Tree. One of earth’s greatest gifts. This oil is one of the most recognizable oils for its health benefits. Although most people think of acne when they think of tea tree, it actually has a lot more uses than just curing pizza face.
Tea Tree or Melaleuca is best known because of its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. The oil is derived mostly from the plant native to Australia. It has been used for the past 100 years and has several documented medical studies for being able to kill bacteria. This oil is a powerful disinfectant, but still gentle enough for topical use!
Acne. Obviously the most popular use. Because it has antibacterial properties, it works as a natural remedy for acne and other skin conditions. A study conducted in Australia evaluated the effectiveness of tea tree oil on acne and it was found that participants using the oils experienced less acne lesions. In another study, it was found that tea tree is even more effective than benzoyl peroxide.
Hair Care. Dandruff, dry scalp, hair loss…tea tree can help it all. A 2002 study found that patients using tea tree shampoo for a four-week period experienced a 41% improvement in dandruff. Tea tree is also effective against LICE! Yep, no need to fear the dreaded bugs again. Research found that tea tree resulted in 100% mortality of lice and 50% failure of egg hatching.
Infections. So, we don’t have time to discuss all of the things that Tea Tree can help. We’re all about the facts here, so these are the high points. Its antifungal properties have been known to fight fungus like athlete’s foot. Tea tree also has the ability to fight the herpes simplex-1 virus (that’s the one for cold sores) and even the flu!
Cleaning. Since tea tree is so effective against fighting bacteria and virus, many people use it in their cleaning products. If you refer to the above paragraph, you can see that it can be very effect against a variety of bacteria and virus. It would be a great addition to cleaning during flu season!
Tea Tree is very powerful, but not harmful to the skin. Although I don’t typically recommend undiluted applications, it won’t hurt to use it straight up. I also like to add a few drops to my shampoo. It smells great and stimulates the scalp.
During cold and flu season, diffusing is a great way to help clear up respiratory issues. It can really speed up the recovery time for common illness.
Do NOT take tea tree internally. It’s one of those oils better left on the outside. Not sure that it would kill you, but I have NEVER seen ANY suggestions on internal usage, so best not.