Tea tree oil is a well known herbal extract with a diverse variety of uses in the modern world.
Derived from the Tea tree, a plant indigenous to the New South Wales region of Australia, it is also known as Australian tea tree oil or Melaleuca oil and Melaleuca alternifolia in Latin. For a long time, the crushed leaves of the tea tree were typically used to brew beverages, as an aromatherapy to remedy coughs and colds, and to treat skin disorders, burns and wounds.
The use of the oil by itself was not widespread until it was published as an effective anti-fungal medicine at the beginning of the 20th century.
Applications of Tea Tree Oil
Steam distillation of the tea tree leaves squeezes out a near-colorless golden fluid with a crisp camphor-like scent. Throughout history, it has had numerous uses and latter-day science has extended its functionality to facilitate large-scale commercial exploitation of this naturally-occurring essential oil. Scientific advancement is yet to clarify and substantiate some claims about the applicability of this oil. However the following are some well-renowned uses.
In 2004, the ISO 4730 evaluation verified that tea tree oil contain 30–48% of terpinen-4-ol; a compound that is exclusively responsible for the remarkable antimicrobial efficacy of the oil. The abundance of this substance treats hundreds of externally occurring ailments caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Direct ingestion of the oil is known to be toxic and highly discouraged, restricting its use to external use on unbroken skin.
- Antifungal and antibacterial efficacy: common problems such as eczema, Athlete’s Foot, nail fungus, herpes, genital warts, and yeast infections among others are effective cleared by 100% authentic oil. For Athlete’s Foot for instance, 25%-50% tea tree oil solutions shows significant results when used consistently for approximately 4 weeks. Twofold application of 100% tea tree oil solution continuously for six months has also been proven to clear fungal infections of the toenails. Additionally, whooshing the oil and spitting constantly for 2-4 weeks remedies oral candidiasis or thrush.
- Antiviral use: from common colds and flu, this valuable gift of Mother Nature helps fight long-standing ailments such as chicken pox, measles, shingles, and verrucae as well as deadly diseases like tuberculosis, bronchitis and asthma.
- Other therapeutic uses include chest decongestant, treating bad breath, plaque and inflamed gums, ringworms, insect bites and stings just mention a few.
Skin, hair and nail cosmetics are some of the most common applications for both home-based and high-end commercial purposes. The easy penetration and non-irritating conditioning effect of the oil provides excellent healing capabilities to the skin. As such it effectively lightening blemishes to remedy conditions such as oiliness acne, sunburns and scars and provide a beautifully toned skin with a healthy sparkle. Daily application of 5% tea tree oil gel easily clears acne within 3 months.
Due to its piquant freshness, it clears of persistent body odors when incorporated into soap, deodorants, and creams. The pure form or integration into shampoos and hair conditioners helps correct dry and pallid scarp to prevent moisture loss and dandruff thus restoring the natural hydration, suppleness and sheen of hair.
Cleaning and Other Applications
A couple of teaspoonfuls dribbled into two cups of clean water guarantees a beneficial broad-spectrum cleaning agent.
- Similar to all other applications, a dub of tea tree oil around high-traffic areas and surfaces minimizes the risk of germ infections
- A few drops into the dishwasher dispenser cleans dishes well and leaves a fresh aroma on the dishes and kitchen; the same approach works for laundry without leaving any stains
- An oil-water solution manages mold around the house and eliminate musty odors
- A solution of tea tree oil with kosher salt for scrubbing floors and tiles produces outstanding results
- A few drops in water acts as an insect repellent and as well as soothing against stings and bites.
Documented Side Effects and Safety Concerns
- Mild inflammation characterized by redness, itching or slight burning especially when the oil is used when pure, concentrated solution, or on irritated and broken skin. Attenuating tea tree oil with compatible basal agents such as pure olive oil pacifies sensitive skin. Lactating mothers and pregnant women are discouraged from using tea tree products due to their physiological vulnerabilities.
- Ingestion of undiluted form may cause vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, confusion, muscle dysfunction, uncoordinated behavior up to comas in the worst case scenario. Direct intake is proscribed and all toxic products should be kept away from children or in child-proof containers. In case of ingestion, consult an expert physician immediately.