Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia.
Tea Tree oil is an essential oil made from tea tree leaves that smell like nutmeg. Tea tree’s name is ‘tea’ but it is not any tea.
It is a herbal plant mainly and commonly used in the treatment of infections such as acne, fungal infections of the nail (onychomycosis), lice, scabies, athlete's foot, and ringworm. It has many other medicinal uses as well.
Health benefiting properties of Tea Tree Oil:
Terpinen-4-ol is a major TTO component which exhibits strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tea tree oil exerts antioxidant activity and has been reported to have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections affecting skin and mucosa. (PubMed)
It has further shown to have anti-cancer, anti-ageing and wound-healing properties that can be beneficial even when tea tree oil is consumed, applied topically or used as a medicine.
Health Benefits & Uses of Tea Tree Oil:
Minor cuts and wounds can be easily treated with the help of tea tree oil which is an antiseptic.
However, you should never apply tea tree oil directly on your wounds or cuts as it may burn or create rashes on your skin. You can mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
You can repeat applying this solution of tea tree oil and coconut oil until the cuts are healed and a scab is formed.
Tea tree oil can promote wound healing due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It improves the white blood cells healing activity by promoting the repairing process.
It further reduces swelling, redness and signs of burns, wounds and cuts in the skin.
It is also used while dressing your wounds as it treats the skin automatically. Hence, most creams used in dressing have tea tree oil in them.
Tea Tree Oil is an extremely acne-treating essential oil used for ages now. Many cosmetic creams and dermatologically certified topical creams have tea tree oil in them.
It is as effective as benzoyl peroxide that is often used as a topical treatment of acne and acne-prone skin.
The study also explains how “Encouragingly, fewer side effects were experienced by patients treated with tea-tree oil.” This makes tea tree oil the safest remedy for the treatment of acne.
When tea tree oil is added to the foot soak, creams and other ingredients, studies report how it can be extremely effective.
Since the oil is an essential oil, direct application on the toenail is not advised, you can mix it with a carrier oil, coconut oil and apply it.
Tea tree oil is also used to treat other fungal infections. It is available in many creams and medicines as well.
Anti-Plaque (Oral Hygiene)
Many mouthwash companies have started adding tea tree oil to their solution. It acts as a mouth cleanser by defeating, clearing out and killing bacteria that build plaque in your mouth.
Swishing your mouth with a tea tree oil-based mouthwash has shown to reduce the cavities and improve breath as well.
It reduces foul odour and improves the secretion of saliva at the same time. However, tea tree oil should not be swallowed at all.
Treats contact dermatitis
As it is an anti-inflammatory essential oil, tea tree oil counters all allergens that cause your skin to flare up and become red.
It is said to reduce the symptoms of contact dermatitis up to 40%, which is commendable. A study concludes: In conclusion, tea tree oil seems to be a more effective anti-eczematic agent than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate.
You may mix some drops of tea tree oil and mix with olive oil. Store in a container and apply it twice a day on the affected area. This can reduce suffering and promote healing.
“The 5% tea tree oil shampoo group showed a 41% improvement in the quadrant-area-severity score compared with 11% in the placebo group.” States PubMed.
Although not all shampoos will have tea tree oil, you can add a drop or two to your shampoo while you’re washing your hair. This can prevent itching, scaling, dry and patchy scalp.
The antioxidants in tea tree oil seem to have abilities to fight with autoimmune conditions as well.
Although tea tree oil cannot cure psoriasis completely, it can treat it temporarily by relieving the symptoms.
Notably, terpinen-4-ol, the major TTO constituent, has been found to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is suggested that terpinen-4-ol may be a novel potential agent against psoriasis.
Prevents Insect Bites
To save yourself from mosquitoes, you must use a repellent that contains a bit of tea tree oil.
Its antiseptic properties have smells that insects may not be able to tolerate. Hence, read the ingredient list before purchasing the insect repellent.
Furthermore, applying tea tree oil on insect bite also helps settle them down easily. It promotes healing of insect bites faster than any other ointment.
Tea tree oil contains anti-bacterial properties that make it the best essential oil used for massaging on your skin.
It acts as a hand sanitiser too as it kills almost bacteria and viruses. It is very effective to rub it against your hands when you have a common cold and flu as it prevents the viruses and bacteria from transmitting further.
Side-Effects of Tea Tree Oil:
Application of tea tree oil is considered to be very safe; however, consumption of tea tree oil is not at all safe for your health.
Many cosmetic products, topical creams and ointments, and medicines contain tea tree oil in a generous amount and no one has had any side-effects. However, WebMD lists a possible list of side-effects in some cases.
- Taking tea tree oil orally can have side-effects such as confusion, inability to walk, unsteadiness, rash and comma. Although these are rare, be very careful.
- Applying tea tree oil directly can cause a lot of side-effects so mix it with a carrier oil always.
- It may cause skin irritation, redness, inflammation and swelling in some people’s skin.
- It can also cause burning, stinging and pain sensations.
Many people have started understanding how highly valued tea tree essential oil is. Hence, you should also make full use of this luxury.