What are the health benefits of Tea Tree Australian Essential Oil?
What is Tea Tree Australian Essential Oil?
The botanical name for Tea Tree or Melaleuca Essential Oil is Melaleuca alternifolia. It is best known for its purifying qualities, which makes it great for cleansing the skin, home surfaces, and purifying the air. It has a powerful medicinal scent. Fresh, woody and herbaceous, reminiscent of eucalyptus from the Australian bush.
Where does it come from?
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Although Melaleuca alternifolia is known as the tea tree, it should not be confused with the plant that produces leaves used to make black, green and oolong tea.
How is it produced?
Extraction Method: steam distillation
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant.
How do you use Tea Tree Australian Essential Oil?
- Aromatically: Put a few drops in diffuser or inhale the oil directly. It works well as a natural room freshener when you put a few drops of oil along with water into a spritz bottle.
- Topically: It can be used undiluted and has many skin benefits when used topically. It’s always better however to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut in a 1:1 ratio before applying it topically. After diluting the oil, always perform a small patch test prior to using the oil on larger areas. Once you know you that you do not have a negative reaction, you can add a few drops of essential oil to a face serum, warm bath, lotion or body wash.
Here’s a few more great ways to use Tea Tree oil:
- Acne: For acne sufferers, try dabbing a drop of pure rose essential oil on blemishes three times a day. Ensure you use a sterile cotton swab. Dilute it slightly with some coconut oil if you find the antimicrobial power is too much for you.
- Depression and anxiety: Combine rose oil with lavender oil and diffuse it or apply 1 to 2 drops topically to your wrists and the back of your neck.
- Libido: Diffuse it or apply 2 to 3 drops topically to your neck and chest. Combine rose oil with a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut or olive for a libido-boosting therapeutic massage.
- PMS: Apply it diluted with a carrier oil topically to your abdomen or place it in your diffuser.
- Skin health: Apply it topically or add to face wash, body wash or lotion.
- Fragrant natural perfume: For a natural fragrance, dab 1 to 2 drops behind your ears or on your wrists.
What are the health benefits of Tea Tree Australian Essential Oil?
The Tea tree oil has been used in Australia, particularly for skin conditions for almost 100 years. These days it can be used for a wider range of conditions.
Tea tree oil is probably best known for its antibacterial activity.
Tea tree oil may help reduce inflammation, possibly due to its high concentration of terpinen-4-ol, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpinen-4-ol was found to suppress inflammatory activity in animals with cases of mouth infection. In humans, topically applied tea tree oil reduced swelling caused by histamine-induced skin inflammation more effectively than paraffin oil.
A review of the effectiveness of tea tree oil highlights its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi. Most of the studies reviewed focus on Candida albicans, a type of yeast which commonly affects the skin, genitals, throat, and mouth.
Studies have found the effects of topically applied tea tree oil in people is limited.
However, the oil may be useful for a number of skin complaints.
Participants treated with tea tree oil experienced improvement in both total acne count and the severity of the acne.
This builds on earlier research which compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion in treating cases of mild to moderate acne.
Both treatments significantly reduced the number of acne lesions, although the tea tree oil worked more slowly. Those using the tea tree oil experienced fewer side effects.
5. Athlete’s foot
According to one study, symptoms of athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, were reduced through topical application of a tea tree oil cream,
A 10 percent tea tree oil cream appeared to reduce the symptoms as effectively as 1 percent tolnaftate, an antifungal medication. However, the tea tree oil was no more effective than a placebo in achieving a total cure.
More recent research compared higher concentrations of tea tree oil on athlete’s foot with a placebo.
A marked improvement in symptoms was seen in 68 percent of people who used a 50 percent tea tree oil application, with 64 percent achieving total cure. This was over double the improvement seen in the placebo group.
6. Contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema caused by contact with an irritant or allergen. Several treatments for contact dermatitis were compared, including tea tree oil, zinc oxide, and clobetasone butyrate.
Results suggest that tea tree oil was more effective in suppressing allergic contact dermatitis than other treatments. However, it did not influence irritant contact dermatitis.
Keep in mind that tea tree oil itself may induce allergic contact dermatitis in some people.
7. Dandruff and Cradle Cap
Share on PinterestTree tree oil can be used to soothe cradle cap on an infant’s scalp.
People with dandruff who used a 5 percent tea tree oil shampoo daily for 4 weeks showed significant improvements in overall severity, as well as in the levels of itchiness and greasiness, when compared with a placebo.
Participants experienced no negative effects.
Another study found tea tree oil shampoo effective for treating children with cradle cap.
It is possible to be allergic to tea tree oil?
To check for a reaction, put a little shampoo on the infant’s forearm, and rinse. If no reaction occurs in 24 to 48 hours it should be safe to use.
8. Head lice
Head lice are becoming more resistant to medical treatments, so experts are increasingly considering essential oils as alternatives.
Research compared tea tree oil and nerolidol – a natural compound found in some essential oils – in the treatment of head lice. The tea tree oil was more effective at killing the lice, eradicating 100 percent after 30 minutes. On the other hand, nerolidol was more effective at killing the eggs.
A combination of both substances, at a ratio of 1 part to 2, worked best to destroy both the lice and the eggs.
Other research has found that a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil was effective at “suffocating.”
9. Nail fungus
Fungal infections are a common cause of nail abnormalities. They can be difficult to cure.
One study compared the effects of a cream comprising both 5 percent tea tree oil and 2 percent butenafine hydrochloride (a synthetic antifungal) with a placebo.
After 16 weeks, the nail fungus was cured in 80 percent of people. None of the cases in the placebo group was cured.
Another study showed tea tree oil effective in eliminating nail fungus in the laboratory.
However, this research does not definitely show that the tea tree oil component of the cream is responsible for the improvements experienced, so further research is needed.