Tea Tree Oil is healing and nutritive. A Shutterstock Licensed Image.
Even though it’s been used by healers, shamans, and native cultures for thousands of years, it’s only over the past decade or two that Tea Tree Oil has skyrocketed in popularity. While at first glance, it might appear to be a life-saving cure-all, some medical professionals are concerned about the hype. Meanwhile, lovers of this Oil say that it provides a panacea for everything related to skin, hair, feet, mouths, wounds, veggies, fruits, and homes. While the science is sketchy, Tea Tree’s fanbase is huge.
“Some of the most powerful antiseptic essential oils include lavender oil, tea tree oil, and clove oil.” ― Essential Oils for Beginners by Althea Press
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Derived from the Tea Tree or Melaleuca Tree, this medicinal oil is known by many names, including Melaleuca Oil, Melaleuca Essential Oil, and Ti Tree oil. The fauna is known by several Latin names, including Melaleuca alternifolia, armillaris, styphelioides, leucadendra, acuminata, ericifolia, quinqenervia, linarifolia, and dissitiflora. The tree is extremely durable and can be found in New Zealand, Australia, Tunisia, Egypt, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United States.
Tea Tree Oil Benefits And Studies
While there has been no long-term, controlled studies involving Melaleuca Tree Oil, the limited studies have shown:
- The oil can kill some common bacteria and viruses, including E. coli, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae
- When adding Melaleuca Tree Oil to hand soap, studies have shown that it boosts effectiveness against E. coli
- Mixed with coconut oil, this Oil can work as an antiseptic to minor cuts and scrapes and reduce dandruff severity and itchiness
- This Oil reduces inflammation and has shown significant clinical improvement in cases of athlete’s foot, although some studies show that it’s not as effective at eradicating the fungus
- Melaleuca Tree Oil might be effective against eczema, and more potent than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate creams
- Tea Tree Oil fights acne, as effective as benzoyl peroxide
- Mixed with apple cider vinegar, Melaleuca Tree Oil works great as an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner
Tea Tree Oil Uses
What is this oil good for? Here’s a list of the most common uses:
- Reduce facial and body blemishes like pimples
- Use as a natural insect repellant
- Use as a natural deodorant
- Reduce skin inflammation by using a tea tree oil spray
- Relieve Psoriasis
- Sooth your dry skin
- Reduce or control dandruff
- Reduce the spread and severity of athlete’s foot
- Kill head lice eggs
- Clean your house
- Wash your fruits and vegetables
- If you love the smell, try it with aromatherapy
- While this is not proven or recommended, some people enjoy and receive benefit from mouthwash made from this oil
“The Healing Power of Essential Oils Many essential oils act as adaptogens, which are natural balancers. Adaptogens promote a balancing reaction in the body, which in turn can affect a multitude of the body’s systems, including blood pressure, the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, and digestion.”
― Essential Oils for Beginners by Althea Press
Caution: Use Safely
While each person has unique sensitivities, Tea Tree Oil is known to be generally safe when used topically. That said, some people have reported the following reactions when using the oil:
- Skin irritation
- Dry and itchy
- Peeling and scaling
- Allergic reactions in the form of skin rash
Is Tea Tree Oil Toxic?
In some cases, science points to ‘yes.’ While it’s been a popular folk medicine since the beginning of time, it has never been approved by the FDA, and many believe it to be poisonous when taken internally.
Here are additional Tea Tree Oil side effects and symptoms that can stem from consumption by mouth:
- Lack of muscle control/coordination
- Decreasing levels of consciousness
- Lethal at high doses to rats, cats, and dogs
- One study suggests that repeated use of Lavender Oil and Tea Tea Oil can cause the swelling of breast tissue in young boys
How To Use Tea Tree Oil And How To Apply It
You might be curious about how to apply and dilute Tea Tree Oil. While there are many different formulas for this, consider that this is a powerful oil. While the packaging might look pretty and benign, the oil that results from steaming Tea Tree leaves can be both healing and vicious at the same time. Also, most Tea Tree tinctures are extremely potent, so you’ll want to use them sparingly, especially when mixing with other oils like lavender and coconut.
You can apply the oil as a diluted spray, in a handcrafted lotion, or as an addition to your liquid gel or soap. Be careful to use enough water or base before applying to your body.
For stubborn acne, you might benefit from applying a drop or two directly onto the blemish, but be aware that it might sting. When using the oil to reduce dandruff or improve the antibacterial nature of your hand soap, begin with smaller amounts rather than the other way around. When using Tea Tree Oil, always consider safety first.
Where Can I Buy Tea Tree Oil?
Tea Tree Oil can be purchased online and from a long list of national chain stores. There are Multilevel Marketing companies (MLMs) that tote their version of the product as if it were akin to the birth of an Enlightened Master. Don’t buy into the hype.
Membership in an MLM is not required for the purchase of this wonderful oil. In most cases, you’ll find non-MLM pricing to be much lower, less expensive to ship, more accessible, and of equal or greater quality than their MLM competition’s products.
What About Purity?
Like any medicinal oil, there are levels of purity to consider. Because most companies are transparent about their processes, it’s difficult to determine which brand is producing the highest quality oils.
There’s also the marketing hype to consider. You’ll see ads for Melaleuca Tree Essential Oil, Organic Tea Tree Oil, and Pure Tea Tree Oil.
You’ll see companies touting their “seed to tincture” manufacturing processes, and how they source their herbs solely from farms that they own. Some companies, especially the MLM essential oil companies, will tout how their scientists have proven that their company’s oils were birthed from the loins of Gods. Don’t believe any of it.
If you’re skeptical, try a few different brands. Mix them with coconut oil or lavender oil and test them out. In most cases, I believe you’ll find that the best Melaleuca Tree Oil is the one that works for you.