Tea tree oil (TTO), also called melaleuca oil, is made from the leaves of the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia), a member of the myrtle tree family, which is native to Australia. The name was coined by British explorer Lieutenant James Cook in the 1770s, when he saw native Australians brewing tea using the leaves from the tree. Later on, he brewed his own batch of tea, and gave it to his crew to prevent scurvy.
The tea tree plant is highly prized by primitive Australian communities for its unique healing ability. According to the University of Sydney, numerous aboriginal communities along the east coast of Australia have a long historical use of tea tree as an antiseptic for skin conditions. They simply crushed the tea tree leaves and applied it to cuts, burns, and infections.Tea tree oil has gained a reputation for being an all-around remedy, from removing makeup to treating warts.Numerous studies have been conducted to prove the potential benefits of tea tree oil for health ailments, such as:
Acne – A comparative study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that TTO and benzoyl peroxide both had a significant effect in ameliorating patients’ acne. Although the onset of action in tea tree oil was slower, it caused fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide.
Fungal infections – A study published in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health found that treating toenail onychomycosis with 2% butenafine and 5% TTO in cream cured 80 percent of patients.
Bacterial infections – A 2004 study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that TTO may be used as an adjunctive treatment for wounds, and may even help treat severe infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). However, large, well-designed clinical trials are lacking, and the jury is still out on whether tea tree oil really has this potential.
Smaller-scale clinical studies on tea tree oil revealed TTO’s potential for treating athlete’s foot, dandruff, lice, gingivitis, and genital infections.
In aromatherapy, tea tree oil is said to be helpful in alleviating chest and head congestion, stuffy nose, and other symptoms of colds and flu, especially when used in steam inhalation. Steam inhalation clears the congested nasal passages and kills bacteria. Adding an antiviral essential oil like TTO makes it that much more effective. Just add a few drops to a steaming bowl of hot (purified) water, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the vapors for five to 10 minutes. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your bathwater may also help stop a cold from developing.
Risks and FYI~ Tea tree oil contains varying amounts of 1,8–cineole, a skin irritant that may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. The rashes are usually mild and itchy, but may also lead to blistering. Serious allergic reactions may also occur. There are other reported instances of dizziness and swelling in his throat. DO NOT swallow or ingest tea tree oil. It may cause severe reactions, such as rashes, blood cell abnormalities, diarrhea, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, hallucinations, and ataxia (loss of muscle control in the arms and legs).
Tea tree oil may also be toxic to pets if ingested. Veterinary toxicologists found that large amounts of undiluted tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused a hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction. If you are allergic to eucalyptol, use TTO with caution, as many formulas are mixed with eucalyptol..My videos are not intended to treat, or diagnose. For serious medical conditions seek the advice of a natural health care provider.