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Botanical Name: Melaleuca alternifolia
The common name of 'tea tree' used for some species of Leptospermum is derived from the practice of early Australian settlers soaking the leaves in boiling water to make a herbal tea rich in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). A native Australian species that typically only reaches 7-10 feet tall, it has constantly exfoliating bark and fragrant evergreen leaves.
Given the powerful pungency and complex nature of Tea Tree essential oil, it is not usually blended.
In 1923, an Australian government scientist, Dr. A. R. Penfold, conducted a study of Tea Tree essential oil and discovered it to be 12 times more potent as an antiseptic bactericide than carbolic acid (the standard medical treatment at the time). Tea Tree oil became recognized, according to the British Medical Journal in 1933, as "...a powerful disinfectant, non-poisonous and non-irritating".
Analgesic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-infectious, Antimicrobial, Antiparasitic, Antiviral, Cicatrisant, Expectorant, Stimulant (immune and nervous system), Sudorific, Vulnerary. (See Definitions.)
- Insect repellent
- Soothes insect bites
- Treats athlete's foot fungus
- Can combat and heal acne
- Can heal warts
- Treats dandruff
- Soothes and repairs burns and blisters
- Can be effective against various burns
- Effective anti-depressant
- Combats Candida
- Can prevent herpes outbreaks
- Treats vaginitis and cystitis
- Effective relief of asthmatic symptoms
- Can quell bronchitis, and laryngitis
- Treats sinusitis and whooping cough
- Strengthens lung function
- Increases blood flow to the brain (can be beneficial to memory capacity)
- Strengthens and tones the heart
- Fights infections (bacterial, viral and fungal) without harming healthy tissue
- Treats mouth, gum and lip issues such as herpes and canker sores
- Combats mouth ulcerations and infections
- It can be used 'neat' (undiluted) as a treatment for cuts and scrapes
- As an insect repellent, apply drops to exposed areas
- Mix Tea Tree oil 50/50 with Lavender for a soothing, natural anti-bacterial topical treatment for children
- Dilute in water for a mouth rinse
- Tea Tree essential oil is particularly effective at treating Candida infections in many regions of the body:
- Vaginal suppositories can be 'spiked' with a small amount of the oil.
- In incidences of 'Thrush', where Candida fungus has infected the throat, it is recommended to take one drop at a time 3x a day until the infection subsides.
Tea Tree essential oil has also been studied for its effect against MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the 'superbug' causing infections in immune system compromised hospital patients. This antibiotic resistant staph has been effectively treated with Tea Tree oil in some cases; however, a blend of well-known antimicrobial oils may have a better effect against this particular rare, yet dangerous, infection. Excellent choices to boost Tea Tree's potency are Geranium, Lavender and Oregano. (Another study noted that a Methicillin-resistant strain of staph bacteria was most susceptible to a blend of Geranium essential oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract, or GSE.