I first came across Tea Tree Oil in Australia twenty years ago when it was unknown elsewhere in the world. It was in every medicine cabinet and it was one of the first things reached for if anyone hurt themselves or got sick. I was treated with it myself when a thorn under my finger nail became septic (very ugly) and it worked almost immediately. So here are the many uses of Tea Tree Oil with a strong personal recommendation.
Tea Tree oil is extracted from a tree (melaleuca alternifolia, pictured above) common in Australia and has been used by Aboriginal peoples for many thousands of years. It has some of the most remarkable properties of any essential oil and scientific studies have proven its ability to fight bacteria, fungi and viruses. It is also effective in boosting the immune system
When used externally it can prevent infections in cuts, speed the healing of wounds and prevent fungal infections like athlete's foot and thrush. Used as part of a shampoo, it will stop dandruff and kill head lice. It makes an effective natural deodorant and is very valuable in the treatment of acne. When inhaled it will bring relieve from coughs, colds and flu. Sometimes it is best used together with other oils (see below) but these additives are not essential.
A warning: the active ingredients in tea tree oil are very potent and care should be exercised in its use. Always test a small area of skin on the inside of the elbow to make sure that you have no allergic reaction. If there is no redness or irritation after a few hours you should have no problems. Even so, proceed cautiously in all treatments. Whilst side affects are rare, they can include blistered skin in very sensitive people.
Tea Tree Oil Uses On the Skin: (remember the skin test first)
Exema of the scalp can be treated with 2 or 3 drops of lavender or tea tree oil in a tablespoon of olive oil. Massage gently into the scalp and leave for 5 to 10 minutes before washing out. Use daily until cured.
Boils:Apply a clay poultice with 2 to 3 drops of Tea Tree oil. Add 8 to 10 drops of essential oil of tea tree, bergamot or lavender to your bath water as a disinfectant
Acne: Apply pure tea tree oil morning and evening with a cotton swab. Begin with a small amount in a very small area to check your reactions.
Facial masks can be made with 5 tbsp clay and 2 or 3 drops of essence of tea tree oil, bergamot and lavender.
Corns and calluses: Take a foot bath daily in a basin of warm water containing 1 tsp. tablespoon vinegar, a handful of sea salt and a few drops of essence of tea tree. Dry the feet and remove dead skin with a metal file.
Warts should be treated with pure tea tree oil 3 times a day. Continue treatment for six weeks after the wart was gone or it may return.
Psoriasis: Prepare a thick cream by mixing 25 ml of avocado oil, 25 ml of seed oil, borage or evening primrose oil, a little wheat germ, 15 drops of essence of tea tree and 5 drops of essence of myrrh. Apply at least 2 times per day to affected areas.
Cold sores or herpes: neat tea tree oil can prevent any spread of the sores.
Ticks and leeches: use pure tea tree oil on and around the tick or leech. After twenty minutes, remove ticks and leeches that have not yet fallen.
Hair and Scalp Care Use
For dandruff: Mix 25 drops of essence of tea tree and 50 ml of jojoba oil or coconut and work thoroughly into the scalp, Cover your head with a hot towel for 1 hour. Then wash the hair with a mild shampoo to which you add 10 drops of essence of tea tree. It is best to apply the shampoo without wetting the hair first before. Rinse well with warm water.
For lice : Wash hair daily with pH neutral shampoo, containing 20 to 60 drops of essential oil per 100 ml of shampoo. Leave for ten minutes before rinsing. You could add a little lavender oil to the conditioner or the rinse water for extra effect and a pleasant scent.
As a Mouthwash
For mouth and gum problems including bad breath, tooth pain, thrush and gingivitis. These treatments shouldn't replace the attention of a dentist but may save you unnecessary visits.
Mix 5 or so drops of essence of tea oil into a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth or gargle with this twice a day after brushing your teeth.
For relief from colds, flu and respiratory problems put a few drops of tea tree, thyme and eucalyptus oils in your handkerchief and inhale during the day. At night, a few drops of the same mixture sprinkled on your pillow will help you breath and sleep more easily
For a steam inhalation, add 5 or 6 drops tea tree, eucalyptus, sage or thyme oils, to a bowl of simmering water. Inhale the steam. Use twice each day.
Cystitis and urethritis: Add 10 to 12 drops of essence of tea tree to 100 ml of boiled water. Soak in a ball of cotton wool and dab the affected area. Repeat often and each time you urinate.
To Use Tea Tree Oil As a General Disinfectant
A few drops of tea tree oil in hot soapy water can act as a disinfectant in a sick room. It can also be added to laundry to help reduce the spread of infections.