Tea tree is a small tree in the myrtle family that grows in wet ground on the northern coast of New South Wales and southern Queensland, Australia.
The essential oil is produced commercially on plantations in New South Wales.
Interest in tea tree oil emerged in the 1920s when Australian researchers found it had up to thirteen times greater antiseptic activity than carbolic acid, then a well-known germicide.
Tea Tree as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
The medicinal parts of the plant are the leaves and branch tips from which an oil is extracted by steam distillation.
Further studies established the oil as a disinfectant in soaps, a topical treatment for parasitic skin diseases, and a deodorant for wounds. Apply Tea Tree directly to cuts, scrapes or scratches. You can also put 20 drops in a 4 oz. spray bottle with purified water and spray directly on wound.
The Medicinal Journal of Australia revealed that the tea tree oil dissolved pus and inhibited bacterial growth without damaging surrounding tissues.
A couple of drops in a glass of water were recommended as a gargle for sore throat at early stages of inflammation.
Physicians used the oil to treat throat infections, dirty wounds, candida, and fungal infections including ring worm and athlete's foot.
Tea tree oil can also be used externally to treat acne. If your skin tends to be sensitive, dilute it with a bit of water before applying to affected areas.
Tea tree oil is now one of Australia's more popular herbal exports.
Folk medicine: Folk medicine internal uses have included tonsillitis, pharyngitis, colitis and sinusitis. Externally, Tea Tree Oil is used for ulcers of the oral mucous membrane, gingivitis, root canal treatment, mycosis of the nail, skin infections, ulcers, burns and insect bites.
A blend of laurel leaf, peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil can be used to ease trouble breathing.
- Apply topically to the chest, throat, under the nose or bottom of the feet to help open airways.
- Diffuse while you sleep to allow for more restful sleep when congested.
Tea Tree as a Cleaner
Tea tree oil diluted with water makes a great all purpose cleaner.
None noted, though as with all essential oils, some individuals may experience contact dermatitis. Internally, all essential oils are potentially toxic. Use only as directed.
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