Tea tree oil is produced by the Melaleuca tree, native to Australia. This oil is definitely the most extensively researched essential oil, due to its endless number of uses.
According to the University of Sydney, the Native Aboriginals used its healing powers to treat skin conditions years before the renowned chemist Arthur Penfold discovered its potential in the 1920s.
Nowadays, tea tree oil is the main ingredient of numerous skin products, like massage oils, nail and skin creams, and lotions, anti-acne products, due to its potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory abilities.
There are even cases when doctors prescribe this essential oil as an alternative treatment to conventional drugs, as it does not cause any side- effects, and is highly effective.
For best effects, you should invest in some 100% pure tea tree oil. This oil is one of the safest ones, so you can use it undiluted in small amounts. Yet, just to be on the safe side, you should dilute it in some carrier oil.
These are 10 of its most important benefits for the health:
1. Treating Acne
Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial terpenes content also makes it popular for combating acne. Not only does it kill MRSA or staph infections, but it will also kill Propionibacterium acnes that live inside hair follicles and can lead to inflammation and acne. The oil also contains soothing properties that help to calm the burning and itching of a flare-up.
A gel composed of 5% tea tree oil, when applied to affected areas has been shown in studies to be as effective as an identical dose of benzoyl peroxide. Treatment takes a bit longer with tea tree oil, but this natural acne remedy is also proven to be less damaging to skin. You can even make your own inexpensive DIY tea tree oil acne face wash by combining five drops of pure tea tree oil with two teaspoons of raw honey. Gently rub the mixture onto your face, leave it on for about a minute, and then rinse with cool water.
2. Nail Fungus
Tea tree oil has the ability to kill parasites and fungal infections, which is why it’s so popular for use in fighting toenail fungus, ringworm and athlete’s foot. In fact, it’s been proven to work just as well as over-the-counter chemical treatments in studies. Apply undiluted tea tree oil twice daily to affected areas like nails or feet to relieve symptoms, and possibly completely heal these unsightly ailments. If the problem is extra stubborn, you may want to mix it with oregano essential oil which is also a potent antifungal. It has been proven in medical studies to kill off candidiasis, that bacteria or fungus that can grow within your system.
3. Heal scars
Tea tree oil possesses cicatrisant properties which can heal wounds quickly. Moreover, it will protect your wounds from infections and reduce marks and scars on the skin which occur as a result of acne.
4. Eliminate Foot Odor
You can keep your feet smelling nice by making a homemade foot powder with tea tree oil. Mix up one-quarter cup cornstarch, one-quarter cup baking soda and 10 drops each tea tree oil and lavender oil. Powder your feet and the insides of your shoes and you’ll keep that foot odor at bay.
5. Have smoother skin
Tea tree oil contains melaleuca oil known for its potent antioxidant properties. In other words, tea tree oil can effectively reduce wrinkles and age spots.
6. Eliminate ringworm
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin caused by exposure to the fungus tinea. It is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with infected people, animals, or items. Tea tree oil has been noted in a medical study in the August 2002 issue of the Australasian Journal of Dermatology as being an effective treatment for ringworm, curing the fungus after four weeks of treatment in more than 64 percent of test subjects. The oil’s antifungal properties make it effective for both treating ringworm and preventing it from spreading.
Apply 2-3 drops pure tea tree oil diluted in a carrier oil two or three times per day to treat skin that’s been infected with ringworm. Be sure to clean any personal items that may have come in contact with the fungus by using a tea tree cleanser to prevent further spread of infection.
7. Get rid of athlete’s foot
You can make your own homemade athlete’s foot powder using tea tree oil, arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Arrowroot powder is derived from the rhizome of a number of tropical plants and helps to battle foot odor while offering a moisture absorbing base for the powder. The moisture absorbing part is crucial, as the fungus that causes this condition thrives in damp, moist places like those sweaty shoes. The baking soda also serves to address the odor, sweating, and soothe any itch that occurs. Of course, tea tree oil is the star in this powerful recipe, with the ability to battle the actual fungus itself, as well as inhibit its ability to replicate.
To make it, you’ll need a shaker (you can buy one or re-purpose a parmesan cheese shaker). Add a quarter cup of arrowroot powder, a quarter cup of baking soda, and 20 drops of tea tree oil to a bowl. Try to spread out the droplets of the oil throughout the powder the best you can. You can use a fork to break down any lumps, and then add the powder to your shaker. To use, rinse your feet first and gently pat dry, then apply the powder, using clean hands to spread it evenly. Do this at least twice each day. After use, store your shaker in a cool, dark place.
8. Reduce cold and flu symptoms
Tea tree oil can relieve symptoms related to coughs, colds, and chest infections. Just rub diluted oil on your chest before going to bed. In this will, you will inhale the oil during the night.
9. Banish head lice
When mixed with peppermint oil, tea tree oil has been shown to repel head lice in young children. Treatment with tea tree oil is also an effective natural treatment to eliminate lice already present on a host. While it is useful against parasites on people, tea tree oil is not recommended for treatment of pets as the toxins present in the oil present a high risk of negative side-effects in smaller animals.
If you’ve ever dealt with head lice, you know what a huge problem it can be, so it’s good news that there has been some scientific research that has suggested tea tree oil can be an effective treatment. One 2012 study, in particular, published in Parasitology Research, found that tea tree oil may be able to kill lice in the nymph and adult stages of life, as well as reduce the number of lice eggs that hatch. Research conducted in 2010 out of the University of Queensland in Australia and published in BMC Dermatology, also discovered rather promising results. Experts treated children suffering from head lice with various treatments, including a tea tree and lavender oil treatment. Just one-quarter of those treated with a chemical anti-lice shampoo containing piperonyl butoxide and pyrethrins were free of lice afterward; however, nearly all of the kids treated with the tea tree oil solution were totally lice-free.
It works to eliminate lice because tea tree oil contains two elements known for their insecticidal properties that help kill lice: 1,8-cineole and terpinen-4-ol. In addition, the oil helps to remove nits or lice eggs as it can dissolve the gummy texture that connects the nits to the hair shaft, making them easy to remove when combing the hair.
10. Scalp and Hair Health
Tea tree oil has proven to be very beneficial for the health of both your scalp and hair. It’s often used as a non-drying, non-damaging alternative to harsh chemical dandruff shampoos. In fact, some say tea tree oil just might be the miracle cure for itchy, flaky scalp. That’s because it has the ability to eliminate dandruff and soothe dry flaking skin.
Even if you don’t suffer from dandruff, you can suffer from an itchy scalp – that’s not only extremely irritating, but it can lead to other problems like hair loss. An itchy scalp is often caused by a fungus, bacteria or an allergic reaction, and as tea tree oil has been proven to fight these problems, it can be incredibly effective. It may even be able to help cure scalp eczema and scalp folliculitis too.
There are numerous ways to make your own tea tree oil shampoo to treat these issues that can be found, including in this guide, or you can simply mix a few drops of tea tree essential oil with aloe vera gel, coconut milk and a couple of drops of lavender oil.