Do you know that tea tree oil is one of the essential oils that you can use for a number of treatments?
Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil is an essential oil that is obtained by the process of distillation of melaleuca alternifolia tea tree.
These leaves of the tea tree come from the leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleucaalternifolia.
In recent decades, many people are using it as an alternative and complementary treatment.
Today, it is present in Cosmetics, topical medicines, and many other household products
Moreover, you can use it for several other purposes including keeping your hair and nails healthy.
In addition to its scientifically backed benefits, tea tree oil is inexpensive and safe to use as directed by your doctor.
In this article, we have summed up 11 uses in everyday life that are medically reviewed, and the guidelines to effectively and safely use it.
Tea Tree Oil and Its Working
Tea tree oil comes from the plant Melaleucaalternifolia, which is native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia
Although this plant is commonly known as a tea tree, you should not confuse it with the leaves to make black, green, and oolong tree.
It has been used as traditional medicine by Aborigines for centuries.
The natives of Australia used to extract oil from the leaves by crushing them.
They would then use it to treat coughs and colds by inhaling it or directly apply it to the skin for healing.
Today, you can easily find tea tree oil as 100% undiluted or “neat” oil.
However, you can also find it in diluted form ranging from 5 to 50% in strength.
It is important to note that it contains a number of compounds including terpinen-4-ol.
This compound is one of the compounds that help to kill bacterial, viruses, and fungi according to different studies.
Terpinen-4-ol is also a compound that increases the activity of your white blood cells which helps to find germs and foreign invaders.
These germ-fighting properties of tea tree oil make it a valuable natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions
Thus preventing infection and promotes healing. Learn more about essential oils here.
Read on to learn about the many uses and benefits of this versatile oil.
1# Fights Acne
Tea tree oil is very much effective for the treatment of acne.
Different studies indicate that it helps to reduce the severity and amount of acne on your skin.
According to a study applying, 5% of tea tree gel to acne lesions is 3 times more effective at reducing the number of lesions than placebo.
Moreover, it is even more effective at reducing the severity by six percent.
You can purchase it online from different retail centers and online retailers.
Alternatively, you can also make tea tree oil treatment at home by mixing 1 part oil and 9 parts of water.
You can apply it on your skin using cotton swabs once or twice a day as required.
2# Getting Rid of Fungal Nails
Fungal nail infections are pretty common and although not dangerous they can be unsightly.
There are different medications you can use to treat them, however, you may want to try a natural approach to treat them.
According to different studies, you can use tea tree oil alone or in combination with other natural remedies to treat fungal nails.
Fungal nails are very common among people. However, they are not very dangerous or life-threatening. There are many medications for the treatment of nail fungus but some people prefer a more different and natural approach.
Studies show that tea tree oil has the capability of getting the fungus on nails.
Some studies show that people who use tea tree oil for six months straight have experienced partial or full resolution of the fungus on nails.
If you prefer, you can use few drops of tea tree oil alone or you can use it with an equal amount of coconut oil and it can be applied to the affected area. It is advised that you wash your hands immediately after applying.
3# Chemical Free Mouthwash
Studies show that tea tree oil has germ-fighting benefits. It has proved to fight germs that cause tooth decay and bad breath.
One study showed that tea tree oil can also fight against plaque-causing germs. It is more effective than chlorhexidine which is a common disinfectant and oral rinse. Also, people tend to dislike its taste.
If you want to make your very own mouthwash using tea tree oil, you can add a drop of the oil into warm water and mix thoroughly. You can rinse for about 30 seconds or more.
It is toxic so it should not be swallowed.
4# All Purpose Cleaner
Tea oil is a great sanitizer and a great all-purpose cleaner. Ain addition to its cleaning purpose it does not leave any trace of chemicals that are harmful to you or your pets.
You can make a spray using 20 drops of tea tree oil, ¾ cup of water, and ½ cup of apple cider vinegar and mix it in a spray bottle.
You can spray it directly into the surfaces and wipe it with a dry cloth. Be sure to shake the bottle thoroughly before use so that all the ingredients are mixed properly.
5# Soothe Skin Inflammation
Tea tree oil might be helpful in relieving skin inflammation.
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in contact with any allergens such as nickel. If you are exposed to these allergens it can lead to red, itchy, and sometimes painful skin.
Studies suggest that tea tree oil can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Studies show that it has helped to reduce up to 40% of the symptoms of contact dermatitis which is more than the standard medications.
Tea tree oil can also provide relief from a bug bite by reducing the itching, swelling, and redness.
To make a recipe to relieve inflamed skin, you can combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Mix it well and then store it in an airtight sealed container.
6# Natural hand sanitizer and insect repellent
As tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, you can effectively use it as a hand sanitizer.
Studies show that it helps different types of bacteria and viruses causing illness. These include E. coli, S. pneumoniae, and H. Influenzae.
Moreover, a study involving different hand sanitizers shows that if you add tea tree oil to them it makes them effective against E. Coli.
Additionally, it can also help to keep those pesky insects away.
According to a study that if you use it as an insect repellent experience61% fewer flies than cows not having tea tree oil on them.
7# Natural Deodorant and Antiseptic
If you sweat a lot, then you can use tea tree oil as a natural deodorant because of its antibacterial effects.
Your sweat itself does not smell but when the secretions from your glands combine with bacteria on your skin it may produce a moderate to a strong odor.
Your underarm contains a large area of these glands and is mainly responsible for body odor.
The bacteria-fighting properties of tea tree oil make it an ideal alternative to commercial deodorants and antiperspirants.
If you experience injuries, then it makes it easy for germs to enter your bloodstream and lead to infection.
You can use this oil to treat and disinfect minor cuts and abrasions by killing S. Aureus Bacteria and other types that cause infection to open wounds.
To disinfect a cut or scrape, follow the steps:
- clean the cut thoroughly with plain soap and water
- mix one drop of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil
- apply a small amount of it on the injury and cover it with a bandage
- repeat the process once or twice daily
8# Boost Wound Healing
Along with preventing infection in cuts and abrasions, this oil also encourage wound healing.
Research indicates that ta tree oil helps to reduce inflammation and triggers the activity of white blood cells in your blood.
According to a study, adding tea tree oil to conventional wound treatments led to a decrease in healing time.
Thus, you can add a few drops of oil to the wound dressing each time you apply a new dressing to the wound.
9# Control Dandruff
Dandruff or white flakes on your scalp are dead skin cells that fall from it, however, it is not dangerous.
But it can often be annoying and embarrassing.
Although there is little research related to the effectiveness of tea tree oil in treating dandruff, however, controlled studies suggest that it can be helpful.
Moreover, in this four-week study, the group who used a shampoo containing tea tree oil has a 40% improvement in dandruff.
This group reported a significant improvement in the severity of dandruff, itchiness, and greasiness. Hence it is good for dandruff treatment.
Thus, to help reduce dandruff, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo while washing your hair.
10# Treat Athlete’s Foot
An athlete’s feet can be very hard to control. Medical termed as tinea pedis, is a contagious fungal infection on the feet that can spread to your toenails and hands.
Symptoms are peeling, cracking, blisters, and redness.
Most often, doctors recommend using antifungal medications, yet studies suggest that this oil can be an effective and alternative treatment for relieving symptoms.
Moreover, another study suggests that tea tree oil significantly reduces the symptoms of athlete’s foot by 72%than 39% in the placebo group.
To relieve the symptoms of athlete’s foot, you can follow the steps;
- combine 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 20 to 25 drops of tea tree oil
- stir to combine and place in a container
- apply to clean, and dry your feet twice a day.
11# Relieve Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that has characteristics of outbreaks of red, itchy, and scaly skin.
Although medications can help improve the symptoms, the condition is chronic itself and there is no cure for it.
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory compounds and is helpful for easing the symptoms of psoriasis according to studies.
To ease the symptoms of psoriasis flares, you can combine 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tbs of melted coconut oil and apply this to the affected area.
You can repeat this process 2 to 3 times a day as required.
Cautions while using Tea Tree oil
Overall the oil is safe to use, however, before using it you should consider a few things as it can cause certain side effects.
You should not ingest tea tree oil as it may be toxic to you. Thus, you should store it out of reach of children.
If you are using it for the first time, then test a drop or two on a small area of your skin and wait for 24 hours to see if there is a reaction on your skin.
In the same way, if you have sensitive skin then you may experience irritation when using it in undiluted form.
Thus, many doctors recommend using it by mixing it with an equal or greater amount of olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil.
The Bottom Line
Tea tree oil is beneficial for many reasons. It is an inexpensive natural alternative to chemical-based skin and nail treatments, personal care products, and disinfectants among other things.
However, it is not a magic cure-all, in fact, you may experience skin irritation or an allergic reaction if you have sensitive skin. Overall it serves many purposes and is a good item to have on hand. Moreover, seek medical advice in case you have psoriasis or athlete’s foot.