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Tea Tree Oil: Nature’s Medicine Cabinet

Posted Jun 22 2012 11:29am

Mother Nature has the greatest remedies…

Nowhere is that more evident than with the oil derived from the leaves of a plant native to Australia known as the melaleuca alternifolia. The nickname for this plant is “tea tree”. That’s because it was nicknamed by 18th century sailors who used the leaves for a healing herbal tea. In modern clinical studies, researchers have proven what aboriginal people have known for thousands of years, that tea tree oil has tremendous medicinal benefits.

History Of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil picture

Tea Tree oil is a powerful natural remedy!

Scientists first began studying this plant in the 1920s. An Australian chemist named Arthur Penfold discovered the antiseptic properties of this plant. He determined that it was 11% more effective in killing microbes than the premier antiseptic at the time which was called phenol. There are over 98 beneficial healing compounds that have been identified.

With that research and experience, healing benefits were considered so critical to the war effort in World War II that the Australian government issued this oil in all of the first-aid kits of soldiers. In fact it’s benefits in the treatment of wound infections was considered so critical, that the producers of this oil were exempted from military service.

The discovery of antibiotics after WW II pushed natural remedies to the background. It wasn’t until the 1970s that interest in natural products was re-ignited. Since that time, there have been a multitude of research studies conducted that confirm the effectiveness of this oil against a variety of fungal and bacterial pathogens. It is even currently being researched to determine its effectiveness against new highly- resistant strains of bacteria, such as MRSA.

Topical Use Of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil, and true to the nature of oils, it has the ability of immediate absorption into the lower layers of the skin. Another benefit of the chemical structure of melaleuca oil is that it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream after being applied to the skin.

Skin Ailments

In treating skin ailments, it works to just dab a few drops of oil onto a cotton ball and rub the affected area 2-3 times a day. Some of the more common skin ailments that can be relieved in this manner are:

acne, athlete’s foot, boils, all types of burns, chicken pox, cold sores, corns, cuts, eczema, herpes , insect bites and stings, measles, psoriasis, rashes, shingles, toenail fungus, psoriasis, ringworm, scrapes, warts

In regards to treating nail fungus, one study found that when 100% tea tree oil is used, along with the surgical removal of infected tissue, the effectiveness of the results were comparable to the usage of the prescription drug, clotrimazole. This oil should be applied with one or two drops applied directly to the nail bed of the infected nail, each day. Treatment of warts would be done in the same fashion.

Head lice can be treated by using a shampoo with a 5% tea tree oil formulation. It’s possible to create a solution by adding drops of oil to your own shampoo. Drops of oil can also be put on brushes and combs. One recent study showed that a tea tree oil formulation was even a stronger combatant to head lice than the usually prescribed drug permethrin. The same shampoo works on dandruff along with daily massaging the scalp with tea tree oil.

Other Medicinal Uses

Melaleuca oil is a great immune system booster and is effective in reducing the symptoms of respiratory problems such as asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, head colds, congestion, coughs, sore throats, and runny noses. It has been shown to have expectorant properties that help to break up congestion and expel mucous. Many people add it to bath water or create a steam sauna by adding 2-3 drops of oil to a pot of boiling water. With a towel wrapped around the head that is bent over the pot of water, a person can breathe in the oil vapors. It helps to do this before bedtime with congestive cold symptoms.

Tea tree oil can be useful as an insect repellent. It can be used in one of two ways: rubbed directly onto the skin, full strength or mixed with water and sprayed onto the skin. Be sure to apply this kind of repellent more often than you would a commercial repellent solution. This will insure that you get the best results.

Tea Tree Oil Internal Use

Although it is common to find warnings against using this oil internally, it has been proven to be safe if used in small quantities and in a diluted form.

Canker sores and laryngitis can be eradicated by gargling with a solution of 3-4 drops of oil to a cup of warm water. Gargle with this twice a day. To treat gingivitis, gum disease, or bad breath, gargle with the same solution 2-3 times per day. It’s also a good idea to put a drop of oil on toothpaste before brushing teeth. This will combat mouth and throat fungal infections. Thrush is one form of mouth infection that can be helped with the same gargling solution.

To treat candida, drink a glass of water that has 1-2 drops of tea tree oil added to it several times a day. To combat yeast infections, add a few drops of oil to douche or suppositories.

A great treatment to use at the first sign of cold symptoms is to make an herbal tea. Just add 2-5 drops of oil to a teaspoon of honey, then mix in with any cup of warm water or warm herbal tea. Swish solution around mouth before swallowing. Do this every 20-30 minutes until symptoms subside. Then continue drinking this tea for 2-3 times per day until the cold is eliminated.

Tea tree oil has also been incorporated into various commercial brands of treatment solutions for fish tank aquariums. A variety of household cleaning solutions are available that utilize the power from “Down Under.”

Be aware that in a small number of cases, people may exhibit allergic reactions to this oil when it is used in an undiluted form. This will be evident by itching, irritation and redness on sensitive skin. Also be advised that it is not recommended that pregnant and breast-feeding women use tea tree oil.

About The Author: DiAnna is a EFT tapping therapist and loves to write articles relating to health. She just recently produced an EFT tapping chart for others in order to help them to use it to heal emotional pains. She continues to learn more and blog about it in order to help people live healthier lives.


Buck DS, Nidorf DM, Addino JG. Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. J Fam Pract. (1994) 38 (6): 601-605.

Heukelbach, J.; Canyon, D. V.; Oliveira, F. A.; Muller, R.; Speare, R. (2008). “In vitroefficacy of over-the-counter botanical pediculicides against the head lousePediculus humanusvarcapitisbased on a stringent standard for mortality assessment”. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 22 (3): 264–72. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2915.2008.00738.x. PMID 18816275.

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