Tea tree oil is the essential oil from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree, a member of the botanical family Myrtaceae. There are over three hundred varieties of tea tree growing in the wilds of Australia. Many of them produce essential oils with healing properties. However, only one, Melaleuca alternifolia, has outstanding medicinal, beauty aid, personal hygiene, plant and home care cleaning properties.
The high terpinen-4-ol content combined with low cineole content helps this variety have a safer and wider range of therapeutic uses. Terpinen-4-ol has a wide range of beneficial properties, with no side effects. Cineole's medicinal qualities are good for relief of colds.
Recent scientific work indicates cineole is a relatively weak antimicrobial agent and is not
irritating to the skin. Skin irritation may occur if the oil has high para-cymene content. According to Dr. E Pena, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "Australian Melaleuca alternifolia oil (tea tree oil) in suitable dilutions was found to be highly effective in the treatment of trichomonalvaginitis, moniliases, cervicitis and chronic endocervitis."
In addition, Dr. S. Cabot, author of “The Use of Tea Tree Oil in Clinical Practice,” states "It (tea tree oil) will help relieve the itch from the genital wart virus, from Candida, and from non-specific bacterial or fungal infection. It will relieve the symptoms as well as overcoming the infections…" The Medical Journal of Australia featured an article by E.M.
Humphrey about tea tree oil, titled 'A New Australian Germicide'. He wrote: The results obtained in a variety of conditions when it was first tried were most encouraging, a striking feature being that it dissolved pus and left the surfaces of infected wounds clean, so that its germicidal action became very effective without any apparent damage to the tissues.
This was something new, as most effective germicides destroy tissue as well as bacteria. Other conditions include: use of an antiseptic mouthwash in dentistry; infections of the nasopharynx; powerful antibacterial deodorant properties; and strong disinfecting action on typhoid bacilli indicating it was more than 60 times stronger than ordinary hand soap.
Worldwide interest increased and numerous reports from other countries indicated tea tree oil's power in treating mouth and throat infections, gynecological problems, parasitic and fungal skin conditions as well as its incredible antiseptic properties. So tea tree oil became known as a miracle healer.
Properties and Uses
Antifungal: Tea tree oil's antifungal properties make it very beneficial in the treatment of
athlete's foot, ringworm and conditions caused by Candida albicans such as thrush. Antiseptic / Bactericidal: Tea tree oil is an excellent first aid treatment for burns, cuts, infected splinters, insect bites, wounds of many types, including those that are dirty or contain pus. For general skin care, it is an excellent antiseptic in the treatment of acne and blackheads.
Anti-viral: Tea tree oil’s powerful anti-viral properties make it very useful against many common viral infectious diseases and problems.
Immuno-stimulant: Tea tree oil is a valuable preventative remedy, helping the body use its own wisdom to fight off infection.
Conditions affecting the skin, such as bruises, burns and cuts, benefit from tea tree oil's pain-killing(analgesic), anti-inflammatory and wound healing (cicatrizant) properties. Tea tree oil is seven times more soothing than aloe vera.
Problems such as lice, mosquitoes, scabies and other types of insect and parasite infestations are greatly alleviated by tea tree oil's insecticide and parasiticide properties. Tea tree oil has a diaphoretic effect, which means it taps into the body's natural preventative response against infection with its ability to promote sweating when the body needs to.
Tea tree oil displays balsamic and expectorant properties. These are very beneficial for chest and throat infections. In addition, it is soothing and helps clear mucus from the respiratory tract and it is an aromatic. Finally, tea tree oil is a natural solvent that makes it very beneficial for biodegradable cleaning products in the home and workplace.
The purer and better balanced the concentration of medicinal chemicals in the oil, the better the likelihood it will have therapeutic properties you want. Smell does not necessarily indicate it is 100% pure botanical oil. If you are seeking therapeutic benefits from an essential oil it is very important that you get the very best you can afford.