Melaleuca which is also known as ‘tea tree’ is a popular remedy for skin ailments. It is an antiseptic and has healing properties. The tea tree oil is an essential oil which is distilled from the leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It has been used for more than a century, and the chemical in it may kill many strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi and reduce allergic reactions.
Tea tree oil (TTO) has found its uses in various applications. You can use it for cleaning the air by killing mold or a chemical-free agent for cleaning products.
You can use TTO for the local application to the area of the body where you have a skin problem, or it may even be used to get rid of viral infections.
It has found its uses as the active ingredient in many products of daily use such as face wash, massage oil, shampoos, cosmetic creams, and detergents.
Tea tree oil benefits
The benefits are classified as:
Tea tree oil benefits make it necessary to give it a permanent place in our medicine chest.
Here’s what it can do for:
Tea tree oil has been used for centuries to treat acne. Australian researchers in a study (1) say that 5 % solution of tea tree oil works just same as benzoyl peroxide which is recommended by the drugstore for the same purpose.
This essential oil must be diluted with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel and applied to the skin once or maximum twice a day.
Don’t overdo it, as the tea tree oil has the property of drying out your skin which in turn will make your skin overproduce its oils, making acne worse.
Make sure to stay indoors after you apply this solution since tea tree oil makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
Tea tree oil may not work as fast as benzoyl, but it will cause less skin irritation. Use TTO as directed above for 45 days and it will reduce several acne symptoms.
Tea tree oil can be used to treat onychomycosis which is fungus infection of nails. You can apply 100% tea tree oil twice a day for a month to cure fungal toenail infection.
According to a study (2), TTO will improve the appearance of the nail too. The effects in about 56% of patients were noticed in the first 3 months, whereas 60% saw the results in the next 6 months.
However, the tea tree oil applied with a lower concentration has no benefits whatsoever.
3. Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Tea tree oil is effective in treating and relieving the symptoms of athlete’s foot, which includes scaling, inflammation, itching, and burning.
By applying 10% TTO cream you will get relief from these symptoms, but not a cure. If it is used in a higher concentration, maybe 25% or even 50%, then Tinea pedis could get cured.
A study (3) shows that half the people who used it in high concentration were not only set free from the symptoms but were also set free from the ailment itself. But you should at least try it for 4 weeks.
4. Hair treatment
Tea Tree Oil unclogs hair follicles and nourish the hair roots, and thus encourages hair growth. If dandruff is your problem, then tea tree is your solution.
Dandruff clogs the pores of hair and results in itching and inflammation, ultimately cause hair fall.
As early studies (4) indicate, when 5% tea tree oil based shampoo is used 3 minutes daily for 4 weeks, it will reduce scalp itchiness and greasiness in people having dandruff.
TTO is effective in treating children with a cradle cap.
5. Oral Health
Results from several studies show that the effects of tea tree oil on the dental plaque are inconsistent.
Early studies had shown that when 2.5% of TTO gel was used for brushing twice daily for 8 weeks, there is a reduction of the papillary bleeding index (bleeding of gums) but not plaque; especially in people having gingivitis caused by plaque.
A reduction of the plaque was not noticed during professional cleaning when tea tree oil contained mouthwash was used.
However, when Tebodont, a specialized product which contains TTO and a chemical named xylitol, was used, a reduction in plaque was noticed.
Also, when a product containing a mixture of tea tree oil, holy basil, and clove was applied, there was a reduction in plaque.
Various results from different studies (6) have shown that when TTO is used along with peppermint and lemon oil, bad breath got reduced significantly in a 3-minute oral cleansing.
Results from studies (7) have shown that effects of tea tree oil on Gingivitis are inconsistent. However, when a drop of this essential oil was used in the toothpaste, a considerable reduction of gum inflammation was seen.
The bacteria-killing attribute of TTO results in reduced Gingivitis.
6. Reduction in facial hair
Unwanted hair growth in women known as hirsutism. You can get significant relief from this issue if you apply tea tree oil twice in a day for three months.
You should apply it after combining it with Lavender oil. A study (8) showed that the women who used the combination of lavender oil and TTO on a pre-cleansed face as prescribed above had experienced a reduction in the growth of hair on their faces.
7. Psoriasis and Eczema
As told earlier, tea tree oil is used as a treatment for skin ailments for past hundred years at least. It should be used with care as it is an essential oil.
The oil may be mixed with water and applied to the skin with a cotton ball. You have to leave it overnight and wash it off in the morning. The tea tree oil may be diluted with olive oil or any other carrier oil and applied to the affected area.
You may wash it off after it has dried. Soaking in a bathtub, where to the water a few drops of tea tree oil have been added is also a good idea. A part of the tea tree oil may be added to 10 parts of shampoo too.
The benefits of tea tree oil in vaginal infection are:
Trichomoniasis can be treated using tea tree oil. Various studies (9) suggests that it has been beneficial for people with such infections.
Test results (10) have shown that the TTO has given relief to persons with vaginal candidiasis infection.
9. Yeast Infections in the Mouth and Throat
Thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis is a yeast infection of mouth and throat. It most commonly affects people with HIV/AIDS.
Tea tree solution which is swished and expelled for 2 to 4 weeks have shown the reduction in the infection. Persons with oral cancer have found comfort by using this essential oil in part.
A study (11) was conducted on 25 individuals on the benefits of tea tree oil for persons affected with thrush and such yeast infections in the mouth, 15 out of the 25 responded as follows.
- 28% fully cured
- 32 % had fewer symptoms
They had used tea tree oil in the form of mouthwash.
10. Household cleaning
Tea tree oil is an antifungal has excellent cleaning properties and is an indispensable tool in your home.(12)
Three drops of tea tree oil added to the washing machine along with the detergent refreshes your clothes and removes bad odor caused by microbial accumulation inside the washing machine.
Purification of air
A few drops of tea tree oil in an oil diffuser can naturally deodorize your home and disinfect the air.
The aromatherapy of tea tree oil can act as a supplementary treatment for cancer patients, reducing anxiety and improving sleep.
A solution of 2 cups of hot water mixed with 10 drops of tea tree oil and half a cup of white vinegar acts as a general disinfectant.
You can store this solution in a spray can and use whenever necessary.
A few drops of tea tree oil mixed with boiling water and inhaled while covered with a towel will clear a blocked nose.
Tea tree oil is an excellent and natural mold fighter. Make a solution of 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in water.
Then add vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap in this solution and use this mixture for scrubbing the toilet. You will a guaranteed sparkling toilet.
Everything that is beneficial becomes beneficial, only when used correctly will give the desired results. However, you should take certain precautions while you use this essential oil.
Even though it suits most people, it can still cause irritation and swelling in some people. Past observations have shown skin dryness, itching, stinging burning and redness in a few people.
To avoid such occurrences, it is advisable to first test it by applying a small drop on your arms. If such a test does not cause any adverse reaction, then you may start using the same as suggested.
Do not consume tea tree oil orally. This could have severe side effects, such as confusion, inability to walk, unsteadiness, rash and even coma.