The tea tree oil is extracted from a plant that originally grew in Australian called as Melaleuca alternifolia. For many years, the tea tree has been used to treat wounds because of its strong antiseptic properties. Medical studies showed that it has the ability to kill various strains of viruses, bacteria and fungi.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
This essential oil is consisting of more than 100 components including terpene hydrocarbons and their alcohols. The terpenoids have antiseptic and antifungal properties that can treat various ailments.
It is also the reason why tea tree oil has been used as an active ingredient for different products such as soaps, shampoos, lotions, ointments and creams.
Top 10 Tea Tree Oil Uses and Benefits
Many scientific studies proved the antimicrobial prowess of tea tree oil. Just like other essential oils, the tea tree oil has a positive synergistic effect. This means that it prevents developing antibiotic resistance. Here are some of the possible and safe uses of this natural oil:
Home remedy for acne
This essential oil is an active ingredient in many skin care products. Studies showed that it is equally effective as benzoyl peroxide that’s why it’s considered as an effective home remedy for acne (1).
However, it does not pose negative effects like dried, red and peeling skin. If you want to try tea tree oil for acne, you can make your own acne face wash. You can mix two teaspoons of honey and five drops of tea tree essential oil.
You can rub the mixture on your face and leave it for a minute and wash it after.
Good for the hair
Tea tree oil can treat dry flaking skin and remove dandruff just like the coconut oil. It has also the ability to get rid of lice. With this, this essential oil helps promote healthy hair and scalp (2).
Using tea tree oil shampoo can control dandruff formation at the same time reduce greasiness and itchiness.
You can make your own homemade tea tree oil shampoo by mixing the oil with coconut milk, lavender oil, and aloe vera gel.
Natural eczema treatment
This essential oil is considered to be effective for skin inflammation including psoriasis and eczema. Those skin conditions can be treated by making your own homemade eczema body soap or lotion.
All you have to do is to mix five drops of lavender oil, five drops of tea tree oil and a teaspoon of coconut oil.
Another way to use this essential oil is a household cleaner. It works as an effective cleanser because of its antimicrobial properties. That’s why you can ensure that it can kill and eliminate bad bacteria thriving in your home.
Making a mixture of water, vinegar, lemon essential oil and tea tree oil is the cheapest way to prepare your own household cleanser. You can use the solution in cleaning the kitchen appliances, toilet, sinks, shower and countertops.
Because of its antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil can also help to get rid body odor. It can kill the bacteria that causes body odor. Thus, it is used as one of the ingredients in deodorant available in the market.
But, by mixing baking soda, coconut oil and tea tree oil, you can make a homemade deodorant. Putting lemon essential oil and tea tree oil in your sports gear and shoes can keep them odor-free and fresh.
Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties that’s why it can treat fungal infections and kill parasites. It is a perfect treatment for ringworm, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus.
It is also beneficial for removing and treating warts. This can be possible by putting tea tree oil on the affected area twice daily for 30 days.
For stubborn fungi, you can mix oregano oil and tea tree oil and apply it directly.
Eliminates mold infestation
Many homes experience mold infestation, but many people were not aware of it. Tea tree oil can kill bad bacteria and mold. You can use a diffuser or spray the tea tree oil cleaner on the toilet, dishwasher, laundry machine and shower curtains to prevent mold build up.
For oral health
Aside from killing off bad bacteria in your mouth, the tea tree oil can also soothe inflamed skin. That’s why this essential oil has been used in making mouthwash and toothpaste.
You can mix baking soda, coconut oil and tea tree oil to make a homemade toothpaste. It can reduce the possibility of developing tooth decay and bleeding of gums.
Treatment for cuts and infections
Making a mixture of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil is an effective wound ointment. A study revealed that this essential oil can cease staph infections and kills MRSA.
If you will use tea tree oil, you should clean first the cut with hydrogen peroxide and water before applying the oil. Cover the cut with a bandage to prevent infections.
Alleviates the symptoms of skin cancer
Both the frankincense oil and tea tree oil have anti-cancer properties. You can mix these oils along with raspberry seed oil to treat abnormal skin lesions.
Apply the mixture three times a day in the affected area.
Side Effects of Tea Tree Oil
The aborigines of Australia have been using tea tree oil as a home remedy for various ailments because of its antimicrobial and antiseptic effects. However, the terpenes present in this healthy oil can cause side effects when used improperly.
- Allergies: Some people may show allergic reactions when using tea tree oil. That’s why it’s not recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers. When you’re using this oil, make sure not to expose it to light and air, otherwise, it may result in oxidation.
- Rashes: Using undiluted tea tree oil for topical application can cause adverse skin reactions. That’s why you should not apply it directly on your skin to avoid developing severe rashes and redness of skin. Itchiness and blisters may also appear on your skin.
- Adverse effects: Adverse effects can be expected when using the high concentration of this healthy oil. Some possible effects include systemic contact dermatitis, systemic hypersensitivity, erythema multiforme, linear immunoglobulin disease and serious skin irritations.
- Toxic: Using tea tree oil in high concentration can be toxic. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, drowsiness, vomiting, weakness, stomach upset and confusion.
- Bad breath: Tea tree oil is used in formulating mouthwash, but you should be extra cautious in using it. This may bad breath and worse moderate burn in your mouth particularly when it comes in contact with soft oral tissue.
- Interfere with hormones: Tea tree oil can interfere the normal functioning of hormones because it is estrogenic. There are cases in which young boys have developed prepubertal gynaecomastia or growth of breasts.
- Ear toxicity: It is not allowed to apply a large dose of tea tree oil into your middle ear as it can be toxic.
- Blistering disorder: People suffering from immune disease should not use tea tree oil because it can cause blistering disorder.
- Negative interaction with dietary supplements: Tea tree oil has a negative interaction with dietary supplements and medications including antihistamines, anti-acne, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. When it interacts with supplements and herbs it can adversely affect the nervous system, blood circulation and hormones.
- Alters the effects of specific drugs: Using tea tree oil can alter the effects of specific drugs and the way the body processes it. To avoid the possible side effects of tea tree oil, make sure to use it properly. Ask your healthcare provider before using this essential oil for your safety.
The tea tree oil is a volatile essential oil that boosts anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic effects. Its components have a powerful effect to eliminate harmful bacteria.
The volatile hydrocarbons present in tea tree oil are aromatic and can travel through air, mucous membranes and skin pores.
Knowing all the uses and benefits of using this essential oil, we can say that it is safe to use it as long as it is the right amount.
Dietitian with around 5 years of experience in assessing the nutritional needs of patients, counselling individuals, communicating the appropriate nutritional information to other members of the health care team and implementing nutritional care plans by following all the standards.