The Benefits Tea Tree Essential Oil

Use the following guide to reap the benefits of tea tree essential oil — a first-aid kit in a bottle.

| January / February 2018

  • Tea tree has promise as an antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.
    Photo by Getty/Images/Amy_Lv
  • Tree tea has an intense but pleasant minty aroma.
    Photo by GettyImages/narvikk

Years ago my husband and I were driving through the countryside in Western Australia when a sharp, minty aroma started wafting through the windows of our car. About a mile down the road we detected the source of the intense but pleasant aroma: We had stumbled upon a tea tree plantation. After noticing that the plantation was open to the public, we drove in to check it out — all the while, the intensity of the aroma magnified. To this day I associate the smell of tea tree, or Melaleuca alternifolia, with that drive in Australia.

The essential oil extracted from the tea tree is highly versatile and functions as a one-product first-aid kit. That’s because the oil has promising antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Healing with Tea Tree Essential Oil

While tea tree oil can be used for a host of health concerns, here are a few of its many amazing healing properties:

Multipurpose Antimicrobial: Tea tree has been used for centuries for its potent antimicrobial action, which is supported by many scientific studies documenting its success against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and E. faecalis. Research published in the journal ScienceDirect showed that tea tree oil is effective against S. aureus and the biofilms it creates. Biofilms are thin, potentially health-damaging layers of microorganisms that secrete substances to help ensure their survival in or on the body. Tea tree essential oil may be applied directly to infections undiluted, with the proper caution, or diluted in a carrier oil. It can also be diffused into the air.

Antifungal Aid: Unlike pharmaceutical drugs that tend to target bacteria, viruses or fungi individually, tea tree has been found to be effective against all three microbes at once. In a study published in the journal Oral Oncology, researchers assessed the effectiveness of tea tree oil against 301 different types of yeasts (which are technically fungi) from the mouths of cancer patients suffering from oral infections, including 41 strains that were known to be resistant to antifungal drugs. Tea tree showed varying degrees of effectiveness against them all. Depending on the type of infection, tea tree oil can be applied to the skin undiluted, in a carrier oil or diffused into the air.

Athlete’s Foot Fighter: In addition to tea tree’s capacity as a broad-spectrum fungal fighter, it shows effectiveness against the fungus responsible for athlete’s foot, which is known as Tinea pedis. In a study published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, researchers found that 72 percent of patients who used a 25-percent solution of tea tree (diluted 1:3 in a carrier oil) had marked improvement in their condition, compared with only 39 percent of patients in the placebo group. Still, more clinical trials are needed to cement a place for tea tree oil as a topical medicinal agent. Conduct a skin patch test to ensure you’re not sensitive to the oil, then apply 1:3 parts tea tree oil to carrier oil for sensitive skin.

1/2/2018 10:58:42 AM

We love tea tree oil! I used it to stop the crazy intense itching of psoriasis, the pain of shingles, healing my husbands feet from athletes foot, It Works!! It slowly removes dark blotches on your skin, I can't say enough good about this oil!

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