Tea Tree Oil Benefits & Uses
Today I want to share with you one of my favorite essential oils, one I am sure you have heard of, or even seen in recipes for homemade cleaners here on Bullock’s Buzz: tea tree oil.
About Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil (aka Melaleuca oil) is an essential oil that comes from the leaves of the plant Melaleuca alternifolia (a member of the myrtle family) which is native to Australia and cannot be found naturally occurring anywhere else. Though the Aborigines have been using it in their medications for centuries, it has not been until the last decade that its healing benefits have caught on across the world.
Tea tree oil’s effectiveness is owed to its ‘Big Three’ antimicrobial properties. First of all, it acts as an anti-fungal to get rid of basic fungal infections. Secondly, it has anti-viral properties to help you fight off infections. Finally, part of its antiviral properties includes its work as an anti-bacterial, which kills bacteria and prevents it from growing.
It can be used to treat many ailments such as skin infections, rashes, athlete’s foot, dandruff, cuts, minor burns, insect bites and more. Yet before we get into some of its many uses, I want to note that tea tree oil should never be ingested or used inside the mouth.
If ingested, it can be quite toxic causing all sorts of issues ranging from confusion to coma. It should also never be used on babies younger than 6 months, nor left where pets can get into it – particularly cats. If you have sensitive skin, you may find that it is too harsh to use, unless you use it in diluted form.
Tea Tree Oil can be used at full strength, or it can be dissolved/diluted in water or a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil. When used to treat skin infections and other skin conditions, it can be applied directly to the skin in full potency or diluted form. For colds and other respiratory illnesses, it can be added to a vaporizer so that the mist can be inhaled. Drops of the oil can also be added to bath water. You can even find it in all sorts of products now including deodorants, shampoos, soaps, antibiotic first aid creams and even household cleaning products.
20 Great Everyday Uses for Tea Tree Oil
- Helps heal and soothe sunburns: mix 1 TB coconut oil, 1 drop of tea tree and 1 drop of lavender, and gently apply to sunburned areas.
- Heals skin infections naturally including psoriasis. Rub a few drops of tea tree oil, diluted in a little olive oil, into your psoriasis patches several times a day.
- Helps dermatitis: Add 10 drops oil to 1 tbsp of grape seed or other oil and massage into affected areas. Repeat 2-3 times daily.
- Treats bad breath and gum disease: create a mouthwash with 1 1/3 cups purified water, 5 drops of peppermint oil and 6 drops of tea tree oil. Swish, but DO NOT swallow.
- Relieves asthma or other breathing conditions when a few drops are added to a humidifier. Can also add 5 – 10 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil, and massage into chest and throat 2 – 3 times daily.
- Works as an antiseptic on small cuts. After cleaning the area well, apply a few drops of the oil directly. If a bandage is needed, allow a few drops of the oil to penetrate a cotton ball, then lay it face down on the wound and cover with a bandage.
- Treats acne: dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel and apply to skin once or twice a day with a cotton swab.
- Gets rids of head lice: add a small amount to shampoo.
- Removes ticks; just add a few drops of undiluted oil to the skin, and the tiny bugs will usually unlatch.
- Soothes insect bites/stings: apply 1 to 2 drops directly to affected area.
- Treats toenail fungus: apply a drop or two of 100 percent pure tea tree oil to the discolored nail.
- Treats Athlete’s foot: add a few drops to a tablespoon of witch hazel and apply to the affected area with a cotton swab three times a day.
- Helps cold sores: apply tea tree essential oil directly on the cold sore three or four times a day. Be careful not to ingest.
- Works as an effective insect repellant: 15 drops in a quart of water (household ants and other pests dislike Tea Tree Oil, so a few drops put at the point of entry will deter them).
- Repels fleas in pet crates or beds: add just a few drops (keep pets away until completely dry)
- Works as an all-purpose cleaner: combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. To keep germs at bay, spray it on highchairs, car seats, and other high traffic spots.
- Cleans bathroom tiles and tubs: mix 14 ounces of water with 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Add kosher salt.
- Freshens laundry: add a few drops in your washing machine to scent your clothes. Also, if you forgot to put the clothes in the dryer, run again with tea tree oil to remove mildew. You can even scent wool dryer balls with tea tree oil.
- Cleans dishes: add a few drops to dishwasher dispenser, then fill with a green dishwashing soap.
- Cleans mold: mix apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil, then scrub mold. Once finished, place outside to sun-dry.
When purchasing the oil, as with any essential oil, you want to make sure you are buying it in its purest form from a reputable company. Many companies will add other ingredients in order to cut costs, increase shelf life, or enhance the oil’s aroma.
These additives can reduce the effectiveness of the oil, and in some cases could even be harmful. The oil should also be in a dark-colored, airtight bottle which keeps air and light from altering the oil in any way. Once the oil arrives, be sure to do a skin test before using.
Where You Can Purchase Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil can be found at many stores both online and off. One of my personal favorites is Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil which can be found exclusively on Amazon.com. Their “Pharmaceutical Grade as established by the Australian Tea Tree Oil Industry Association” tea tree oil is 100% pure, containing no fillers, additives, preservatives, parabens, bases or carrier oils.
I’ve been using the oil for several weeks now and am beyond happy with it. It is very effective in my homemade household cleaner, and in all of the other recipes I have tried.
Plus, I really like that the bottle top has a built-in dropper. Not only do I know exactly how much I am using, but I also don’t have to hunt for a dropper every time I need some oil. As a bonus, it also comes with a free PDF document that tells you all about the oil and is filled with great recipes for everything from shampoo to aromatherapy to household cleaners!