Tea tree oil became wildly popular around the turn of the century, and for a good reason.
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the narrow-leaved tea tree, which is native to areas around Australia. The natives of areas where narrow-leaved tea trees grow are known historically to use it as a medicinal substance in a variety of ways.
- The leaves can be crushed up and the fumes from the released oils are inhaled to help cleanse the lungs of pulmonary issues
- The extracted oil can be used on the skin to improve dermatological conditions
- It can be used as a hair tonic to help liven up hair and keep it looking young
Why is tea tree oil so special?
Tea tree oil has been indicated to cure a wide variety of conditions in both ethnic medical practices and western, more traditional varieties. It’s very popular in naturopathic clinics and is one of the most popular essential oils used for medicinal benefit.
Tea tree oil has been known in the ethno-botanical community as a cure-all for centuries, and it's lived up to its reputation. The tea tree grows in the tropics, where diseases and bacterial infections flourish. In many natural areas where a disease or illness has emerged as a result of natural development, a panacea or cure typically emerges alongside. Tea tree oil has proven itself as an effective antibiotic cure-all for tons of different diseases.
There are a number of active constituents that make up tea tree essential oil, the main ones being:
- Alpha-pinene, present in pine trees and cannabis, which contributes to the sharp fresh scent of these plants
- Beta-pinene, also present in the prior plants, is used as an insecticide and adhesive
- Sabinene, an anti-fungal antioxidant
- Myrcene is one of the compounds present in cannabis that’s responsible for so many of its various health benefits
- Alpha-phellandrene helps promote immune responses in healthy individuals
- Limonene is found in the peels of limes and lemons and helps with various things
- Cineole is a particularly potent chemical that comes up several times in this article
- Para-cymene which is what gives cumin some of its health benefits
- Terpinolene is one of the strongest antimicrobial agents present in tea tree oil
- Linalool is also present in cannabis and serves many different functions
These compounds work in harmony to prove the antifungal, antimicrobial, health-bolstering effects that tea tree oil is so well-known for.
1.Tea tree oil is a great antibacterial
This is one of the most well-reputed uses of tea tree oil. It fights all sorts of bacterial infections tea tree, and is particularly effective against tropical bacteria which can be tough for the human body to fight by itself.
Because of this, tea tree oil is found in almost all Australian households. It's proven so effective aet fighting local illnesses in the hot and arid regions down under that most people carry some as a primary remedy to fight against infections.
While tea tree oil should not be consumed in its full concentration, it is possible to take orally in rare cases. It can, in lower concentrations, help to eliminate internal bacteria that can grow in the digestive system, affecting the colon, intestines or stomach.
Conclusion: Bacteria are notorious for causing a whole host of seemingly infinite problems (as well as being very useful for lots of things in the human body.) Bad bacteria can be a nuisance, and tea tree oil has proven effective at fighting countless types of dangerous bacteria.
2. Tea tree oil is good at fighting acne
Tea tree oil has journal emerged as one of the most popular acne-fighting medications these days, and has even shown to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient present in some of the strongest acne-fighting medications.
Tea tree oil can be used in a similar manner, by applying topically on acne-prone area, without risking some of the unpleasant side effects that are commonly associated with using benzoyl peroxide.
Use caution when using tea tree oil to fight acne. Excessive use can lead to dry skin which would cause your body to make an excess of its own oil, ultimately leading to more clogged pores and a worsening of the problem that you’re trying to fight in the first place.
Tea tree oil also makes the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet rays, so if you’re planning to use it to fight acne on areas of your body that are typically exposed, stay out of the sun or cover them up. Don’t use it on your face before going to the beach!
Conclusion: Tea tree oil si one of the safest and most appealing alternatives to pharmaceutical acne medication. It treats acne with a risk of less-severe side effects than those associated with traditional acne medication, and leaves your skin smelling fresh in a completely natural way..
3. Tea tree oil is great for your hair
Tea tree oil is shown to be very helpful for human hair. It's effective at maintaining the health of your scalp, and, in turn, keeping the hair that emerges strong, healthy, and young-looking. It does this in a way that does no lasting damage, which is nice when compared to some more traditional, medicated pharmaceutical options.
Its benefits are similar to those of coconut oil: tea tree oil discourages the skin from flaking, which would naturally limit the amount of dandruff you experience. It can get rid of lice, and it will help keep your hair strong and shiny.
Tea tree oil’s even helpful in non-visible conditions.
- Some people are cursed with an itchy scalp, even though they don’t have dandruff. This is really annoying and the aggravated scratching of the scalp can lead to premature hair loss.
- Sometimes these itchy conditions are caused by fungi, bacteria or allergic reactions, and tea tree oil is a good contender for fighting all of these problems.
- It’ll prevent the onset of scalp eczema or other more visible conditions, as well.
Tea tree oil, particularly when mixed with peppermint oil, has proven its ability to fight off head lice. It’s not recommended to use tea tree oil to fight off lice or fleas on pets, though, because the skin of animals is often much more sensitive than that of a human.
- Tea tree oil has been studied and proven effective at killing lice, not only in their infantile stages, but in the adult stage as well. This means that you can kill off mature lice, preventing them from laying eggs, as well as kill any lice growing in eggs that may not have hatched yet.
- Another study shows that children treated with typical lice-removing shampoo were only successful in treating their lice about a quarter of the time, where nearly all of the kids who used tea tree oil succeeded.
- Two compounds in the oil are known to eliminate lice:
- 1,8 cineole, which is a known insecticide.
- Terpineol, another powerful compound that can sometimes cause allergic reactions in people.
Conclusion: There’s a whole lot of different reasons you might want to start using tea tree oil in your hair. It’s easy enough to mix into a shampoo for thinning hair, and has been proven to fight scalp-related issues ranging from itchy, flaky dandruff to weak hair.
4. Tea tree oil can fight sore throats
As long as you’re careful not to swallow any, you can use tea tree oil to help cure your sore throat.
If you have a sore throat caused by bacteria or viruses, which are what cause the common flu and cold, you can likely eliminate a sore throat right at the source. The bacteria are causing your mucous membranes in your lungs and throat to become inflamed, which makes them sore.
If you garge a solution of tea tree oil and water, you’ll find immediate relief from the pain and possibly from the inflammation.
Another way to reap the benefits of tea tree oil for a sore throat is to put a few drops in a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Being careful, breathe in the steam. This allows the medicinal benefits of the tea tree oil to be fully absorbed into your body without actually being ingested.
Experienced users can drape a towel over the back of their head and around the side of the pots, allowing the steam to become trapped inside. This Makes it much easier to inhale. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes and you’ll feel a significant difference.
Conclusion: Tea tree oil is an underrated and underused method of fighting sore throats that are associated with colds and flus. If you mix the oil in some water and gargle it, or inhale the vapours, you can ease your symptoms. This is a great way to help get rid of sinus infections and stuffy noses.
5. Tea tree oil is great for oral health
As mentioned in the previous few paragraphs, tea tree oil can kill bacteria in your throat.
Logic would tell us that we can use tea tree oil to improve oral health in general, not just in our throat. It can be used in mouthwash and toothpaste to add an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory benefit.
Tea tree oil also slows the development of gums bleeding and slows tooth decay; the Tea Tree Group, an Australian group that extensively studies tea tree oil, has done many studies to prove what a wide range of bacteria tea tree oil can eliminate from the mouth.
If you don’t want to use one of the recipes listed later in the article to make your own mouthwash, you can simply add a drop of tea tree oil onto your toothbrush before brushing your teeth.
Again, be extra cautious - you don’t want to swallow any of the oil when you’re using the mouthwash or toothpaste.
Conclusion: Tea tree oil is a very underrated tool for fighting oral health issues. It can improve your breath by killing bacteria, and also helps to fight off degenerative oral diseases like gum decay.
6. Tea tree oil helps fight eczema
Eczema is an inflammatory disease of the skin that results in red, blotchy and sometimes itchy patches all over the skin.
Tea tree oil is shown to help relieve all sorts of skin inflammation, which means it's a great cure for eczema as well as psoriasis. It also can reduce the symptoms of these skin conditions by reducing any related swelling or inflammation, either caused by the disease or caused by scratching resulting from discomfort.
To see the best benefits in fighting these two skin diseases, mix five drops of tea tree oil in with about a teaspoon of coconut oil. You can add five drops of lavender oil if you have it, but it will work well without it. Apply this to the affected areas and watch as your symptoms disappear.
Conclusion: People with eczema should consider tea tree oil treatments. It’s effective at eliminating symptoms related to the disease and can actually help curb the progress of the illness and help eliminate it.
7. Tea tree oil is good at fighting fungus
If you're susceptible to fungal infections, which can include athlete's foot, toenail fungi, and even ringworm (which, despite its name, isn't actually a worm – it's a fungus!)
Tea tree oil can be used in an undiluted form to fight stubborn infections – typically it's mixed or diluted with other substances because the undiluted oil can lead to side effects, but certain types of fungal infections require a more direct assault.
Tea tree oil was studied in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology for its ability to fight ringworm. Turns out, that ability is great! Ringworm is a very contagious fungal infection that can be spread on contact between people, animals, and even things that infected people come into contact with.
Study subjects who used tea tree oil showed that their ringworm was cured after four weeks in 64% of cases. Not only does tea tree oil prevent the fungus from surviving but it also hinders its ability to spread. You can use it as a spray-on disinfectant to help eliminate the contagions present on any personal items you use.
For highly stubborn infections, consider mixing your tea tree oil with another antifungal such as oregano oil.
Conclusion: Tea tree oil is one of the best natural anti-fungal agents you can find. When used persistently, it can fight off some highly resistant fungal infections including athlete’s foot and ringworm.
8. Tea tree oil kills mold
Naturally, with mold being a type of fungus, one would assume that tea tree oil is an effective mold killer. Mold can be a devastating issue - when inhaled, it can leave spores in the lungs which can lead to deadly infections. Mold grows everywhere, too - in the house, in the car, in your clothes, in the garage. Dealing with it is very important for maintenance of good health.
Tea tree oil can be used for eliminating mold, which is an ever-increasing problem in western households. Tea tree oil can be added to a diffuser and diffused in different areas in your house that are prone to developing mold.
You can also directly spray tea tree oil, diluted with water in a spray-bottle, onto surfaces or linens, shower curtains, laundry machines, an air purifier for mold etc. to eliminate the chance of mold developing. Using tea tree oil in your laundry can help to eliminate any mold spores that may have taken up residence in your trousers.
Conclusion: Tea tree oil’s a fantastic fighter against mold, and can be easily prepared for use in many different situations. Tea tree oil can be sprayed on any surface mold might grow and effectively limit its growth.
9. Tea tree oil is great for dressing wounds
Tea tree oil, particularly when mixed with lavender essential oil, which offers a synergistic enhancement to the tea tree oil, can be used as a great wound dressing salve.
After washing any wounds first with water, you can apply a salve of tea tree and lavender oil on a bandage or a cloth. Tea tree oil's even been shown to fight staph infections and other antibiotic resistant infections.
Studies have shown that tea tree oil is a powerful disinfectant, as well as being non-poisonous and gentle (though its consumption can lead to unpleasant side effects.) It’s been shown to be twelve times more potent in terms of healing infections than the standard antiseptic used during the time of the study, which was carbolic acid.
Conclusion: Tea tree oil might be able to replace the hydrogen peroxide in your medical kit! It’s been proven to be a powerful antiseptic and it can fight off infections from all sorts of different sources, so applying it to wounds before bandaging them makes a huge difference.
10. Tea tree oil can be used as an insecticide
Considering how effective tea tree oil is at killing fungi and bacteria, it's no big surprise that it can also kill bugs and insects. Mosquitoes, fleas, and small flies cannot survive ingesting tea tree oil, making it a good mosquito killer, so spraying yourself with it makes an effective deterrent for these pests.
Tea tree oil is absorbed marginally through the skin, and in doing so can actually be effective at fighting internal parasites like tapeworms and roundworms. Ingesting tea tree oil should not be done except in the most medically supervised situations, since it's toxic at its normal concentration.
One way to do this is to soak cotton balls in tea tree oil and hide them in strategic areas around your house. If you place them well enough, you’ll soon find that bugs won’t want to go anywhere near your house!
You can prevent the growth of fruit flies by sponging compost or garbage cans with tea tree oil.
Conclusion: You can save money on having to buy insect repellant by using tea tree oil, which is proven to be an effective insecticide. It staves off flies, bugs, and spiders, who can’t handle the compounds that constitute the oil.
11. Tea tree oil soothes insect bites and stings
For those who weren't able to use tea tree oil as an insecticide in time to fight off those nasty, biting bugs, don’t worry. Tea tree oil can still help you!
It’s a great substance for treating mosquito bites and other itchy, scratchy, painful bug bites. Tea tree oil acts as a disinfectant and helps to reduce any inflammation in the area, as well as providing a soothing topical sensation.
You’ll want to make sure you dilute the tea tree oil before you apply it directly to an exposed bug bite.
Conclusion: If you don’t manage to cover yourself with your tea tree insect repellant, you’re still in luck, since the oil can soothe any bites you receive from bugs that make it past the repellant.
Risks and Cautions When Using Tea Tree Oil
Something as powerful and awesome as tea tree oil doesn’t come without risks.It only makes sense that something capable of killing mold, bacteria, and diseases could potentially carry a hazard if used incorrectly.
Tea tree oil is generally considered safe if it’s applied as directed and is not ingested. However, there are a few things to be cautious of, even for everyday use.
- Tea tree oil may irritate the skin, especially for those who aren’t used to using it to treat skin conditions
- Start using low concentrations of tea tree oil. You can do this by diluting it with another oil, like coconut oil, or even using water and shaking it up prior to using.
- Tea tree oil allergies can be very serious. It’s important to make sure you don’t have an allergy to tea tree oil before using it. You can determine this by using a small amount of diluted oil and applying it to your inner arm or another out of the way spot. Wait a while, and if no adverse reaction occurs, you’ll be fine.
- Different brands and concentrations of tea tree oil contain different amounts of compounds. 1,8-cineole is one compound particularly notorious for causing allergic reactions. 1,8-cineole is a skin irritant on its own, and can be present in high amounts in certain brands.
- Swallowing tea tree oil can cause serious reactions. These can include rashes, blood cell imbalance or dysfunction, gastric problems like diarrhea and nausea or vomiting, as well as fatigue, hallucinations and a loss of motor control.
- Tea tree oil is just as toxic to pets, so be careful and ensure that there’s no way they might accidentally consume tea tree oil. Also, don’t use undiluted oil on the skin of your pets!
Recipes that Use Tea Tree Oil
There’s a whole heck of a lot of different benefits from using tea tree oil, and a whole heck of alot more different ways you can prepare the stuff for application.
You obviously won’t want to use the same recipe that you used for helping yourself clean the bathroom floor, as you use on your face. Some of these recipes are actually quite strong and could be unpleasant if used incorrectly, likewise, some are weak and wouldn’t be effective if used for anything other than intended.
1. Tea tree oil acne face wash recipe
Take five drops of pure tea tree essential oils and mix it into a couple teaspoons of raw honey. You might need to use some water to dilute the honey so the oil mixes more readily, or, if you're planning to use the mask quickly, a splash of cream or milk. These dairy products can add a hydrating effect to the face wash which can counter the tea tree oil's side effects, which can sometimes include dry or peeling skin.
Rub this wash on your face and leave it on for a minute or two, then rinse off. Your face will be left smelling good.
2. Tea tree oil shampoo
Take several drops of tea tree oil and mix them with a teaspoon of aloe vera gel and mix with coconut milk until the mixture reaches a shampoo-like consistency. If you desire, you can mix with other essential oils like lavender or frankincense for added benefits or to create a smell tailored to your personal preference.
3. Tea tree oil deodorant
Tea tree oil makes a great deodorant, not just because it has its own inherent smell that a lot of people enjoy, but because of its antimicrobial properties. Bad body odor is caused by bacteria on your skin releasing unpleasant smells, and an antimicrobial agent can help get rid of these bacteria.
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with some coconut oil and baking soda until the consistency reaches something that you're comfortable applying to your underarms or any other areas prone to developing body odor.
4. Tea tree oil makeup remover
Tea tree oil is a great ingredient in this makeup remover that works on normal or dry skin.
Mix a quarter of a cup of canola oil with ten drops of tea tree oil, preferably in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake very well until the two oils are mixed evenly, and let sit in a cool place.
When you want to use it, dip a cotton ball into the oil and wipe it across any makeup you want to eliminate. Rinse afterwards with water.
5. Tea tree oil for softening your cuticles
This doesn’t just soften the cuticles of your nails, bt adds the added protection of antifungal protection. If you’re able to use all the oils in the recipe, you’ll also have lavender provide its anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as additional benefits from the other oils.
Take a tablespoon of jojoba oil, a tablespoon of avocado oil, ten drops of tea tree oil, ten drops of lavender oil, and mix them all together in a glass jar with a tight lid o cap. Shake very well until they’re evenly distributed.
You can apply this oil with your fingers, and massage it into your nails and cuticles. This will soften them up and keep them healthy and protected from slits.
6. Tea tree oil foot perfume
Tea tree oil’s great for fighting hard-to-eliminate foot odours that even typical deodorants can’t get rid of. This recipe works really well for getting rid of them, and will also leave your feet feeling refreshed and healthy.
Take a tablespoon of dried rosemary and sage, a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger root, and put them in a saucepan with four cups of water. Bring this all to a boil, then remove from the heat and cover. Let it sit for ten minutes, then strain.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of Epsom salts, and ten drops of your tea tree oil to the mixture and mix very well. Once it’s cool, you can pour this into a tub or bin that’s big enough for your feet.
Top the bath up with hot or cold water, depending on your preference. If necessary, you can add ice to cool down the bath if it’s too hot.
7. Tea tree oil for yeast infections
Tea tree oil is particularly effective at fighting yeast infections. Tea tree oil has been studied, and has proven its ability to disrupt the membranes of yeast cells, which makes it difficult for them to reproduce. This recipe also uses lavender oil, which has been studied to effectively kill Candida fungus.
Mix five drops of tea tree oil with five drops of lavender in a few milliliters of distilled water, and shake vigorously to ensure that it’s mixed properly. This mixture can be applied to the affected areas using a cotton ball or a spray bottle.
8. Tea tree oil house cleaner
Take a spray bottle that can hold at least a quart of liquid. Add ten drops of tea tree oil to two cups of water and a half cup of vinegar, mix, and use as an all-purpose cleaner.
This can get rid of odors on furniture, it can get stains off counters, mirrors, and surfaces, and can help keep your walls clean.
9. Tea tree oil air freshener
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a cup of distilled water and two drops of lemon or any other essential oils that you think smell nice.
You can put these into a spray bottle and, shaking before every use, simply spray the stuff around your house. You can also get an essential oil burner and place the mixture in that,allowing it to slowly vaporize into your room.
10. Tea tree oil laundry detergent
Some people won’t use this stuff alone, and prefer to mix it with their current choice of laundry detergent. If you make a strong enough recipe, you can replace laundry detergent entirely - tea tree oil’s an antifungal that’ll kill mold, it’ll get rid of bacteria, and it will help clean any dirt from your clothes.
You can simply add tea tree oil to your wash - five to ten drops - and you’ll find the results appealing.
Tea tree oil is wildly popular for a number of reasons, and it has consistently lived up to its popularity.
It can be used for tons of different medical purposes and even competes with pharmacy-grade standard medications for a surprising number of different conditions. It’s also great for keeping your body clean, as well as keeping your house clean, to prevent the development of any illnesses.
Adding tea tree oil to your medicine cabinet, cleaning closet, and handbag is guaranteed to be of use to you some time in the near future. There are so many potential applications that you could easily use it everyday and never run out of reasons to use it.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.