Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Tea tree oil

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil properties

Tea tree oil recipes

Tea tree oil warnings

References

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil (TTO, melaleuca oil) is a colourless to pale yellow colour essential oil made by distilling the fresh leaves of he melaleuca alternifolia plant, a native of the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. TTO has a fresh camphor / eucalyptus-like smell, causing the eyes to water.

The indigenous Bundjalung people of eastern Australia use "tea trees" as a traditional medicine by inhaling the oils from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and common colds. They also sprinkle leaves on wounds, after which a poultice is applied. In addition, tea tree leaves are soaked to make an infusion to treat sore throats or skin ailments.

Tea tree oil properties

Tea tree oil recipes

Tea tree oil warnings

Tea tree oil should not be swallowed. If taken, symptoms can include drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, unsteadiness, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach upset, blood cell abnormalities, and severe rashes. Do not get tea tree oil in the eyes.

Test a little TTO on the skin before using it. If you find it too strong, dilute it with other oils like coconut or macadamia. About 6% of people display skin irritation to undiluted tea tree oil. If the TTO is diluted 100:1, then only about 0.13% of people display a reaction to it.

However, at concentrations below 4% (ie when diluted with another oil by more than 25 times), the TTO may fail to kill bacteria, and may allow the bacteria to develop resistance to TTO. So the minimum strength of pure TTO should be 5%, and it should preferably be stronger.

Full strength tea tree oil is toxic to dogs and cats.

References

1. Schnitzler P., Schon K., Reichling J. 2001. Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture. Die Pharmazie 56 (4): 343-7.

2. Kimberly Beauchamp. Tea Tree Oil and Staph. Journal of Hospital Infection, 2004, 56:283-286)

3. Satchell A., Saurajen A., Bell C., Barnetson R.S. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2002, 47 (6): 852-5.

4. Buck D.S., Nidorf D.M., Addino J.G. Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. The Journal of family practice, 1994, 38 (6): 601-5.

5. Bishop, C. D. Antiviral activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden and Betche) Cheel (Tea Tree) against Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Journal of Essential Oil Research 1995, 7 (6): 641-4.

6. Natalie A. Thomsen, Katherine A. Hammer, Thomas V. Riley, Alex Van Belkum, Christine F. Carson. Effect of habituation to tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil on the subsequent susceptibility of Staphylococcus spp. to antimicrobials, triclosan, tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol and carvacrol. April 2013, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

7. Tighe S, Gao YY, Tseng SC. Terpinen-4-ol is the Most Active Ingredient of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Demodex Mites. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2013 Nov;2(7):2. Epub 2013 Nov 13. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24349880.