Not to be confused with the plant that produces the beverage called tea, the tea tree is known in scientific circles as Melaleuca alternifolia and is related to members of the myrtle family. It’s native to Australia and New Zealand and tea tree oil is made from the leaves of this tree.
Tea tree oil is toxic if it’s ingested, but this oil has been used in many ways since the 1800s and has been commercially produced for almost 100 years. Recently, tea tree oil has exploded in popularity as people have begun to learn more about natural ways to resolve some common problems and minor illnesses.
While you should always check with your doctor before using any products, tea tree oil is generally considered to be safe and effective for a wide range of health issues, and it’s also very effective when used for beauty purposes. If you’re looking to add tea tree oil to your medicine cabinet, here are four ways to get the most from this amazing product.
1. For the Hair
Quality hair products containing tea tree oil are widely available, and have some very important benefits to promote healthy hair. Not only do the tea tree oil shampoo products result in shiny, lush hair, they’re also very good for the scalp. The moisturizing properties of the oil keep the scalp in good shape, which prevents dandruff and can even promote hair growth.
Additionally, if you’ve ever had to deal with a case of head lice you know how difficult it can be to treat. Tea tree oil can kill lice, and it also prevents them from coming back so it can be used proactively, especially if your child’s school is experiencing an outbreak.
2. Clear Fungal Infections
Tea tree oil has strong anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat fungal infections almost anywhere on the body. It is especially useful for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, and in some cases has been shown to as or more effective as the chemical treatments for these irritating and sometimes painful infections. Mix a few drops of the oil with witch hazel and apply to the affected area a few times a day. However, if you have sensitive skin you may want to start slowly to ensure that you don’t develop a rash. Discontinue its use if you do.
3. For Healthy Skin
In addition to curing infections and wounds on the skin, tea tree oil can be used in many aspects of your beauty routine. It can be used to remove makeup, and when mixed with a carrier oil such as almond, it becomes a very effective moisturizer. Tea tree oil also can reduce acne. Again, the oil is usually mixed with something else, and most experts recommend witch hazel, but a few dabs of this mixture can reduce pimples and breakouts in just a few days.
Psoriasis sufferers also use tea tree oil in their treatment regimens. It has been shown to reduce the scaling and itching associated with the disease.
4. Cuts and Abrasions
In addition to its anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil is also an antiseptic. It can be applied to minor cuts, burns, or abrasions on the skin and this promotes faster healing and helps prevent infections. When mixed with other essential oils the combination can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Tea tree oil is also very effective against cold sores. Some studies have shown that a dab of tea tree oil on a cold sore can help reduce the pain and duration of the outbreak as well as prescription medication. However, as it is toxic when ingested you’ll need to take care when using it around your lips, and never use it on sores inside the mouth. Tea tree oil dabbed onto chicken pox sores can also help soothe the pain and itching, which is always a problem for children when they get the disease.
The benefits of tea tree and other essential oils are becoming more widely known, and their use around the world is exploding. If you want to have luscious hair, smooth and blemish free skin, and to be able to treat a variety of common ailments and minor wounds, tea tree oil is something you’ll definitely want to have in your home medicine cabinet.