You won’t be using leaves from the tea tree to make your morning cup of tea, but this tall shrub (Melaleuca alternifolia) is used to make Tea Tree Essential Oil. The medicinal and household uses of teatree oil have been known in Australia for centuries. Now, this versatile essential oil is becoming a worldwide staple in medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards.
What is an Essential Oil?
If you squeeze the peel of a ripe orange between your fingers, you can smell the deep, rich fragrance. The oily residue left on your skin is an essential oil at its most basic level. Essential oils are made from certain parts of plants, the seeds, bark, flowers etc. Many people make oil infusions at home by adding lavender or rosemary to olive or another oil, using this for cooking or the bath. A true essential oil is distilled in a multi-step process, resulting in a translucent, clear oil that is the very ‘essence’ of the plant.
Tea tree oil is easily absorbed into the skin, making this the perfect home remedy for a number of common skin problems. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is very potent and should not be ingested or used on babies. Considerable research has been done on the antimicrobial and other properties of this essential oil. Some medicinal uses include the following:
- Athlete’s foot and ringworm are common problems that have bothered just about everyone at one time or another. Applying a 25-50% solution will relieve symptoms rapidly and will often cure the infection in 4 weeks or less.
- Toenail fungus responds well to treatment by this oil. Research has shown that the treatment works as well as or better than standard over-the-counter remedies.
- As an antiseptic, it is useful for insect bites, minor burns and cuts, skin tags and other skin ailments.
- It is a valuable addition to soap, shampoo, face and body lotion and toothpaste.
- This oil is often included in natural household cleaners, disinfectants and shower and kitchen sprays.
- Tea tree oil naturally repels fleas, ticks and lice, often used in pet bedding and shampoo.
There is considerable information available on the many uses of this essential oil. Apothecary Extracts includes a free eBook with each purchase of their 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil. The eBook details over 50 different uses for this amazing natural remedy.