Tea tree oil is famous with another name of Melaleuca oil, which us an essential oil and exhibits fresh odor resembling camphor. Tea tree oil has a myriad of benefits for skin health problems.
It exists in colorless form or color tinge varies from pale yellow to clear. Tea tree oil is named so because we get it from tea tree leaves. Tea tree is native to southeast Queensland and New South Wales regions of the Australian continent.
Its chemical compounds change its composition after exposure to air.
- Historical Significance
- Traditional Medicine Status of Tea Tree Oil
- Tea Tree Oil Characteristics and Composition
- Tea Tree oil Applications
Historically, the first reported commercial use of tea tree oil dates back to 1920s when an entrepreneur Arthur Penfold first introduced it in the market and reported tea tree oil antiseptic properties. Now tea tree oil has a global oil market share of US $39 million.
Probable historical evidence of the name tea tree correlated to description of this plant by Captain James Cook who described this tree as a shrub and prepared its infusion for the first time to drink as replacement of tea. However, people should avoid confusion of this plant with commonly used tea leaves to prepare green, black and oolong tea. This laid the foundation of reaping tea tree oil benefits for skin health problems.
Traditional Medicine Status of Tea Tree Oil
It is part of tropical and traditional medication regimes and traditionally, herbalists use its low concentration herbal extracts as a possible treatment for various integumentary and skin health problems.
Tea tree oil benefits for skin health problems include its applications to treat various integumentary health issues like:
- Fungal infections
- Bacterial infections
- Insect bites & lice
- Athlete’s foot
There is significant research work in progress to validate these claims and a growing number of scientific evidence-based studies are envisaging tea tree oil benefits.
In Australia, tea tree oil is part of aromatherapy as approved complementary medicine. However, its oral consumption is poisonous so children should not use it.
Tea Tree Oil Characteristics and Composition
Whole tea tree oil contains several key components which make up 70 to 90 % of total composition:
Whereas other minor components which make up 15% of the oil comprise of:
According to one recent study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, adverse effects of tea tree oil diminish when eucalyptol content is lower in the oil.
Tea Tree oil Applications
As a traditional herbal medicine, people use tea tree oil to treat several skin issues like acne, athlete’s foot, or nail fungus. Its medicinal significance was confirmed by one systematic review published in 2015 by British International organization Cochrane.
Moreover, the European Medicines Agency reported findings of the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products about the medicinal significance of tea tree oil. According to their findings, tea tree oil helps to reduce itching and is a plausible treatment for mild inflammation of mouth lining, small superficial wounds, and insect bites. They cautioned about the safety of tea tree oil for people under age of 12.
An interesting article by Healhline also describes that tea tree oil usage may help keep hair, nail and skin healthy and improves integumentary health. As a traditional medicine, Aboriginals of the Australian continent have been using tea tree oil for centuries. These native people of Australia use it by crushing its leaves for oil extraction. Then, they inhale this oil or directly apply to skin for treating cough, colds, and skin problems. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties which makes it an ideal natural remedy to treat skin infected by fungus or bacteria to promote healing.
Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties therefore, people can use it to sanitize their hands to increase personal hygiene.
Several studies have shown the antimicrobial potential of tea tree oil against common bacteria and viruses like H. influenza, E. coli, and S. pneumonia. Furthermore, the addition of tea tree oil to personal hygiene cleansing products may boost their effectiveness.
Keeping Insects Away
Insects do not like the odor of tea tree essential oil and hence repel after exposure to tea tree oil. These repelling properties of tea tree oil help to keep flies and insects away. Use this tea tree oil as the most effective repellent as compared to traditionally used insect repellents.
Tea tree oil has essential oils. These essential oils help to control the odor of underarm perspiration. Sweat glands secretions when polluted with bacteria, many people experience unpleasant smell.
People can use tea tree oil as a natural deodorant to reduce body odor as a replacer of synthetically produced deodorants.
Antiseptic for Bruises and Minor Cuts
Whenever we get bruises or minor cuts, these points of skin become the entry points for bacterial and fungal infections. Therefore, use tea tree oil as a natural disinfectant to protect your skin from infections and protecting open wounds.
Healing Superficial Wounds
Tea tree oil is effective to heal superficial wounds in addition to providing protection from microbial infection. Recent research shows that tea tree oil helps to reduce inflammation and improves the activity of white blood cells to speed up the healing process.
Hence, tea tree oil is a good option for wound dressing.
Tea tree oil gel is helpful to fight acne problems. It reduces the number of lesions and decreases acne severity.
Fungus Inflicted Nails
Usually, we get fingernail infections commonly as results of fungus infliction. Research results published in Tropical Medicine & International Health Journal suggests that nail fungus can be treated using tea tree oil in combination with other natural remedies like coconut oil.
As Natural Mouthwash Agent
Our mouths are reservoirs of microbes if not washed properly. These microbial populations in the mouth may cause bad breath and tooth decay.
Mouth rinsing by tea tree oil may help to protect against plaque formation. Use a mixture of tea tree oil with lukewarm water as mouthwash and do not swallow or ingest tea tree oil to avoid toxicity.
Use tea tree oil to relieve skin inflammation. The most common form of skin problem is dermatitis in which we get skin inflammation as a result of exposure to allergens.
Moreover, we experience skin itching and pain. Hence, applying the tea tree oil to skin may relieve skin inflammation and itching caused by allergens or insect bites.
Relieving Dandruff Issue
Having dandruff on the skin is harmful to the scalp and sometimes very annoying and embarrassing. Adding tea tree oil to hair conditioning products may help to reduce the dandruff problem.
Athlete’s Foot Problem
It is one of the most notorious fungal infections of the foot which is very hard to control. However, if not treated properly then it may spread to hands and toenails.
Antifungal remedies are the recommended treatments to solve an athlete’s foot issue. Therefore, use tea tree oil to relieve athlete’s foot symptoms as it has strong antifungal properties.
Tea tree oil has several advantages and helps to alleviate several integumentary and skin health issues. It is an inexpensive natural alternative to commonly used expensive skincare products.
Reap the benefits of tea tree essential oils. However, use it cautiously to avoid oral toxicity and keep it away from the children and do not use it for people under 12 years of age. In case of skin sensitivity, try to avoid using undiluted tea tree oil and use in combination with other natural oils like coconut and olive oils.