Monday, June 02, 2008

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil, a/k/a Melaleuca oil, Australian tea tree oil

An essential oil distilled from the melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia.

I had a friend who used to sell Melaleuca brand skincare products years ago (late 80's or early 90's). I never bought any though and never heard of anyone selling after that. I wonder if it had this in it?

Anyway, Australian aboriginals use tea tree leaves for healing skin cuts, burns, and infections by crushing the leaves and applying them to the affected area. They inhale the oil from crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds.

Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial qualities. A common dose is 5-10% tea tree oil in gel or shampoo applied daily up to 4 weeks. Undiluted oil is sometimes used for some conditions. (www.luckyvitamin.com has a bunch of products with tea tree oil in it, including shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, etc.).

CONDITIONS USED FOR:
  • Acne (it's been found to be as effective as benzoil peroxide, and although slower to show benefits, results in less itching, scaling and irritation)
  • Athlete's foot
  • Dandruff
  • Vaginitis
  • Thrush
  • Periodontal disease
  • Boils
  • Lice and Ticks
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Yeast infections
  • Sunburn
  • Insect bites and bee stings
  • Bad breath
  • Body odor
  • Fungal nail infections
  • Warts
  • Wounds
  • MRSA - possibly - lab studies report it has activity against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus but not enough information yet to make recommendations for or against it (per Mayo Clinic)
  • and more

CAUTIONS:
  • Don't take it internally. It can cause serious problems if ingested. It is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, but you aren't supposed to swallow it.
  • One study shows it may alter hormone levels (3 cases of products causing unexplained breast enlargement in boys). Don't use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Some people may have allergic reactions - patch test should be performed
  • Undiluted tea tree oil may cause skin irritation, redness, blistering, and itching. - patch test should be performed
  • Don't use on pets

SOURCES/MORE INFO:

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/TeaTreeOil.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_tree_oil

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tea-tree-oil/NS_patient-teatreeoil

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/tea-tree-oil-treats-skin-problems

1 comment:

  1. I have used this for athletes foot. I have to use it for a long time. My spouse grew tired of the smell very quickly.

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