Discover the many uses and benefits of Tea Tree Oil.
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Aboriginal Australians have known for hundreds of years about the potent medicinal qualities of the oil of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, otherwise known as tea tree oil. Derived from the plant’s sticky leaves and needles, this “medicine chest in a bottle” is known to cure or quell many a common ailment, from athlete’s foot to headaches to your pet’s ear mites.
Once available only in health food stores and specialty shops, the growing awareness of tea tree oil’s versatility as a healer and helper has reached the mainstream. You can now find the oil in just about any drug, department or grocery store. It is also becoming more common as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, cleansers, detergents and disinfectants.
Cures all…costs little
Ranging in price from about $7-11 CAD for 10-15 ml, a single bottle can replace many of the medications, treatments and health products in your medicine cabinet.
The best tea tree oil is organic, and found in indigo blue glass bottles. Never buy tea tree oil (or any essential oil) in clear bottles, or in plastic bottles. Clear bottles allow sunlight to penetrate the oil, which can damage its delicate properties. Plastic can be dissolved by the oil, which in turn can contaminate the oil. Always store it in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight.
Tea tree oil’s most outstanding quality is its potency as an anti-fungal. It is used to cure fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, dandruff, yeast infections, candida and thrush. But it is also highly effective as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic. It is deep-penetrating, and is 4-10 times more soothing than aloe.
Common uses for tea tree oil
Below is a small sample of the many uses for tea tree oil. A word of caution-tea tree oil is very pungent and potent. It should only be used externally, and sparingly. It should not be used on babies or small children. Keep it away from eyes and wash you hands after using it. If you, your child or pet find it too strong, try diluting it with water until you find a comfortable potency.
- Cold sores – Apply pure oil directly to the sore as many times as needed.
- Acne – Apply pure oil to the blemish.
- Nasal ulcers – Drip 1-3 drops of oil onto a cotton swab and apply it directly to the sore. Some people find pure tea tree oil to be too strong to use inside the nose, or on any mucous membrane. If this is the case, just dilute it by adding about 3 drops to 1/4 cup of water. Adjust the ratio until it’s comfortable for you.
- Dental abscess/toothache – Drip a few drops directly into the cavity. Or drip a couple drops on your finger and rub the tooth and surrounding gum. Repeat several times a day, or however often as necessary. This is just for temporary relief, so make sure to get to your dentist as soon as possible. Be careful not to swallow the oil. Ingesting a little bit of the oil won’t hurt you, but always try to spit it out. The taste is also very strong, medicinal and can be unpleasant.
- Sore throat/throat infection – Gargle with 8-10 drops of tea tree oil diluted in a cup of water. Repeat this two or three times within twenty minutes.
- Cuts/scrapes/scratches/abrasions – Rub a few drops of pure oil into the cut. Do not use tea tree oil on deep cuts and wounds.
- Ear infection – Drip about three drops of tea tree oil into 1/4 cup of water, or adjust the ratio until it’s comfortable for you. Fill a dropper with the solution and gently fill the ear with it. Hold it in the ear for half a minute and drain. Repeat several times a day or however often is necessary. Do not put pure tea tree oil into the ear. Also, rub pure oil onto the outer surface of the ear.
- Boils – Apply two drops to the boil daily for 1-2 months, or as long as necessary. Be sure to do it everyday in order to completely take care of the infection.
- Ringworm – Apply pure oil daily for at least one month straight. Make sure to do it everyday or the fungus can build up a resistance to the oil.
- Insect bites – Apply one or two drops directly to the bite.
- Athlete’s foot – Apply pure oil directly to the feet, on a daily basis for at least a month to make sure the fungus is destroyed. In addition, you can drip several drops into a basin of water and soak the feet.
- Canker sores – Apply pure oil directly to the sore.
- Oral hygiene – Add one drop of oil to your toothbrush when brushing your teeth, or put one drop into the crease of your finger, run dental floss through it and floss.
- Dandruff – Add a few drops to your shampoo.
- Ear mites – Make a mild solution of tea tree oil and water, perhaps five drops of oil to 1 cup of water. Using a dropper, gently drip about ten drops into your pet’s ear. Also, dip a cotton ball in the solution and clean the inside of the ear.
- Fleas and other insect infestations – Make a strong solution of tea tree oil and water. Using a spray bottle, spray the liquid onto carpets, floors and other areas where insects lay their eggs.