Tea tree, a wild, bushy tree native to Australia, yields one of the gentlest and most active essential oils. Its stimulating and germicidal actions are valued around the world and its strong, camphor-like scent is refreshing and uplifting, making it pleasant to use around the home. It blends well with other antiseptic oils, especially lemon, lavender, pine, rosemary and thyme.
Used in shampoos and soaps for its cooling and antiseptic properties, it eases acne, thrush and cystitis.
Tea tree stimulates the immune system by activating the white blood corpuscles to defend the body against infections. It can reduce the length of an infection and is especially beneficial in treating fungal and respiratory infections.
Active Ingredients of Tea Tree
Tea tree contains more active ingredients than almost any other essential oil. It is high in terpenoids and alcohol which are responsible for its uplifting and stimulating effects.
A principle component of tea tree, monoterpenes have stimulating and pain-killing properties. Tea tree is especially high in terpine-4-ol, which can account for 30% of the oil. This natural but powerful antiseptic is effective against bacteria, viruses and fungal infections - making it essential for your aromatherapy first-aid kit.
Sesquisterpenes are highly aromatic. They are present only in small quantities but give tea tree its distinctive pungent scent and mood balancing properties.
up to 50% of tea tree is made up of alcohols. These act as general tonics, energisers and balancers.
How to Use your Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree's impressive antiseptic properties make it an essential ingredient of any aromatherapy medicine cabinet and a valuable addition to your bathroom.
Fight Infections, Prevent Germs Spreading
Tea tree is not only antiseptic but also acts to strengthen your immune system, stimulating and toning your natural defences.
Chase away colds and flu with a facial steam. Combine 10 drops of tea tree with 5 drops of eucalyptus and inhale deeply.
This blend will work just as well on acne.
Swirl a few drops of tea tree into your daily bath to clear away thrush or cystitis. It is especially effective in pessaries to clear persistent thrush.
Dilute to a three% solution in water for a refreshing mouthwash that will fight gum disease and clear mouth ulcers. But remember not to swallow.
Vaporising tea tree when you're sick in bed with the flu will help to disinfect the air and stop you from passing the infection onto any friends or relatives who come to visit.
Tea Tree Herbal Folklore
In Australia, the aborigines knew about the properties of the tea tree long before European settlers ever heard of it. They ha a magical lake into which the leaves of the tea tree had been falling for hundreds of years, imbuing it with antiseptic and healing properties.
Captain Cook first mentions the tea tree and its healing properties in his journal during the 1770s, after the aborigines showed him how to make tea from its leaves.
During the First World War, Australian soldiers were issued with tea tree oil as standard issue. The government took steps to protect the production of the oil during the War.
Keep tea tree handy in your handbag or rucksack, especially when holidaying in warmer climates.
Apply neat to stings and insect bites for swift antiseptic relief.
Soothe sunburn, cuts and bruises with a cold compress. Use a blend of 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender oil in luke-warm or cold water.
Tea tree's powerful cleansing properties make it a useful addition to your bathroom routine.
A tea tree facial steam will unblock pores and clear up infections, resulting in a blemish-free complexion.
For stubborn spots and pimples on the back and shoulders, make an exfoliating scrub by adding seven drops of tea tree oil to a handful of oatmeal. Scrub gently with a loofah in the shower.
Healthy Nails and Feet
Add a warm footbath to treat athletes foot, or to relieve pain from calluses and corns.
Eliminate verrucas and warts by applying neat tea tree oil three times a day. Repeat over several weeks.
Treat nail infections by massaging the affected nail with neat tea tree oil three times a day.