Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca, is well known throughout Australia for its ability to treat wounds and because of its powerful antiseptic properties. Documented in medical studies to kill many bacteria, viruses and fungi, it’s an essential part to anyone’s natural medicine cabinet.
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that melaleuca is “a powerful disinfectant and is non-poisonous and gentle” to the body. In 1923, Dr. A.R. Penfold found that tea tree oil was 12 times (!) more effective at healing infections than the conventional antiseptic at that time (carbolic acid).
During the 1930s and 1940s, tea tree oil became widely known as the go-to antiseptic, and during the Australian World War II soldiers were given tea tree oil in their first aid kits.
Today, tea tree oil uses are numerous. They include making homemade cleaning products, diffused in the air to kill mold, used topically to heal skin issues and taken internally to treat infections.
Tea Tree Oil Benefits
To date, 327 scientific studies refer to tea tree oil’s antimicrobial prowess alone! As if thousands of years of use have been done in vain, right! Thankfully, science is finally catching up and describing why tea tree oil is so effective as a treatment for some of its more traditional uses:
- Bacterial infections
- Cold sores
- Congestion and respiratory tract infections
- Fungal infections (especially candida, jock itch, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus)
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Head lice
- Soften dry cuticles
- Soothes itchy insect bites, sores and sunburns
- Zap boils from staph infections
And this list doesn’t even include the cosmetic and general home uses of tea tree oil!
- Acne face wash
- Anti-microbial laundry freshener
- Insect repellant
- Natural deodorant
- Removes foot order
- Removes mold
- Household cleaner
An article published in the journal Phytomedicine last year evaluated the relationship between various essential oils and found that none (including tea tree) caused adverse reactions when taken with several different antibiotics. In fact, they discovered that some essential oils even had a synergist effect, which could help prevent antibiotic resistance!
In many causes, doctors of functional medicine will prescribe essential oils like tea tree oil and oil of oregano in replacement of conventional medications because they are just as effective and without the adverse side effects.
Top 10 Tea Tree Oil Uses
Ready to use tea tree oil to transform your health? Here are the top 10 uses for tea tree oil for natural cures and home remedies.
- Tea Tree Oil for Acne
One of the most common uses for tea tree oil today is in skin care products especially for acne. One study found tea tree oil to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide, but without the negative side effects of red and peeling skin.
You can make a tea tree oil acne face wash by mixing five drops of tea tree essential oil with two teaspoons of raw honey. Simply rub on your face, leave on for one minute then rinse off.
- Tea Tree Oil for Hair
Tea tree oil has proven very beneficial for the health of your hair and scalp. Tea tree oil has the ability to soothe dry flaking skin, dandruff and even can be used for the treatment of lice. To make homemade tea tree oil shampoo, mix in with aloe vera gel, coconut milk and other essential oils like lavender.
- Tea Tree Oil for Cleaning
Another fantastic way to use tea tree oil is as a household cleaner. Tea tree oil has powerful antimicrobial properties and can kill off bad bacteria in your home. To make homemade tea tree oil cleaner, mix with water, vinegar and lemon essential oil.
- Tea Tree Oil for Skin (Psoriasis and Eczema)
Tea tree oil can help relieve any type of skin inflammation, including eczema and psoriasis. Simply mix one teaspoon coconut oil, five drops of tea tree oil and five drops of lavender oil to make homemade tea tree oil eczema lotion or body soap. In addition, if you have eczema or psoriasis, you should consider going on the GAPS diet and supplementing with vitamin D3.
- Tea Tree Oil for Toenail Fungus and Ringworm
Because of its ability to kill parasites and fungal infections, tea tree oil is a great choice to use on toenail fungus, athlete’s foot and ringworm. Put tea tree oil undiluted on the area, and for stubborn fungi it can also be mixed with oil of oregano. Tea tree oil has also been proven beneficial for treating and removing warts, so simply put tea tree oil directly on the area, daily, for 30 days.
- Tea Tree Oil Kills Mold
A common problem many people experience in their homes is mold infestation often times without knowing it. You can buy a diffuser and diffuse tea tree oil in the air around your home to kill mold and other bad bacteria. Also, you can spray tea tree oil cleaner onto shower curtains to kill off mold.
- Tea Tree Oil Deodorant
Another great reason to use tea tree oil is to eliminate body odor. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties that destroy the bacteria that cause body odor. You can make homemade tea tree oil deodorant by mixing it with coconut oil and baking soda. Also, if your kids play sports or if you’re a runner, you can add tea tree oil and lemon essential oils to your shoes and sport’s gear to keep them smelling fresh!
- Tea Tree Oil for Infections and Cuts
Tea tree oil mixed with lavender essential oil is the perfect ingredient in a homemade wound ointment. Make sure to clean a cut first with water and hydrogen peroxide, then put on tea tree oil and cover with bandage to fight off infections. Also, a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found tea tree oil kills MRSA and staph infections.
- Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste For Oral Health
Because of tea tree oils ability to kill off bad bacteria and simultaneously soothe inflamed skin, it’s a perfect ingredient in homemade toothpaste. Tea tree oil has also been shown to reduce the bleeding of gums and reduce tooth decay. Simply mix tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda for an amazing homemade toothpaste.
- Tea Tree Oil for Cancer
One of the most incredible studies done recently done on tea tree oil was on its ability to fight skin cancer. In a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Sciences, tea tree oil was found to have a rapid effect on reducing tumors and boosted immunity.
Also, both tea tree oil and frankincense have been proven to have anti-cancer benefits. For abnormal skin lesions, you can mix frankincense oil, raspberry seed oil and tea tree oil, and place on area three times daily.
Hammer KA, et al. In viro susceptibilities of lactobacilli and organisms associated with baterial vaginosis to melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1999;43(1):196.
Groppo FC, et al. Antimicrobial activity of garlic, tea tree oil, and chlorhexidine against oral microorganisms. Int Dent J. 2002 Dec;52(6):433-7.
Bassett, et al, “A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne,” Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8.
Stablein JJ, Bucholtz GA, Lockey RF. Melaleuca tree and respiratory disease. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Nov;89(5): 523-30.
“Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil ) inhibits the in vitro growth of human melanoma cells,” J Invest Dermatol. 2004 Feb;122(2):349-60.