Tea tree oil has a strong, medicinal, herbal aroma. Although the oil has a wide variety of useful properties, most people find the scent unpleasant.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tea tree, a small, shrub-like tree native to Australia.
Benefits of Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree has a long history as a healing herb among the aboriginal people of Australia. It was used extensively during World War II to treat soldiers' infections, wounds, and other aiments. In fact, those who harvested tea tree oil from its branches and twigs were not required to join the Australian military during the war. It is unique in that it is effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, making it a powerful and versatile anti-infectious agent. Tea tree oil is also an immune stimulant, and so it helps fight infection not only by working against the infectious agents directly, but also helping to mobilize the body's own defenses against the pathogen.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is a popular treatment for a variety of conditions, including acne, halitosis, toenail infections, and dandruff, and is included in many products designed to treat these and other conditions.
Tea tree oil is an expectorant, helping to loosen congestion in the head and chest. This property, combined with its antiviral properties, makes it invaluable in the treatment of colds, flus, and other respiratory ailments.
Tea tree oil also aids those who suffer from inflammation and aches or pains. An anti-inflammatory essential oil, tea tree helps to alleviate achy muscles, body pains, and even the discomfort of sprains as it increases blood flow to sore and injured areas.
Therapeutic Properties of Tea Tree Essential Oil
Precautions When Using Tea Tree Essential Oil
Observe the standard safety guidelines when using Tea Tree essential oil.
Although tea tree oil is sometimes cited as being safe to apply directly to the skin, undiluted tea tree oil may cause sensitization. It is advisable to use tea tree oil at no more than a 15% concentration on skin, and never to use old or oxidized oils, as these are more likely to cause a reaction.
Tea tree oil is generallly considered safe and mild, however it can cause toxicity if taken orally in large doses. The oil should be kept away from children and should not be ingested.
Buying Tea Tree Essential Oil
Typically, Tea Tree essential oil sells for around $10 per ounce.
Tips for Buying High Quality Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is inexpensive and one of the most widely used oils in aromatherapy. It can often be found in health food stores as well as purchased from nearly all essential oil suppliers.
Recommended Sources for Tea Tree Essential Oil
The following are reputable sources for Tea Tree essential oils and extracts.
Tea Tree Essential Oil from Eden's Garden (via Amazon)
Tea Tree Blends Well With...
Essential Oil Safety
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils
Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice
Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit
Aromatherapy and the Mind
The Aromatherapy Workbook