There are a number of tea tree oil uses that make it a valuable addition to your pantry. Over the years, it has become a popular ingredient in hair and skincare products due to its natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic abilities.
As a result, you may find it in cosmetic products like shampoos, face washes, and nail and skin creams. You can also apply it directly to the skin to treat skin problems, diffuse it to kill mold, and mix it with other natural agents to create homemade all-purpose cleaners.
Tea tree oil is also called melaleuca oil. It has a fresh camphoraceous odor, and the color ranges from nearly clear and colorless to pale yellow. The powerful essential oil derives from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia. Numerous studies have also found that tea tree oil can kill various strains of viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
7 Potential Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil
There are numerous properties of tea tree oil that make it a versatile natural health agent.
Many of the purported tea tree oil health benefits can be attributed to its skin healing, antimicrobial, antibacterial, fungicide, expectorant, stimulant, insecticide, and sudorific ingredients.
Tea tree oil has traditionally been used to treat cold sores, earaches, congestion and respiratory tract infections, itchy insect bites, and sunburns. The following are seven more reasons why you may want to consider tea tree oil.
1. May Treat Acne, Boils, and Abscesses
There are many tea tree oil uses for skin. Tea tree oil is most commonly found in skin care products, and it is considered a very effective remedy for acne, boils, and abscesses.
In a study published in The Medical Journal of Australia in 1990, tea tree oil was demonstrated to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide, and without the side effects like peeling, dried, and red skin. Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial effects can treat boils and abscesses by drawing the pus out.
Clinical studies have found that tea tree oil encouraged rapid healing without scarring with patients with boils.
2. May Improve Condition of Hair
Have you considered tea tree oil for your hair and scalp? Similar to coconut oil, tea tree oil may help remove dandruff, treat lice, and soothe dry flaking skin. It can also strengthen hair and prevent hair loss.
For a natural shampoo, combine 10 or more drops of tea tree essential oil with coconut milk, aloe vera gel, and other essential oils like lemon and lavender oil.
3. Treats Eczema and Psoriasis
Tea tree oil can also be used as a natural eczema treatment or for reducing psoriasis symptoms due to its abilities to relieve skin inflammation. To make a homemade eczema lotion or body soap, simply combine five drops of tea tree oil, five drops of lavender oil, and one teaspoon of coconut oil.
4. Fights Parasites and Fungal Infections
Tea tree oil also has the ability to kill fungal and parasitic infections, and therefore may treat ringworm, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and candida infections like thrush or vaginal yeast infection.
A study published in the journal HIV Clinical Trials in 2002 observed AIDS and oral candidiasis patients given either an alcohol-based or alcohol-free tea tree oil, and who didn’t respond to fluconazole.
After the study, 60% of the patients demonstrated positive results from the tea tree solution.
5. Treats Cuts and Infections
When tea tree oil is combined with lavender essential oil, it makes for an effective homemade wound ointment.
However, before application, be sure to clean the cut with water, and, if necessary, hydrogen peroxide. After that, apply tea tree oil and cover with a bandage to fight infections.
Studies have even found that tea tree oil helps kills staph infections and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
6. May Improve Oral Health
Tea tree oil can kill bad bacteria and soothe skin inflammation. As a result, tea tree oil may be effective for reducing tooth decay and bleeding gums, and treating and preventing conditions related to inflammation of the gums, such as gingivitis.
Tea tree oil is a perfect in homemade mouthwash and toothpaste. For effective toothpaste, simply combine baking soda, coconut oil, and tea tree oil.
7. Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Tea tree oil has been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Sciences in 2015 found that tea tree oil has a rapid effect on boosting immunity and decreasing cancerous tumors in mice.
A combination of raspberry seed oil, frankincense oil, and tea tree oil may help treat abnormal skin lesions. Place on the affected area three times daily.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil should not be swallowed for any reason. Although some traditional uses of tea tree oil include using it for bad breath; as a mouthwash; and treating mouth ulcers and toothaches, you are best to spit out the tea tree oil afterwards to prevent dizziness, hives, and digestive problems.
The following are the two main ways tea tree oil is used.
Using an essential oil diffuser, tea tree oil can be diffused throughout your home.
This way you can directly inhale the oil. You can also smell it by applying some to your skin or clothes similar to perfume, or by sniffing it directly from the bottle. Diffusing tea tree oil around your home may also kill mold and other harmful bacteria.
It is always best to dilute tea tree oil with carrier oil like coconut oil or avocado oil in a 1:1 ratio before using on the skin.
Tea tree oil can be used for skin conditions, but it is also an effective way to eliminate body odor. A homemade tea tree oil deodorant can be made with tea tree oil, coconut oil, and baking soda.
Tea Tree Oil Recipes
Another great use for tea tree oil is as a household cleaner due to its potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It is perfect to use on kitchen appliances, counter tops, toilets, sinks, and showers.
Many commercially sold cleaners contain harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Various acne skin cleansers and medications also contain chemicals that cause side effects like dry skin and skin peeling. Luckily, it is possible to make these everyday cleaners with natural ingredients. Here are a couple of recipes using tea tree oil to help clean your home and your skin.
1. Homemade Household Cleaner
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 15 drops lemon oil
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- A glass cleaning spray bottle
Fill the glass spray bottle with the ingredients, and close the bottle and shake to mix it. Before each spray, shake the bottle. The lemon oil is highly concentrated, and its acidic properties could eat away at plastic containers. That is why a glass bottle is recommended for this recipe.
2. Homemade Acne Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons raw liquid honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 20 drops tea tree oil or melaleuca essential oil
- 2 capsules live probiotics
Combine all ingredients, and mix well. Pour into a glass bottle, and store in a cool place. The tea tree oil has the power to kill bacteria and the probiotics will help invigorate the skin. Use a small amount on affected areas of the skin to help treat inflammation and acne breakouts.
Tea Tree Oil Precautions
The uses and health benefits of tea tree oil are seemingly endless. According to Web MD, it is considered possibly safe for topical use in most. That being said, people with sensitive skin may experience a reaction including itching, redness, and dryness. As a result, tea tree oil should be kept away from the eyes, inner nose, contact lenses, and sensitive parts of the skin. The sharp odor and menthol-like cooling sensation of tea tree oil can make you skin feel like it is burning if you use too much.
The combined use of tea tree and lavender oils on the skin may be harmful to prepubescent boys, as it may disrupt the hormonal balance in their bodies.
Tea tree oil does not normally cause skin rashes or allergies when used in topical products at concentrations of 5 to 10%. However, stronger concentrations may cause dermatitis reactions. A small skin patch test on your arm or leg can help let you know if allergic reactions are an issue before you use larger amounts on your neck, chest, or face.
“Top 10 Tea Tree Oil Uses and Benefits,” Dr. Axe; https://draxe.com/tea-tree-oil-uses-benefits/, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“Tea Tree Oil Uses: 13 Extraordinary Ideas,” Reader’s Digest; http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/tea-tree-oil-uses/, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“13 Miraculous Benefits of Tea Tree Essential Oil,” Organic Facts; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-tea-tree-essential-oil.html, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) Uses and Benefits,” doTERRA; https://doterra.com/US/en/blog/spotlight-tea-tree-oil, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“Don’t Take Tea Tree Oil for Granted,” Mercola; http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/tea-tree-oil.aspx, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“25 Uses for Tea Tree Oil,” Keeper of the Home; http://www.keeperofthehome.org/25-uses-for-tea-tree-oil, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“25 Everyday Uses for Tea Tree Oil,” Everyday Roots; http://everydayroots.com/tea-tree-oil-uses, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“The Tea Tree Skin “Miracle” – The 7 Benefits of Tea Tree Oil,” Body Ecology; http://bodyecology.com/articles/tea_tree_skin_miracle.php, last accessed March 14, 2017.
“Homemade Honey Face Wash for Clear Skin,” Dr. Axe; https://draxe.com/homemade-honey-face-wash-clear-skin/, last accessed March 14, 2017.
Norqvist, J., “What is tea tree oil? What is tea tree oil used for?” Medical News Today; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262944.php, last updated Sept. 26, 2014.
Balch, J., et al., Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet, Nutrition, Supplements, and Other Holistic Methods (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004), 9,14, 331, 471-472.
Murray, M., M.D., et al., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (New York: Atria Paperback, 2012), 250-251, 353-354, 386-387.
Rakel, D., et al., Integrative Medicine: Third Edition (Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders, 2012), 196, 672-673, 679.
Bassett, I.B., et al., “A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne,” The Medical Journal of Australia, Oct. 15, 1990; 153(8): 455-458. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2145499.
Vazquez, J.A., et al., “Efficacy of alcohol-based and alcohol-free melaleuca oral solution for the treatment of fluconazole-refractory oropharyngeal candidiasis in patients with AIDS,” HIV Clinical Trials website, September to October 2002; 3(5): 379-395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12407487.
Carson, C.F., et al., “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties,” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, January 2006; 19(1): 50-62, doi: 10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006.
Ireland, D.J., et al., “Topically applied Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil causes direct anti-cancer cytotoxicity in subcutaneous tumor bearing mice,” Journal of Dermatological Sciences, August 2012; 67(2): 120-129, doi: 10.1016/jdermsci.2012.05.005.