Tea tree oil is essential in my medicine cabinet.
We have used tea tree oil in our family for years mainly as a disinfectant in my all-purpose spray cleaner, for bug bites and sunburns, and as my topical replacement for antibiotics. It is one of 6 essential oils in my homemade antibiotic mixture using a coconut oil carrier.
Most know it as an ingredient in homemade cleaners and now in toothpastes and antifungal preparations.
In a fascinating article, the American Cancer Society tells us:
“The aborigines of Australia were the first to discover the healing properties of tea tree oil thousands of years ago. They treated cuts, burns, and skin infections by crushing the leaves of the tree and applying them to cuts and injuries. In the 1770s, the British explorer Captain Cook observed the native Australians brewing tea from the leaves. He then brewed tea of his own to give to his crew to prevent scurvy. He coined the name tea tree.
“In the 1920s, Australian physicians began to use the oil to clean wounds and prevent infections after surgery. They believed it to be more effective than carbolic acid, the antiseptic most used at that time. Average Australians then began to use the oil as a household remedy for skin conditions and fungus infections. During World War II, tea tree oil was included in the first-aid kits given to all Australian soldiers and sailors.
“After the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics in the late 1940s, tea tree oil went out of favor as an antiseptic until the 1980s, when it was discovered that some bacteria were resistant to certain antibiotics, such as methicillin and vancomycin. Today, there is renewed interest in tea tree oil as an alternative to these antibiotics for skin infections.”
Tea tree oil can be dissolved in water for topical spraying. It can also be added into homemade ointments, lotions, soap, deodorants, shampoos, and household cleaning products. When used to treat infections and skin conditions, the oil can be applied directly to the skin when diluted.
Tea tree oil should NEVER be ingested and is only to be used as a topical remedy. For colds and other respiratory illnesses, the oil is added to a vaporizer so that the mist can be inhaled. Drops of the oil can be added to bath water. The oil is sometimes mixed in water as a mouthwash. Tea tree oil should not be used on babies younger than 6 months.
Medicinal and Practical Benefits of Tea Tree Oil
- Household cleaning – Fill a spray bottle with 15-20 drops of tea tree oil and the rest of the bottle with water. Your house will be clean and smell beautiful.
- Can be used in a homemade toothpaste recipe.
- Cold sores/herpes – Dab tea tree oil directly to the affected area and coat well.
May be mixed with coconut oil and applied many times a day.
- Freshen laundry – Add a few drops in your washing machine to scent your clothes. Also, if you forgot to put the clothes in the dryer, unless they need re-washed, run again with spray of tea tree oil diluted in water to remove smell. You can also scent wool dryer balls with tea tree oil.
- Treats ringworm.
- Pain reliever.
- Freshen bedding using a light spritz of tea tree diluted in spray bottle of water.
- Effective on lice – If you don’t want to use chemical pesticides on your child’s head, consider treating head lice naturally with tea tree oil and a fine-toothed lice comb–also called a nit comb. I have heard it is also disliked by ticks.
- Mouthwash – 2-3 drops of the oil in a cup of warm water can be a very effective mouth rinse/wash if you have issues with plaque, oral thrush, canker sores, or gum disease.
- Use tea tree oil to eliminate your dog’s fleas by adding a few drops to your regular pet shampoo. Another way is to add 1 tsp. of tea tree oil into 1 cup of warm water, stir well, and pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle. As you apply from nose to tail, be careful not to get into our dog’s eyes. For prevention, add a few drops in your pets’ crates or beds.
- Effective whole room airborne disinfectant – eliminates mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses in your home. It can easily be used in a diffuser, especially in the bathroom or sick-room.
- Lung congestion – Using this essential oil in a diffuser, a pot of boiling water, or in a hot shower can really help open your sinuses. Just holding the bottle under your nose and breathing it in slowly for a few minutes can work wonders.
- Acne – Tea tree oil is an excellent treatment for acne. One study found tea tree oil to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide, but without the negative side effects like redness and peeling. Sometimes those with acne have a habit of touching their faces or picking at troubled areas. All of this causes bacteria to reinfect your face and make the problem far worse. In a small spray bottle, add 10 drops and fill the rest of the way with water. Spritz face 2-4 times a day and blot dry with paper towel.
- Athletes foot and toenail fungus – Tea tree oil gets rid of fungus and fungal infections, but you may need to be persistent; it is far better for your body than a harsh over the counter product with toxic ingredients.
- Soothe cuts, wounds, and minor burns – It is helpful in treating knee scrapes, cooking burns, bee stings, and other boo-boos. Just dab 1 or more drops on right out of the dropper and daub on the injury.
- Diaper rash – Mix a few drops with a carrier oil to soothe and heal.
- Earaches – Many moms have had success treating these aches at home. Dilute in warm olive, almond, or coconut oil and use a few drops in the ear. Hold head to the side for one minute and then let the ear drain, using a cotton ball or washcloth to collect excess oil.
- Eczema and Psoriasis – Put a few drops in a warm bath and have a good soak. This soothes and disinfects problem skin.
- Sunburns – A few drops tea tree oil diluted into coconut oil makes a great sunburn lotion that will help with any soreness that may prevent you from sleeping and moving without pain and will reduce blistering or peeling. OR, add 6 drops of tea tree to 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel and apply.
- Takes the sting out of insect bites.
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