Learn how you can use tea tree oil from top to bottom from Webber Naturals expert, Wendy Tao!
What Is Tea Tree Oil Used For?
Tea tree oil (Melaeuca alternifolia) has strong anti-fungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and is an important addition to every medicine cabinet. Here's why: while there is some controversy over tea tree oil's best usage, there is little doubt about its usefulness. In popular practice, it is used to ease many conditions: acne; fungal infections, such as athletes foot and nail fungus; minor skin abrasions; coughs and colds, where the tea tree oil is used as an inhalant; head lice; and as a topical disinfectant for skin or household surfaces. Because the oil seems to be able to penetrate the outer layer of skin, it can be used to heal or ease the discomfort of everything from insect bites, to cuts, burns, and acne, to scabies, diaper rash, hives, poison ivy, poison oak and sunburns. In addition, soaps and shampoos containing tea tree oil can help maintain healthy, clean skin, hair and scalps.
For thousands of years, the Bundjalung aborigines of Australia have crushed and soaked the leaves of this tree to use as a tea or inhalant to ease coughs and colds. And, scientifically, tea tree oil has been extensively tested and is widely used as a topical treatment for pain, wounds, inflammation, fungal and bacterial infections, and to improve a wide range of skin conditions.
What Is In Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil contains a natural chemical compound known as terpenes. Terpenes are molecules made up of carbon and hydrogen and can also be found in beta-carotene, from carrots, and lycopene, which is found in apples and tomatoes.
“There are many antiseptics and disinfectants that have greater antimicrobial activity than TTO, however, none of them are natural. Also, it is unlikely that any of them have the same range of properties that TTO has, such as antimicrobial activity, anti-inflammatory activity and apparent skin penetrating capacity.”
-Dr. Christine Carson, a member of the University of Western Australia’s Tea Tree Oil Research Group.
Dr. Carson has been studying the antimicrobial properties of this herb for more than ten years.
The University of Western Australia has a Tea Tree Oil Research Group dedicated to investigating this oil’s antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. A promising new possibility for this multi-purpose oil is to counteract methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), also referred to as the hospital super bug. MRSA has become a problem in some hospitals, attacking patients with open wounds, or post-operative infections and compromised immunity. Unfortunately, MRSA does not respond to most antibiotics but, because MRSA is spread by people’s hands, some hospitals and doctors are using tea tree oil soap to protect themselves, their staff and their patients.
According to its users, tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory properties reduce pain and help speed recovery from sprains and other joint problems. Although the topical use of tea tree oil is generally well tolerated, the essential oil is very potent so commercially available tea tree oil products may vary between lesser percentages of tea tree oil, such as 60% or 20%, up to 100%. Some people mix tea tree oil with almond oil for general use.
Who Can Use Tea Tree Oil?
If you have allergies, place the oil on a small area of your skin before using it more broadly. Tea tree oil is not recommended for people with dermatitis or other chronic skin conditions and is for external use only. Tea tree oil is also not to be used on cats or dogs as it may be toxic for them.
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