Tea tree oil remedies are one of the most common herbal remedies on the market today. Tea tree oil is obtained from the leaves of melaleuca alternifolia, a plant found in Australia. Its modern name dates from when the leaves were used as a tea.
The benefits of tea tree oil have been known for a long time. The Aborigines used it topically to treat skin infections and wounds. Tea tree oil properties are chiefly antiseptic and antifungal.
The uses of tea tree oil remedies extend to treating a number of conditions, including:
- Acne. The benefits of tea tree oil include soothing, reducing, and healing the pustules associated with acne while killing the bacteria which causes it.
- Dandruff and other scalp conditions. Soothes and heals the scalp to reduce symptoms.
- Insect bites. Heals the bite and reduces the possibility of any infection.
- Yeast infections. The antibacterial properties can heal the infection.
- Fungal infections. The oil can fight the infection. Toenail infections, for example, can be treated with a drop of the oil applied regularly. Cream containing tea tee oil can also be applied to the affected area.
- Athlete’s foot. Cream containing the oil can be used on athlete’s foot infections to fight the bacteria.
- Wounds. The antiseptic properties can prevent an infection taking hold.
The essential oil can frequently be found in a number of everyday products such as shampoos, soaps, and skin creams. The essential oil is one of a few that can be applied undiluted to the skin, though a patch test should always be done first to ensure that there will be no reaction. Reactions, however, are very rare.
Many tea tree oil remedies are sold in a diluted form either in a cream or a gel, so the possibility of a reaction from one of these preparations is minimal. Some tea tree oil products use a small percentage of the oil and combine it with other ingredients such as witch hazel, which has similar properties.
Tea Tree Oil and Acne
A number of studies have been carried out into the benefits of tea tree oil and acne treatment. Tea tree oil may take a little longer to work than prescription preparations, but there are far fewer side effects with the oil.
Prescription medications may cause stinging, itching, and dryness of the skin, and tea tree oil can avoid these. The oil works by killing the bacteria on the skin that can cause acne breakouts.
Tea Tree Oil Side Effects
There are very few side effects from tea tree oil remedies. In rare cases the oil may affect hormone levels, and it is advised that pregnant and nursing women should avoid using the oil.
There are occasionally allergic reactions to the oil, ranging in severity. The oil can be used undiluted, but some people may find this too strong. In this case, dilution in a carrier oil or bath water may be the best use.
The oil should never be taken internally, as it could damage the nervous system. In the case of consumption, a medical professional should be consulted immediately.