The popularity of essential oils is growing steadily in the health world. One such essential oil, derived from the leaves of a native Australian plant called Melaleuca alternifolia, is tea tree oil. It has a wide range of applications, from cosmetics to medicines.
Here are 14 benefits and uses of tea tree oil:
- It can be used to treat infections and diseases as it has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. For example, it can be used to treat acne, dermatitis, head lice, etc.
- Tea tree oil soothes dry skin and is very effective in treating eczema. However, it should not be applied directly to the skin. Mix a few drops with some moisturiser or carrier oil and then apply it on the affected areas.
- A study has found that tea tree oil also serves oily skin because of its antiseptic properties. Use a sunscreen that has tea tree oil, or mix a few drops into your toner or moisturiser.
- Tea tree oil, mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the hair and scalp, removes chemicals and dead skin cells and treats dandruff. It helps the hair stay moisturised, healthy, and promotes growth.
- When nails become brittle due to fungal infections, the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil can fight the infection. It also treats yellowed or discoloured nails. Mix a little vitamin E oil with a few drops of tea tree oil and rub the mixture on your nails. Rinse it off after half an hour and apply moisturizer.
- When you get a stye – a swelling at the edge of the eyelid – tea tree oil can cure it owing to its antibacterial properties.
- It is a great insect repellent. It can keep away flies and mosquitos, to a greater extent than commercial insect repellents.
- Sweat in combination with bacteria on the skin produces a strong odour. Tea tree oil’s antibacterial effects help combat this odour, thus acting as a natural deodorant.
- Tea tree oil has been known to act as a natural mouth wash. It can fight germs that cause bad breath and even tooth decay and is also effective against plaque. Take care not to use it directly; add a drop to a cup of warm water and rinse thoroughly.
- Sometimes, fresh fruits and vegetables develop a grey mould called Botrytis cinerea. Tea tree oil’s antifungal properties can help reduce the growth of this mould. Just rinse the produce with water mixed with a few drops of the oil and then dry.
- Tea tree oil is also used to sanitize surfaces. Combine a few drops of tea tree oil with a ¾ cup of water and a ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. Shake thoroughly and spray directly on the surface, and then wipe it with a dry cloth.
- It treats athlete’s foot, a contagious fungal infection that causes peeling, cracking, and blisters on the feet.
- It is a good remedy for belly button infections. Mix it with a spoon of coconut oil, apply to the affected area, and wipe it off after ten minutes.
- Tea tree oil treats swollen lymph nodes. Applying the oil or inhaling it directly from the bottle, both are effective.
Tea tree oil has several benefits due to the above-mentioned properties. However, it should not be consumed or applied directly as it is toxic. Ideally, you should go for oil that is organic which ensures it’s been tested and is free from chemical toxins, fillers or solvents.