If you are looking for an alternative treatment to health related issues like skin infections, you may have read about the potential benefits of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to coastal areas of Australia. It is extracted from the plant through steam and distillation. Sometimes tea tree oil is referred to as Australian Tea Tree Oil and melaleuca oil.
Tea tree oil contains a chemical called terpenes, which has been linked to antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities. Thus, proponents of the benefits of tea tree oil claim a wide variety of health related uses.
Acne: For treatment of acne, add 2 drops of tea tree oil to a wet cotton ball and apply to the infected area. Do not use full strength tea tree oil on your face. Some companies make special diluted tea tree oil solutions for skin use to avoid potential irritation. This is especially helpful for people with sensitive skin. You can also purchase a facial cleanser infused with tea tree oil to help remove makeup, dirt, and bacteria that can lead to acne.
Oral Herpes: There is some scientific evidence that shows one of the benefits of tea tree oil is that it can shorten the length of your herpes outbreak. Place a drop of tea tree oil onto a cotton ball or swab and apply to infected area. If you have sensitive skin, dilute the cotton with warm water first before placing tea tree oil on it. Do NOT ingest tea tree oil.
Dandruff and lice: A 2002 study published in the Journal of The American Academy of Dermatology found that participants who used a shampoo with 5% tea tree oil showed some improvement in the symptoms of dandruff. You can also add about 10-15 drops of tea tree oil to a bottle of regular shampoo and use that solution until dandruff clears. For lice infestations, wash hair with tea tree oil shampoo solution and use a nit comb to remove lice from hair and scalp. Repeat 3-4 times a week until lice are gone.
Dental hygiene and care: The benefits of tea tree oil may be extended to your dental hygiene routine. Create a solution by adding 3 drops of tea tree oil to warm water, rinse and spit. Do NOT swallow tea tree oil. This solution can be helpful for bad breath as well as plaque removal and gingivitis.
Warning: While there are many potential benefits of tea tree oil, some people may experience an allergic reaction. Discontinue use and seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction like difficulty breathing and hives.