Tea tree oil is one of those bathroom cabinet essentials I cannot do without. It’s a multi-tasking gift from Mother Nature thanks to its naturally occurring antiseptic properties.
This “jack of all trades” essential oil has been used for numerous beauty, health and household uses. Today’s post explores the brief history behind tea tree oil, and lists a number of examples where tea tree oil can be your savior.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with naturally occurring antiseptic properties. It has a pale yellow coloring, and a strong, distinctive medicinal scent. Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree, a native of Australia.
A brief history of tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil got into the healthcare spotlight in the 1920’s when researcher Arthur Penfold published findings on its antimicrobial properties, and concluded tea tree oil was 11 times more active than phenol.
However, the Aborigines of Australia have been using the leaves of the indigenous Melaleuca Tree (whose leaves are used to make tea tree oil) in their medications for centuries. Crushed leaves were inhaled to treat coughs and colds, applied to wounds and soaked to treat sore throats and troubled skin.
Where can tea tree oil be bought in the UAE?
I buy the ‘Thursday Plantation’ brand of tea tree oil from Boots Pharmacy. It is genuine 100% pure Australian tea tree oil, and costs AED 80 for a 25 ml dropper bottle.
One bottle lasts me a good 2 to 3 months as you only need a few drops per use. Boots Pharmacy regularly has their ‘2 for 3’ offers, and last month I took advantage of this and stocked up!
Tea tree oil has an infinite number of uses. It is used for beauty, health and general home purposes.
Note of caution: Tea tree oil should only be used topically, as it is toxic if ingested.
Clears Acne: Australian researchers have found that a 5% solution of tea tree oil is just as effective as benzoyl peroxide (the most commonly prescribed drugstore remedy for acne).
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with 20 drops of witch hazel, and apply to acne-affected skin with a cotton swab twice a day.
Natural Moisturizer: I use this on my face when my skin feels particularly parched, and the characteristic scent of tea tree oil refreshes and rejuvenates.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a carrier oil of your choice (choose between olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil or canola oil), and massage onto the face. Avoid contact with eyes.
Makeup Remover: Tea tree oil’s natural antiseptic properties makes it ideal for cleansing the skin.
In a sterilized jar, mix together quarter-cup extra virgin coconut oil and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Blend well, and store in a cool, dark place To use, soak a cotton ball in this mixture, and use to remove makeup. Wash off with warm water.
Pore Shrinking Toner: Make your very own toner with all-natural ingredients to shrink pores and keep them unclogged.
Mix in 5 drops of tea tree oil in a cup of lukewarm water. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice, and dab onto face liberally.
Hair Growth Stimulation: Many advocates of tea tree oil swear by its hair-growth promoting abilities.
Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl, and stir in approximately 10 drops of the tea tree oil. Massage vigorously into the scalp, and wash off after 20 minutes. Repeat weekly for visible results.
Aromatherapy Bath: The scent of tea tree oil can be likened to eucalyptus. It is characteristically bold, pungently refreshing, and effervescently cleansing to the nostrils.
A few drops of tea tree oil to a running bath of water soothes tired nerves, and its antibacterial properties makes it a powerful detoxifier.
Foot odor: A few drops of tea tree oil in your favorite foot soak can do wonders to smelly feet!
Minor Cuts & Wounds: The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil make it an ideal candidate for dabbing onto minor wounds.
Soothes Insect Bites: Likewise, tea tree oil is a great healing balm for nasty insect bites.
Increase Immunity: The disinfecting properties of tea tree oil are believed to help stimulate the immune system.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular oil burner or air diffuser. It acts as an air purifier.
Many people massage tea tree oil onto the soles of their feet to increase immunity.
Coughs & Colds: The scent of tea tree oil is very soothing on sinus.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your vaporizer and inhale the steam to clear coughs, colds and runny noses.
Bronchial Congestion: Tea tree oil’s medicinal properties have been proven to aid in minimizing the discomforts of a bronchial congestion.
Add 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil to an ounce of a carrier oil (such as olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil or canola oil), and massage onto the chest and throat three times a day.
Muscle Aches and Pains: Tea tree oil is a natural replacement for all your massage balms.
To alleviate aches and pains in a nice hot bath, mix together ten drops of tea tree oil with half a cup of Epsom salts, and dissolve into the bath water.
For a soothing massage oil, mix ten drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of your favorite carrier oil (you can choose between olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil or canola oil). Massage well.
Relieves Ear Aches: Who knew this miraculous oil can help with nagging ear aches? This natural antidote has been used by many. To be honest, I don’t think I would want to try this myself. The thought of pouring oil in my ears doesn’t sound appealing.
Mix together 1 drop of tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, drop mixture into the ear and then remove by tilting the head.
Chicken Pox: Calamine Lotion must be the most commonly used antidote for soothing chicken pox itches. However, this can also be substituted with the natural goodness of tea tree oil.
Blend a tablespoon of olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil and use in place of Calamine Lotion.
Combats Head Lice: Head lice detest tea tree oil!
Prevent head lice by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo.
For getting rid of head lice, increase the dosage! Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of shampoo. Massage in thoroughly, and leave on for 10 minutes. Repeat 3 times a day till the eggs are gone.
Make your own All-Purpose Cleaner: Make a natural homemade cleaning spray without any nasty additives, and keep germs, colds and flus at bay.
In a spray bottle, mix together 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil and 2 cups of water. Shake to blend. Can be used for any household cleaning tasks, and is especially great for the bathroom, and for getting rid of mildew and mold.
Laundry Helper: Tea tree oil adds that ‘fresh and clean’ scent to your laundry, and its disinfecting properties get rid of mold.
Add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to your laundry for towels and other fabrics prone to getting moldy.
Insect Repellant: Why spray your home with poison when you can make your very own natural insect repellant with tea tree oil?
Get rid of insects with this easy-peasy spray: Mix 15 drops of tea tree oil with a quart of water, spray away!
Toothbrush Cleaner: How often do you clean your toothbrush? I mean really, really clean it rather than running it under the tap? Your toothbrush goes into your mouth, so its worthwhile keeping it super-duper clean.
Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly to your toothbrush twice a week to kill bacteria. Leave it on for an hour or so, and rinse thoroughly before use (remember tea tree oil is toxic!).