8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil

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8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil

Widely known for its topical antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil deserves a permanent spot in your natural medicine cabinet. You can reach out to this holistic healing remedy not only for fungal infections like athlete's foot, jock itch, toenail fungus, or scabies, but to eradicate dandruff, head lice too. To ensure safe usage, always dilute with carrier oil.

The world is waking up to the benefits of tea tree. But did you know that it has been traditionally valued for its medicinal properties by Bundjalung Aborigines from New South Wales? They inhaled the scent of crushed tea tree leaves for colds and coughs, sprinkled them on wounds, and used infusions to treat skin disorders. And their oral history has tales of wondrous healing lakes which were lagoons into which tea tree leaves had been falling over time.1 So lets’ take a look at what this miraculous plant can do for you. It can:

8 Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil

1. Help With Herpes

The herpes virus (HSV 1 and HSV 2) causes cold sores and genital herpes. Now, there is no cure for herpes but did you know that according to research tea tree oil shows virucidal activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2?2 Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton swab and dab the affected area to deal with the painful blisters caused by the herpes virus. Applying it as soon as you notice signs of an attack (for instance, you may feel a tingling or burning sensation in the affected area before the appearance of blisters) coming on may even prevent an outbreak.3

2. Kill Ticks

Infected ticks can give you Lyme disease which starts off as a circular rash but can affect your nervous system, cause heart problems, and meningitis if left untreated. Now according to research, tea tree essential oil can be lethal to ticks (Ixodes ricinus) when inhaled and can be used to control an infestation.4 5

3. Deal With Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot can give you itchy, red, scaly, dry, cracked, or blistered skin. This fungal infection usually affects skin between your toes or on your soles. And tea tree oil can come to your rescue here too. According to one study most people with Athlete’s foot who applied tea tree oil (50% or 25% concentration) to affected parts twice a day for four weeks showed a marked improvement. 6 So try dabbing on some diluted tea tree oil if you get a fungal skin infection.

4. Treat Fungal Nail Infections

A fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) can give you thick, yellow nails that may crumble or separate from your skin and make it uncomfortable to walk, stand for long periods, or even wear shoes.7 But tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat this condition. One study which compared an antifungal medicine (1% Clotrimazole) with 100% tea tree oil found that when they were applied twice daily for 6 months tea tree oil actually performed slightly better than the antifungal medication.8 Apply tea tree oil to the infected part for relief.

5. Help With Vaginal Infections

Vaginal infections can cause itching and pain in the vagina. You may also experience a foul odor. However, tea tree oil acts as a germicide against common vaginal pathogens like trichomonas vaginalis and candida albicans. Add a little diluted tea tree oil to a tampon and insert it. Do remember not to leave the tampon in for more than twenty four hours. Cleaning the vagina with a mixture of water and diluted tea tree oil can also be helpful.9

6. Treat Dandruff

Dandruff can leave you feeling self conscious about your itchy scalp. But don’t worry, tea tree oil can help you get rid of dandruff. According to research tea tree oil acts against Malassezia, a yeast which is associated with dandruff. And studies have found that a shampoo with 5% tea tree oil can improve itchiness and greasiness in people with dandruff and effectively treat the condition. 10 Now if you have an itchy scalp due to lice, don’t worry tea tree oil works for that too!

7. Tea Tree Oil For Your Skin

Tea tree essential oil is traditionally used to treat a variety of skin conditions. It works really well as a natural antiseptic for skin infections. And it’s used for acne, bruises, insect bites, scabies (where tiny mites infect your skin and cause a rash), diaper rash, hives, poison ivy etc. Do remember that some people have an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) to tea tree oil when it’s used topically and so it’s always better to dilute the essential oil and do a patch test before applying it.11

8. Should You Use Tea Tree Oil To Treat Gum Disease?

According to research tea tree oil is effective against a wide range of oral bacteria.12 Studies have also found that it is useful in treating gum disease (gingivitis) and that it reduces bleeding in the gums when applied topically. However, tea tree oil can be extremely toxic if it’s swallowed therefore it might not be a good idea to use it in the mouth.13

References   [ + ]

1. Carson, C. F., K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley. “Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties.” Clinical microbiology reviews 19, no. 1 (2006): 50-62.
2. Schnitzler, P., K. Schön, and J. Reichling. “Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture.” Die Pharmazie 56, no. 4 (2001): 343-347.
3. Olsen, Cynthia. Australian Tea Tree Oil First Aid Handbook: 101 Plus Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil. Lotus Press, 1999.
4. Iori, A., D. Grazioli, E. Gentile, G. Marano, and G. Salvatore. “Acaricidal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree oil) against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus.” Veterinary parasitology 129, no. 1 (2005): 173-176.
5. Lyme disease. National Health Service.
6. Satchell, Andrew C., Anne Saurajen, Craig Bell, and Ross StC Barnetson. “Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: A randomized, placebo‐controlled, blinded study.” Australasian journal of dermatology 43, no. 3 (2002): 175-178.
7. Fungal Nail Infections. Blue Shield of California.
8. Buck, David S. “Comparison of Two Topical Preparations for the Treatment of Onyehornycosis: Melaleuca altemifilia (Tea Tree) Oil and Clotrimazole.” The Journal of family practice 38, no. 6 (1994).
9. Pizzorno Jr, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. Textbook of natural medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012.
10. Satchell, Andrew C., Anne Saurajen, Craig Bell, and Ross StC Barnetson. “Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 47, no. 6 (2002): 852-855.
11. Tea Tree Oil. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.
12. Hammer, K. A., L. Dry, M. Johnson, E. M. Michalak, C. F. Carson, and T. V. Riley. “Susceptibility of oral bacteria to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil in vitro.” Oral microbiology and immunology 18, no. 6 (2003): 389-392.
13. Soukoulis, S., and R. Hirsch. “The effects of a tea tree oil‐containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis.” Australian dental journal 49, no. 2 (2004): 78-83.