Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea Tree essential oil is an renown germicidal, anti-bacterial and antifungal, so it’s a great essence for natural cleaning products and is said to help aid the healing of skin infections. It is also said to be a great oil for cold and flu relief, as Tea Tree is a powerful immune system stimulant. In-short, Tea Tree essential oil should be a included as as staple to your natural medicine cabinet.
What does Tea Tree oil smell like?
Tea tree has a refreshing, astringent and camphorous fragrance. It’s unmistakable, but not too dissimilar from eucalyptus in aroma.
Where does Tea Tree oil originate from?
To extract the essence of tea tree from Melaleuca Alternifolia, the leaves and twigs of the hardy, Australian tree are distilled. Melaleuca Alternifolia grows alongside swampy flats and streams and can reach up to 7 feet in height. In spring, it produces clouds of white flowers, giving the tree a fluffy appearance. The tea tree is native to Australia and was used to purify water, and by Australians in WWII as an all purpose healing agent.
Little known fact: it was Captain Cook who first used Tea Tree needles to brew a bitter tasting tea.
What are the properties of Tea Tree oil?
An antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal oil, Tea Tree is as useful in your cleaning cupboard as it is in your medicine cabinet. In numerous medical studies, Tea Tree has been hailed for its ability to kill various strains of fungi and bacteria. Tea Tree essential oil is being used increasingly in cosmetic and cleaning products as a natural antiseptic.
Use Tea Tree essential oil to get relief from the following ailments:
- Athletes foot
- Cold sores
- Insect bites and stings
How to use Tea Tree oil
If you’re feeling anxious, stressed and you’re suffering from hyper anxiety or palpitations, it is said that adding a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil to your bath can calm and clear the senses.
Looking to really freshen your laundry? Our seasonal attire can sometimes go a little musty, or even moldy while it’s stored away at the back of your wardrobe. Thankfully, due to its antibacterial properties, Tea tree oil works wonders as a natural laundry freshener. Add 2-5 drops of Tea Tree to your regular detergent to freshen up even the dankest of old jumpers.
Tea Tree essential oil is a natural insect repellent, and while it cannot be used directly on the skin in large areas without dilution, we have a couple of ways that you can make your own, all natural insect repellent at home.
- Simply add 2-5 drops of Tea Tree oil to a spray bottle half filled with water. Shake well and mist your skin and clothes. You can keep this in the fridge for 2 days before you need to make another batch.
- Combine 2-5 drops of Tea Tree with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and rub directly onto skin before going outside. This will leave your skin feeling soft and fresh as well as keeping the insects at bay.
- If the inevitable happens and you do get a bite from a beastly bug, simply drop 2-3 drops of Tea Tree essential oil onto a cotton bud and dab onto the sting for a instant, cooling relief.
Tea Tree oil recipes
Natural Household cleaner
To make your own homemade Tea Tree cleaner, mix the following ingredients together, and use directly on counters, kitchen appliances and any surface in your bathroom.
- 5–10 drops of tea tree
- 5–10 drops of lemon essential oil
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of vinegar
To make your own spot cleaner for soft furnishings and sports equipment, use the same recipe above, but without the Lemon essential oil.
This basic mouthwash can help to heal mouth ulcers, and the antiseptic mixture can also help to strengthen the gums. Mix together the following ingredients and add 8-10 drops to a small teacup of warm water. Use as a gargle 2-3 times a day. As with all mouthwashes, do not swallow.
- 30ml tincture of myrrh
- 6-8 drops of Tea Tree, Peppermint or Cypress (or go for a mix of all three if you’re feeling brave, but no more that 6-8 drops of essential oil in total)
Oils to compliment Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil does not blend well with other essences, but the aroma can be heightened by mixing it with one of the following oils:
Anything to note?
Because of its astringent properties, tea tree oil may cause irritation to sensitive skin. If in doubt, try a patch test and wait for 24 hours before using the essential oil. Do not orally ingest tea tree essential oil. As with all liquids, keep out of reach of children. Always dilute your oils with a carrier oil before using on the skin - use 1 drop of essential oil to every two teaspoons of carrier oil (5-10% ratio). Do not exceed this dilution ratio.