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Tea tree essential oil properties and uses

Published: 5 October, 2016 - Updated: 17 July, 2017 | 2'

Tea tree essential oil properties and uses

Tea trees naturally grow in Australia. They belong to the myrtle family. The name "tea tree" is thanks to Capitan Cook, whose seamen used to make a spicy tea using the needle leaves from this plant.

The botanical name of this species is Melaleuca alternifolia. This tea tree is very resistant and seldom suffers disease. Its leaves grow so quickly that they can be harvested every 15-18 months.

The earliest inhabitants of Australia, the Aborigines, used tea tree compresses to treat skin problems. The first white colonies quickly learnt of the benefits of tea tree oil from the Australian outback from the Aborigines. It soon became an important part of the outback first aid kit.

Tea tree oil is colourless and smells like turpentine. It is obtained by steam distilling tea tree leaves.

How to use tea tree essential oil

On skin:

  • Apply oil to spots and blackheads every day.
  • To treat dandruff and greasy and irritated scalps, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your usual shampoo.
  • For a refreshing bath or to clean dirty skin, add around 10 drops of tea tree oil to a dessert spoon of oil (e.g. olive or avocado oil) or honey and add to your bath water.
  • You can also prepare a refreshing foot soak in the same way. For preventative foot care, apply a few drops of oil to your skin.
  • Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to water to wash intimate areas.
  • You can also blend tea tree oil with other oils to apply to skin, shampoos and creams.

Hair care:

  • Mix some drops of tea tree oil with your shampoo to soothe itching, or apply the oil directly to your scalp for a few minutes before washing your hair to prevent dandruff, head lice and fungal scalp infections.

Home cleaning:

  • Add 20 drops of tea tree oil to the cleaning water.
  • You can also use tea tree oil to disinfect laundry by adding 20 drops in the last cycle.

Oil burners:

  • Tea tree oil can also be used as an air freshener.
  • It stimulates the mind and aids concentration,
  • It can also ward off insects.
  • You can also blend it with other essential oils, such as lavender, lemon or citronella.

Pet care

Essential oils are becoming increasingly common as a treatment in veterinary practice and pet care, especially for dogs, cats and horses. Take care when treating small animals with tea tree oil, given its high concentration.

  • To treat fleas: Bathe your pet and apply 10-20 drops of tea tree oil onto a sponge and scrub your pet's skin. This treatment also improves their skin.
  • To treat ticks: Apply tea tree oil to the tick and the surrounding area and wait 10 minutes. Then, pull the tick away if it hasn't loosened by itself already. Continue to rub tea tree oil onto the affected area three times a day for the time needed.


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