Tea tree oil is an essential oil that can be used for several purposes, including keeping skin, hair and nails healthy.
In addition to its scientifically backed benefits, tea tree oil is inexpensive and safe when used as directed.
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.
Tea tree oil has been used as a traditional medicine by Aborigines for centuries. These native Australians crush tea tree leaves to extract the oil, which is then inhaled to treat coughs and colds or applied directly to the skin for healing.
Today, tea tree oil is widely available as a 100% undiluted or "neat" oil. Diluted forms are also available, ranging from 5–50% strength in products designed for the skin.
Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi. Terpinen-4-ol also appears to increase the activity of your white blood cells, which help fight germs and other foreign invaders. These germ-fighting properties make tea tree oil a valued natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions, preventing infection and promoting healing.
Read on to see may uses of Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil makes an ideal natural hand sanitizer.
Studies have shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, including E. coli, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae
Moreover, a study testing several types of hand wash shows that adding tea tree oil to the cleansers boosted their effectiveness against E. coli
Tea tree oil may help keep pesky insects away.
One study found that 24 hours after being treated with tea tree oil, cows had 61% fewer flies than cows not treated with tea tree oil (5).
Furthermore, a test-tube study revealed that tea tree oil had a greater ability to repel mosquitoes than DEET, the most common active ingredient in commercial insect repellents
Tea tree oil has been shown to kill or repel insects. In some cases, it is as effective or more effective than standard insecticides or repellents.
Tea tree oil's antibacterial effects may help control underarm odor related to perspiration.
Sweat itself does not smell. However, when secretions from your sweat glands combine with bacteria on your skin, a moderate to strong odor is produced.
Your underarm area contains a large concentration of these glands and is mainly responsible for what is commonly referred to as "body odor." Tea tree oil's bacteria-fighting properties make it an ideal natural alternative to commercial deodorants and antiperspirants.
Injuries that result in broken skin make it easy for germs to enter your bloodstream, which can lead to infection.
Tea tree oil can be used to treat and disinfect minor cuts and abrasions by killing S. aureus and other bacteria that can cause infection in open wounds
In addition to preventing infection in cuts and abrasions, tea tree oil may also encourage wound healing.
Research has shown that tea tree oil helps reduce inflammation and triggers the activity of white blood cells that are instrumental in the healing process
Tea tree oil can be a powerful weapon against acne. Several studies have shown that it helps reduce the amount and overall severity of acne
Fungal nail infections are quite common. Although they aren't dangerous, they can be unsightly. There are medications that can treat nail fungus, though some people may prefer a more natural approach.
Tea tree oil has been shown to help get rid of nail fungus when used alone or in combination with other natural remedies
Tea tree oil appears to be as effective against fungal nail infections as antifungal medications applied to the area.
Tea tree oil makes a great all-purpose cleaner that also sanitizes surfaces.
Plus, it does so without leaving traces of chemicals you wouldn't want your family members or pets coming in contact with.
Tea tree oil may help relieve inflamed skin.
A common form of skin irritation is contact dermatitis, which occurs when skin comes in contact with an allergen, such as nickel. Exposure to the allergen leads to red, itchy and sometimes painful skin
Applying a tea tree oil mixture may help combat skin inflammation related to contact dermatitis or insect bites.
Dandruff, or white flakes of dead skin that fall from the scalp, isn't dangerous.
Although there is little published research on tea tree oil's effectiveness in treating dandruff, one controlled study suggests that it may be helpful.
In this four-week study, the group who used a shampoo containing tea tree oil had a 40% improvement in dandruff. Moreover, the tea tree group reported significant improvements in dandruff severity, itchiness and greasiness (24).
Although research is limited, one study suggests that tea tree oil may help reduce the severity of dandruff and improve other symptoms.
Athlete's foot can be frustratingly hard to control.
Known medically as tinea pedis, athlete's foot is a contagious fungal infection on the feet that can also spread to the toenails and hands. Symptoms include peeling, cracking, blisters and redness.
Antifungal medications are considered standard treatment for athlete's foot. Yet studies suggest that tea tree oil may be an effective alternative for relieving symptoms
Tea tree oil's antifungal properties may help alleviate symptoms of athlete's foot.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition characterized by outbreaks of red, itchy, scaly skin.
Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which, according to emerging evidence, may be helpful for easing psoriasis symptoms