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Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oils


Tea tree oil has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many purported health benefits. Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia. In fact, tea tree oil is also referred to as Australian tea tree oil or melaleuca oil. The oil has a fresh camphoraceous odor and can have a color that ranges from pale yellow to nearly clear. Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that give it antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some of the ways that Australian tea tree oil may benefit health and wellness:


Antimicrobial Properties

One of the most researched aspects of Australian tea tree oil is its ability to kill harmful microbes. Several studies have found tea tree oil to be effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For example, one test tube study showed that tea tree oil was active against a wide variety of common bacteria including E. coli, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae. Additionally, research demonstrates Australian tea tree oil’s antiviral activity against the influenza virus. The antimicrobial effects are likely due to the high concentration of terpinen-4-ol. When applied topically, Australian tea tree oil may help prevent skin infections and combat acne.


Wound Healing

By reducing inflammation and fighting infection, Australian tea tree oil may accelerate wound healing. One study found that tea tree oil enhanced the rate of wound closure and growth of new tissue compared to conventional wound treatments. Participants treated with tea tree oil reported reductions in pain and improved quality of life. Another study showed improved wound contraction and increased cellular proliferation following application of tea tree oil. More research is needed, but the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Australian tea tree oil show promise in aiding wound healing.


Skin Conditions

Australian tea tree oil may also be beneficial for certain skin conditions thanks to its ability to soothe inflammation and remove bacteria. For example, one study found that Australian tea tree oil reduced symptoms of acne such as amount of lesions and severity. Tea tree oil's antimicrobial effects may inhibit the bacteria that cause acne. Several studies have also shown that tea tree oil gel can reduce dental plaque and gingivitis. Tea tree oil's anti-inflammatory effects may relieve painful and inflamed gums. Research also suggests that Australian tea tree oil could help fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and nail fungus.


Dandruff Treatment

The antifungal properties of Australian tea tree oil make it a popular natural treatment for dandruff. Dandruff results from a buildup of skin cells as well as a fungus called malassezia. By counteracting fungus overgrowth and soothing irritation, tea tree oil may reduce dandruff symptoms. Multiple studies have confirmed that shampoos containing at least 5% tea tree oil lead to significant dandruff reduction and improve scalp health. For an easy dandruff remedy, add a few drops of Australian tea tree oil to coconut oil or shampoo when washing hair.


Respiratory Relief

With its ability to fight bacteria and viruses, Australian tea tree oil may be helpful for relieving respiratory conditions. Steam inhalation with tea tree oil can soothe sore throats and clear nasal congestion. Several studies have found that inhaled tea tree oil reduces symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial effects may counteract the bacteria and viruses causing the respiratory issue. Adding a few drops of Australian tea tree oil to a vaporizer or steaming water can act as a decongestant.


Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The terpinen-4-ol content of Australian tea tree oil lends it anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Tea tree oil was shown in lab tests to suppress markers of inflammation in cells. Used topically, Australian tea tree oil may be able to soothe inflamed skin. One study found tea tree oil reduced skin inflammation symptoms associated with contact dermatitis. The anti-inflammatory effects could also be useful for easing swelling and redness from insect bites, cuts, eczema, and psoriasis.


Toothache Relief

Due to its numbing effects, Australian tea tree oil may help relieve the pain of a toothache. It is commonly used in oral care products like mouthwash. Several studies have found that a toothpaste containing tea tree oil reduces dental plaque as well as gingivitis. Participants reported a decrease in bleeding, redness, and swelling of the gums. Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties also kill bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and infection. The numbing sensation can provide temporary pain relief on aching teeth.


Lice Treatment

Australian tea tree oil may be an effective treatment for head lice. Compared to standard lice treatments like permethrin, tea tree oil seems to have similar efficacy without the potentially hazardous chemicals. One study compared a treatment made from 10% tea tree oil to conventional lice products. Results showed that tea tree oil and conventional treatments resulted in a 100% elimination rate after 2 weeks. However, tea tree oil had fewer side effects. The anti-parasitic effects make Australian tea tree oil a potentially safer natural lice remedy.


Natural Deodorant

Unpleasant body odor comes from bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat into acids. With its antimicrobial properties, Australian tea tree oil makes an excellent natural deodorant ingredient. Tea tree oil kills odor-causing bacteria on the skin. It also has a clean, fresh scent that counteracts unpleasant smells. Research shows that tea tree oil inhibits several strains of bacteria known to cause body odor. Using a few drops of Australian tea tree oil mixed with coconut oil or baking soda can create an effective, all-natural deodorant.


Insect Repellent

While more research is needed, Australian tea tree oil shows potential as a natural repellent for insects like mosquitoes. One study found that 24 hours after application of tea tree oil, volunteers were completely repellent to mosquitoes and other insects. However, the effect only lasted about 1-2 hours after application. Other research has found applying Australian tea tree oil extract to the skin can protect against bites from leeches and ticks as well. The insect-repelling properties may be due to specific compounds like 1,8-cineole. Using Australian tea tree oil on the skin may be an alternative to harsh synthetic repellents.


As you can see, Australian tea tree oil has a wide variety of backed by scientific research. From killing harmful bacteria and fungi, to soothing inflamed skin, to combating dandruff, to mending wounds, Australian tea tree oil’s unique medicinal properties make it a wise addition to any home medicine cabinet or first aid kit. Of course, more human research is still needed. But thus far, the evidence indicates that the natural oil can improve health and treat an array of conditions. So if you’re interested in exploring natural remedies, Australian tea tree oil is an excellent option that could benefit both body and mind.

Mitchel.P Goldman

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