What is Tea Tree Oil (TTO)?
TTO is an essential oil usually extracted by steam-distillation from the leaves and twigs of the medium-sized Australian tea tree shrub -it has a pale yellow/green color with a distinctive medicinal aroma. From the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family
Medically useful components of standardized (Australian standard AS 2782-1985) TTO
-Cineole (2 - 5% <Cineole < 15%)
Useful properties of TTO
-Antibacterial/Antibiotic- against Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli
Cox SD, Mann CM, Markham JL, Bell HC, Gustafson JE, Warmington JR, Wyllie SG 2000. The mode of antimicrobial action of essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). J Appl Microbiol 88: 170-175.
or Salmonella typhimurium
Wilkinson JM, Cavanagh HM Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Australian native plants. 2005. Phytother Res 19: 643-646.
-Anti-fungal -TTO inhibited growth of all fungi tested: including candida, 26 strains of skin organisms, 54 yeasts and 22 other strains of fungi.
Study of Anti-fungal activity of Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil, University of Leigzig, Germany1996.
Hammer KA, CarsonCF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591-5.
-Other medicinal properties -include: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral,anti-infectious, anti-parasite
How to Use TTO?
Not for oral consumption and generally use undiluted -can be diluted 2-10%. The undiluted oil causes greater skin irritation or allergic reactions, and its internal use is not recommended
Schulz V Rational phytoterapy: A physician's guide to herbal Medicine 2000. West Lafayette: Springer.
-Dilute as necessary in oil -E.g. jojoba oil.Dilute up to 10%
-Apply TTO to infected areas as needed - May require several applications each day over 2-3 weeks.
-TTO may be incorporated into other external-use creams/ointments etc.
-Vaginal use may require a suppository product
• In toothpaste
• In mouthwash
Safety Precautions - Avoid contact with eyes. Keep out of the reach of children. Do not take orally - can use as a mouthwash, but do not swallow TTO. For application to sensitive areas such as near the eyes, mouth, or genitals, use a diluted form of tea tree oil; always dilute for use on a baby's skin. Pregnant women should use tea tree oil cautiously. Test for unwanted reaction to tea tree oil by dabbing a small amount on the inside of your arm and wait for five to ten minutes.
What is Tree Oil used for?
Yeast Infections - Thrush, vaginitis, cystitis,
Dental problems -use at 10% solution. The influence of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia on the healing of infected dental alveoli: a histological study in ratsconcluded that TTO at 20% caused a delay in the repair process of infected dental alveoli in rats, as demonstrated by the presence of more necrosis area and less osteogenesis.
• Acne (9% solution)
• Athlete's Foot
• Oily skin
• Dandruff -use in shampoo / rub diluted TTO into scalp 10%
• Wounds/Cuts/Abrasions (infected)
• Mouth ulcers
• Insect bites
• Rashes -E..g. diaper rash (10% dilution)
• Nail infections - Eg. Toe nail fungus (use 9% solution)
• Jock itch
• Pruritis (itching) -caused by fungal (such as candida overgrowth)/parasitic infection
E.g. Pruritis ani (rectal itching) -also keep area clean and dry, and reduce sugar intake to reduce fungal/parasitic overpopulation of intestines
• Ringworm -which is a fungus
• Warts -caused by a virus; dab on undiluted throughout day. May take 3-4 weeks to completely shrink and dry up. BTW, Warts do not have roots. Cover with strong tape after application. Warts appear with a weakened immune system, which would otherwise take care of them.
Other Uses - Air purifier, insect repellent
Chronic low-level inflammation (CLII) involved in almost all health problems
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General electrotherapy health benefits. Used systemically and/or locally at specific problem areas of the body, its effective application has many benefits:
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