Tea tree oil, from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, has been a medicinal staple of the Aborigines for hundreds of years. Traditionally, it has been used to treat coughs, colds, and minor health ailments. However, the oil offers more than just medicinal benefits.
Nowadays, tea tree oil can be bought online and in stores inexpensively as a concentrated essential oil. One can also find diluted versions of the oil that come in various strengths. In general, tea tree oil is safe for most people to use when applied to the skin following directions.
Read on for 13 clever ways to use tea tree oil in your everyday life…
Tea tree oil repels insects. In fact, studies have shown that it can be as effective as popular commercial repellents and insecticides at keeping away pesky insects, and in some cases, even more so.
In a recent test-tube research study, tea tree oil repelled mosquitoes more effectively than DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which is the active ingredient in most insect-repelling products.
Sanitize Your Hands
Want to avoid colds, flu, and other common diseases? Keep tea tree oil in your handbag as a natural hand sanitizer. Studies show that it effectively kills the germs responsible for causing these illnesses.
Tea tree oil is effective against S. pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Escherichia coli, as well as other common viruses and bacteria. It’s especially useful for fending off E. coli.
Get Rid of BO
The properties of tea tree oil don’t just kill off the microorganisms that cause common illnesses in people; they also combat the bacteria responsible for producing body odor from perspiration.
For a safe, all-natural deodorant that lasts, combine tea tree oil with coconut oil, baking soda, shea butter, arrowroot powder, and bee wax. The recipe can be found on modernhippiehw.com.
Disinfect Cuts and Scrapes
When the skin breaks due to a cut or a scrape from a minor injury, staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria can get into the bloodstream, but using tea tree oil can help prevent infection.
Simply clean the wound properly using plain soap and water, and then apply a drop of tea tree oil (mixed with coconut oil for best results) and cover it with a bandage. Repeat the process daily.
Speed Up Wound Healing
Wounds and skin abrasions heal faster when you apply tea tree oil appropriately. According to medical researchers, this is because it triggers white blood cell activity and reduces inflammation.
When replacing your bandage for an injury, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the wound dressing each time. This will speed up recovery and possibly leave a less noticeable scar.
If you have acne-prone skin, then give tea tree oil a try. It can be a potent ally in the fight against acne vulgaris, decreasing the number and severity of lesions. It may even be as effective as benzoyl peroxide.
Mix one part tea tree oil with nine parts water for a safe, natural homemade treatment that reduces blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Apply to affected areas using a cotton swab twice daily.
Eradicate Nail Fungus
Fungal nail infections may not be dangerous, but they’re no fun to look at and can hurt your confidence. Fortunately, they can be treated relatively easily using antifungal medications or tea tree oil.
If you prefer the latter, more natural option, then simply apply a few drops of the oil to the affected area regularly. Wash your hands after applications to avoid spreading the fungus.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
Consider making your own mouthwash using tea tree oil. You’ll save money, and research suggests that it may be more effective at fighting the germs that cause dental plaque and bad breath than chlorhexidine.
You can make your own germ-fighting oral rinse by adding a drop of tea tree oil to a warm cup of water. Then rinse for a few seconds and spit as you normally would. Do not swallow the mixture, as it can be toxic.
Clean Your Home
Tea tree oil can also be used as a potent all-purpose home cleaner. As a matter of fact, it can clean and sanitize surfaces without leaving traces of cleaning chemicals that may be potentially harmful.
The recipe: Add 20 drops of tea tree oil to 3/4 cup of water in a spray bottle. Then add half a cup of apple cider vinegar. Mix well by shaking thoroughly and spraying directly onto surfaces before wiping clean.
Reduce Skin Inflammation
Inflamed and irritated skin from allergic contact dermatitis can be relieved using tea tree oil. The oil can also reduce swelling, redness, and uncomfortable itching that may occur with bug bite reactions.
Make a skin-soothing cream by mixing 10 drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Store and apply to irritated skin once or twice daily.
Dandruff is itchy, annoying, and embarrassing. It can also be difficult to treat. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a dollop of shampoo when you wash your hair may help to keep it under control, though.
Although more research is needed, a study conducted over four weeks showed that test subjects who used shampoo containing tea tree oil experienced a significant improvement in dandruff symptoms.
Treat Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s Foot (aka tinea pedis) is typically treated with antifungal medications, but when you haven’t got any handy, tea tree oil can help to alleviate symptoms such as cracking, peeling, blisters, and redness.
Relieve the symptoms of the athlete’s foot naturally by combining 20 drops of tea tree oil with a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder. Apply twice daily after cleaning and drying your feet.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that is not curable. However, characteristic symptoms such as redness, itchiness, and scaling can be managed with medications and natural remedies such as tea tree oil.
To take advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil, create a mixture containing 10 drops of the oil and two tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Apply three times daily.