The scientific name for tea tree oil is Melaleuca oil, which comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree commonly found in Australia. The trees were first known as the “Healing Tea Trees” in South Wales, Australia.
Background and History of Tree Oil
Tracing the history of Tea Tree oil back centuries it is apparent that the Aborigines, native inhabitants of Australia discovered this oil and labeled it the “healing oil.” They bathed in water with this oil to treat a number of conditions from sore muscles to serious diseases. In 1770 Captain Cook and a botanist named Joseph Banks used the leaves from these trees for spicy, refreshing tea, therefore giving it the name of a “tea tree.” The name “tea tree” became popular with the first settlers who learned of the techniques of how the Aborigines used the leaves of these trees for medicinal purposes. But because the settlers did not believe in or have the background to prove the healing qualities of the tea trees many were destroyed in the realm of farming and settling the land.
It was not until the 1920’s that the “tea trees” caught the attention of scientists like Arthur Ramon Penfold, FCS, Chief Chemist at the Museum of Applied Technology, Arts and Scientists in Sydney Australia. Penfold extracted the oil from the Melaleuca alternifolia and announced his findings, which proved the oil did have antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. This ancient Aboriginal remedy was 13 times stronger than the current accepted anti-bacterial agent (carbolic acid) and was non-toxic and non-irritating unlike carbolic acid. Penfold’s results were published in 1925 and put to the test by many enthusiastic doctors.
In 1930, Dr E.M. Humphrey published an article about his findings. He had discovered tea tree oil to be an excellent germicide. His experiments found that the oil dissolved pus and left wounds and the surrounding areas clean. He went on to discover it was good for nail infections, gum and mouth infections, it deodorized pus-filled wounds and made an excellent soothing gargle when dissolved in water for early stages of sore throats. There was more research after Humphrey’s finding and this oil proved to be a great asset with its essential healing properties.
Medical Conditions Commonly Treated by Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil had earned a reputation of the “miracle healer” by the start of the Second World War. It was medically recognized to successfully treat may conditions including:
Ã?Â· Ear, nose and throat infections: tonsillitis, gingivitis, other throat irritations and minor ear infections etc.
Ã?Â· Gynecological infections: yeast infection, candida, thrush etc.
Ã?Â· Nail infections: paronychia, tinea, etc.
Ã?Â· Skin infections: eczema, pediculosis, ringworm etc.
Ã?Â· A wide range of contagious and non-contagious fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections (it was considered effective of pus-filled and dirty infections with its cleaning and deodorizing properties).
Ã?Â· Dental nerve capping and gum infections
Ã?Â· Hemorrhages, wounds and basic first aid etc.
Melaleuca oil or Tea Tree oil was used by surgeons, doctors, dentists and housewives, but as drug companies discovered chemicals and other agents the natural substances lost popularity. The “big” money was in synthetically based drugs that people would need and use for the rest of their lives. Fortunately in the early 1960’s there was a growing awareness of chemical pollution, animal testing and addictions to synthetic drugs with hazardous side effects. During this time Tea Tree oil was rediscovered and recognized for its natural healing properties.
Reaping the Benefits of Tea Tree Oil Through Commercial Products
Today Tea Tree Oil is used in so many products and has so many uses it is hard to list them all. Some of the most common products containing tea tree oil are:
Tea tree oil was proved to be a germicidal therefore it kills the bacteria on hands and other body parts that are washed in soaps that contain this product.
Acne Creams and Lotions
The unique penetrating action of tea tree oil helps to kill bacteria on the skins dermal layers. Its healing properties assist in getting rid of acne and boils
Moisturizing Creams and Lotions
When used in moisturizer the effects of tea tree oil can help with various skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis.
Studies have proven that tea tree oil is great for keeping teeth and gums healthy and white, while helping to fight infections. It is also prevents gum disease and bad breath.
Hair Care Products
This oil is effective in shampoos and conditioners because of its moisturizing properties. It prevents scalp problems such as dandruff and it assists in killing and removing parasites like head lice etc.
Parasiticide and Insect Repellent
Tea tree oil is known to soothe the pain and itching of insect bites, plus it has aided doctors in safely removing parasites such as ticks and other pests. It is also an effective insect repellent.
Antifungal Creams and Foot Care Products
It helps with all kinds of foot problems and infections. Athlete’s foot, ringworm and warts are some examples of fungus infections that can be successfully treated with tea tree oil. Dry skin that is rough and cracked can also benefit from this “miracle” treatment.
Personal Care Products
Tea tree oil is a good deodorant and can kill bacteria and odor. It has been used in lotions, deodorants, sunscreen, hand lotion, bubble bath and after-shave because of its beneficial properties.
First Aid Treatments
Tea tree oil can help to reduce inflammation when rubbed and absorbed into the skin. It can relieve the pain of burns and bee stings as well as reduce the chance of scarring on the skin.
Hand and Nail Care
This oil can treat nail and fungal infections as well as treat and prevent dry, chapped skin on your hands.
Household Cleaning and Laundry
The solvent properties of tea tree oil can remove paint from clothing and upholstery (it is recommended that you dilute it instead of using the concentrated oil). It can remove crayon marks from walls and dissolve the glue residue from stickers and labels without damaging your item. It has anti-bacterial agents that will disinfect household areas. It is a superior ingredient to have in multipurpose cleaners, soaps, furniture polishes, air fresheners, floor cleaners and laundry detergents. Probably one of the most important characteristics of this oil is it is biodegradable so it is good for the environment and safe to use around your family. Natural cleaners are far better for the air quality in our homes than cleaners that contain harsh chemicals.
How to Determine if you are Getting Pure Melaleuca or Tea Tree Oil
Many companies have tried to sell tea tree oil under a generic label and dilute the concentration. The pure oil has the finest properties and will deliver the best results. Pure Tea Tree oil comes from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia. There are no regulations or patents on this oil so companies can easily mix the pure oil with cheaper oils therefore eliminating the healing properties. Consumers need to beware that there are many oils that can technically be called “Tea Tree Oil” or “Melaleuca Oil.” There are over 150 species of Melaleuca trees and some may have identical components, but there is only one authentic “Melaleuca alternifolia.” In order to make sure you are getting the “real thing” make sure it contains more than 35% Terpinen 4-ol and less than 10% Cineole. It is important that your supplier gives you the high grade so you can enjoy the therapeutic properties. When purchasing the oil request a detailed specification.
There are so many uses for Tea Tree oil it is almost unbelievable. Although there has been extensive research on this “miracle” oil many people today are not even aware it exists. Natural substances are becoming more popular among the American population. With scientific research and environmental concerns more and more people are using alternative products. Tea Tree oil can be a wonderful alternative for so many of your families needs. Give it a try and experience the benefits of this miraculous discovery.