Tea Tree Essential Oil Profile
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil
Botanical Family: Myrtaceae
Chemical Families: Monoterpenes
Monoterpenols, Sesquiterpenes, Oxides
Sourced: Australia, South Africa
Steamed Distilled from: leaves
Shelf life: 3 years
Aromatic Notes – Vibrant, fresh, medicinal, herbaceous, slightly minty and sometimes floral
Energetic Properties – clarifying, cleansing, energizing, uplifting, soothing, strengthening
Chemical Families Profile:
Monoterpenes - gamma-terpene, a-terpinene, terpinolene, p-cymene, limonene, sabinene, a-pinene
Monoterpenols - terpenen-4-ol, a-terpineol
Oxides - 1,8 Cineole
Sesquiterpenes -d-cadinene, aromadendrene
strong actions: airborne antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antifungal (candida), antihistaminic, antinociceptive, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumoral, antiviral, CNS depressant, disinfectant, hypotensive, kills dust mites and head lice, treats scabies
supportive actions: analgesic, anti-proliferative, cephalic (increases cerebral blood flow), cognition enhancement, dopaminergic, gastroprotective, immunostimulant, insomnia treatment, mucolytic, neuroprotective, sedative
I have a good bit of good things to say about Tea Tree essential oil. This post focuses on (organic) Tea Tree / Melaleuca alternifolia and information you will find useful for everyday use. The modern reputation of Tea Tree oil has been well known for nearly a hundred years now, though its history goes back for centuries. It is probably second only to Lavender for recognition and wide array of uses, though it would be difficult to tell which has a longer history of medicinal uses.
It has been used for ages by indigenous people of Australia as a potent disinfectant dressing for cuts and wounds. Cpt. James Cook became familiar with the powerful plant when introduced to a tea made from the leaves in the early 1700s. He was so impressed with its medicinal properties he brought specimens back to England. The early 1920s saw the first human clinical trials by Dr. Arthur Penfold documenting the wide array of uses and powerful benefits. Its fame and popularity quickly spread; so much so that there continues to be myriads of studies focusing on the properties of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and successful applications.
Ask anyone who is familiar with Tea Tree and they would likely name antiseptic as its top use. I have witnessed the power of this property on many occasions. It offers a broad spectrum of medicinal purposes for skin (as in Acne blends) and first aid treatments as well as for oral health. EOs with such disinfecting power are often too harsh for the skin. Tea Tree, however, is skin friendly.
The same goes for scalp and hair use. Tea Tree is balancing and rejuvenating for the scalp and particularly the hair follicles. Consider the fact that some baldness is caused by bacteria down in the follicles. Alopecia is due in part to inflammation of the follicles. Dandruff can be related to bacteria and inflammation. Using Tea Tree in a conditioning treatment can help reduce bacteria and inflammation, balance Ph levels,
stimulate circulation to the follicles, as well as soothe, cool, and moisturize the scalp.
The benefits of Tea Tree apply to various respiratory needs. Let's start with its usefulness as an airborne disinfectant. Whether addressing mold/mycotoxins, germs, and pathogens, Tea Tree is an effective airborne cleanser. Using it in a diffuser either while you are in or out of a room will help refresh and prepare a clean environment especially for those suffering from respiratory conditions. This means it is also helpful when dealing with colds, flu, bronchitis, and even asthma (just be sure that there are no allergies or sensitivities specifically to Tea Tree). When you consider its disinfectant properties along with anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, keeping this versatile oil on hand is a must.
I highly recommend using Tea Tree in any aspect of housecleaning. I have used it in household blends for decades. In fact, it is one of the foundational ingredients in my Sani-T cleansing blend. When I spray down bathroom fixtures I get more than just the benefit of cleaning the sink, toilet or shower because I am cleaning the air and my lungs at the same time! Can the same be said about mainstream cleaning chemicals? Scouring a shower stall with Tea Tree in the mix has yet another added benefit because of its anti-fungal properties. Basically, you inhibit mold and mildew growth by using Tea Tree in your blend. Cleaning counters, walls, doors and door knobs, washing draperies and sheets, mopping floors, washing cabinets and drawers...anything you can think of, will fill your home with a clean fresh aroma that also boosts your immune system.
Let's talk a minute about cognitive support. Tea Tree has cephalic actions. This means that is encourages blood flow to the brain. Think a moment of what that means when compounded with all the other uses in your home! Cleaning your toilet? Help your brain - and lungs! Wiping the counter? Help your brain - and lungs! Making a bug spray? Help your brain - and lungs!
Getting rid of shoe odors? Well, you are going to help a lot more than your brain and lungs there, my friend; especially when you consider the antifungal actions are not just for the air but also for the skin. Stinky feet, Athletes foot and toenail fungus can benefit greatly with use. Think about the cooling, analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions soothing your feet at the end of the day! Oh, my - can you just feel it?
What are the safety concerns? First, Tea Tree does not have GRAS status and can be toxic if ingested. If you swallow a little during gargling or an oil pull, no worries. It just should not be taken internally. Tisserand states there is low risk of skin sensitization and that maximum dermal use should not exceed a 15% blend. The shelf life is generally three years before it can start to oxidize. Never used oxidized oils for personal or therapeutic use though old oils can be used for cleaning.
Keeping Tea Tree essential oil in your go-to kit is a must! You can get it almost anywhere nowadays, but when you get it here you can be sure it is organic and tested for purity. It is of the utmost importance to make sure your aromatherapy oils have proof of freshness and purity - not just claims. This way, whether you use it for respiratory issues, fungal, bacterial, or viral infections, skin or scalp care, you are getting all the advantages and none of the disadvantages. See the Common Uses below for ideas on daily uses and enjoy Tea Tree for yourself today!
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Add one or two drops to a cotton ball or bottom of a shot glass and inhale slowly and deeply for several minutes to help combat respiratory congestion (or inhale straight from the bottle).
Add 6-10 drops per ounce of carrier (like organic Grapeseed oil) to help balance and moisturize acne prone skin.
Add 20-25 drops per ounce of carrier (like organic Grapeseed oil) and dab directly on to a blemish.
Add 10 -12 drops to an ounce of carrier oil to rub on your feet to help with odors and soreness.
Add a drop to your shampoo or conditioner to reduce dandruff or to support hair growth.
Inhale straight from the bottle (or make an inhaler) or place a couple drops on a tissue to help refresh and fend off brain fog.
Inhale or diffuse to freshen and clean the air.
Add a drop or two to a diffuser necklace or patch for immune support or for revitalization.
add a 4-6 drops per ounce of alcohol based hand sanitizer and spritz on hands, clothes, surfaces, or in the air.
Sources & Studies:
Tisserand Institute https://tisserandinstitute.org/safety-guidelines/
Aromahead Insatitute https://www.aromahead.com/
BinShabaib MS, ALHarthi SS, Helaby BS, AlHefdhi MH, Mohammed AE, Aabed K. Comparison of the Anti-bacterial Efficacy of Saussurea costus and Melaleuca alternifolia Against Porphyromonas gingivalis, Streptococcus mutans, and Enterococcus faecalis: An in-vitro Study. Front Oral Health. 2022 Jun 27;3:950840. doi: 10.3389/froh.2022.950840. PMID: 35833191; PMCID: PMC9271692.
Nascimento T, Gomes D, Simões R, da Graça Miguel M. Tea Tree Oil: Properties and the Therapeutic Approach to Acne-A Review. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Jun 12;12(6):1264. doi: 10.3390/antiox12061264. PMID: 37371994; PMCID: PMC10295805. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10295805/
Edmondson M, Newall N, Carville K, Smith J, Riley TV, Carson CF. Uncontrolled, open-label, pilot study of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil solution in the decolonisation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus positive wounds and its influence on wound healing. Int Wound J. 2011 Aug;8(4):375-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-481X.2011.00801.x. Epub 2011 May 12. PMID: 21564552; PMCID: PMC7950497.
Rogawansamy S, Gaskin S, Taylor M, Pisaniello D. An evaluation of antifungal agents for the treatment of fungal contamination in indoor air environments. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jun 2;12(6):6319-32. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120606319. PMID: 26042369; PMCID: PMC4483703. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26042369/
Madia VN, Toscanelli W, De Vita D, De Angelis M, Messore A, Ialongo D, Scipione L, Tudino V, D'Auria FD, Di Santo R, Garzoli S, Stringaro A, Colone M, Marchetti M, Superti F, Nencioni L, Costi R. Ultrastructural Damages to H1N1 Influenza Virus Caused by Vapor Essential Oils. Molecules. 2022 Jun 9;27(12):3718. doi: 10.3390/molecules27123718. PMID: 35744845; PMCID: PMC9230754. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35744845/