Hold the disinfectant! Next time you need to clean anything, whether it’s a wound, a benchtop or your tinea laden toenails, try using tea tree, the great Australian essential oil. It has proven properties, is safe and multi-purpose.
Only use aromatherapy grade essential oils when you want healing or anti-bacterial properties. There are many grades of tea tree oil on the market, and while they’re good for non-specific cleaning, you won’t get the serious benefits. The label on the bottle should include the botanical name of the plant.
Tea Tree Has a History
Melaleuca alternifolia, the common Australian native paperbark tree, is the source of tea tree essential oil. It’s a very common and useful essential oil which is showing enormous possibilities as an effective anti-bacterial agent.
It’s not new; the aborigines used tea tree (though not the essential oil since they didn’t know about distillation) for thousands of years, using teas, poultices and even swimming in water that was overhung by the trees. They treated everything from coughs and colds to wounds and headache. And so can we.
What are the Benefits of Tea Tree?
The great divide between mainstream medicine and natural healing is never clearer than in the discussion about tea tree oil. It has been shown to be effective against the dreaded hospital-induced MRSA infection. Lots of small studies have shown positive results, but as yet, there’s been none of the large scale interest that’s needed to give credibility. So still it fails to show up in hospitals and clinics despite being cheap and freely available.
But there are lots of ways that we can benefit from this wonderful oil, with just a few of them here:
- Antiseptic: wash small open wounds, infected or not with a solution of 5 drops in 100ml of water. For a hand wash, add 2 drops into your hand, add a squirt of soap, and wash as normal
- Anti-fungal: for tinea – 5 drops in 10mls; mix into a cream or carrier oil. For ingworm – 1 drop neat, 3 times a day
- Headache (especially sinus): inhale direct from bottle or tissue
- Flu: add 3 drops to a bath; use 2-3 drops in a vaporiser
- Toothbrush hygiene: put one drop onto your toothbrush and leave in the air to dry. It will disinfect it and provide a built-in mouthwash next day. Treat nailbrush in the same way
- Pimples: as soon as a spot appears, dab with tea tree oil
- Disinfectant: add a few drops when washing sinks, benches, baths and basins
Tea tree is one of the very safe essential oils when used as directed. Like many oils, it shouldn’t be used in pregnancy, and shouldn’t be taken by mouth. It can be used neat on skin, but because people occasionly get skin reactions, you should do a skin test first.
Anti-bacterial Hand Spray
300 ml water
5 ml witch hazel (or you could use vodka instead)
1 ml wheatgerm oil (open a couple of Vit E capsules instead)
5 drops tea tree essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
Mix all the ingredients together and keep in a closed bottle out of the light. Fill a small spray bottle as needed. It will need to be shaken before EACH use. Keep in your handbag, so it’s available whenever you need it during the day. It’s an effective and cheap alternative to commercial hand sprays.
Tea tree is such a versatile oil that it really should be in every medicine cabinet and first aid kit.