I can guarantee that you’ve most likely heard of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil. It’s that one natural household essential that most families have in their natural first aid kit. But do you know where it originated from? Or what true superpowers it possesses for your family and home health? Let’s find out!
A Story About Tea Tree
Let’s start at the beginning and find out how this Australian native traveled halfway round the world to find its way into the everyday household.
Indigenous Australians traditionally used the tea tree bush for many years, long before Western travelers landed on the continent’s shores. They used it in various ways including:
- Inhaling the oil from crushed tea tree leaves to treat coughs and colds
- Applying tea tree leaves to wounds as a poultice
- Brewing an infusion of the leaves into a tea for treatment of sore throats or applying on skin for minor wounds, abrasions, and insect bites
When Captain James Cook (1728-1779), a British explorer and captain in the British Royal Navy, arrived in Australia, the aboriginal people used tea tree leaves to prepare a healing tea for him and his men who then went on to brew a type of beer with it.
In the 1920s, the first published reports of tea tree’s antimicrobial activities were recorded, giving birth to the tea tree industry and the following additional notable moments in tea tree history:
- It became a household remedy in many Australian homes.
- It became an essential part of every Australian soldier’s kit which is probably a large factor in how the rest of the world came to find out about the properties and efficacy of tea tree.
- In the 1950s and early 1960s demand for the oil declined both due to development of antibiotics and a waning image of natural remedies.
- In the late 1960s and early 1970s interest in tea tree was rekindled by the baby boomer generation.
- The first commercial tea tree plantations were established in the 1970s and 1980s – these plantations have evolved to produce today’s consistent, high-quality 100% pure Australian tea tree.
Superpowers of Tea Tree
So, what is it that makes tea tree essential oil so powerful? The oil is mostly made up of the chemical component called terpen-4-ol. Each oil must contain between 30-48% to be effective for its uses (more on that in a moment). Nearly all Australian tea tree oil is traded with 40% terpen-4-ol.
So, now you know what’s in it, what can you do with tea tree essential oil?
Tea Tree’s Fighting Properties
Tea tree essential oil is antiviral, antibacterial (it fights bacteria such as MRSA and URSA which are rapidly becoming resistant to most conventional antibiotics), antifungal and antimicrobial.
Uses for Tea Tree Oil in the Home
Here are our top uses for using tea tree oil in your home:
- Use as an all-purpose cleaner: Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 3 cups of water and half a cup of white vinegar and combine in a spray bottle. Use this all-purpose cleaner to bust all germs lurking on your kitchen worktops, in sinks, and on floors. Use a microfiber cloth with it to wipe down mirrors and windows, too.
- Use for sports equipment: Combine 35 drops of tea tree essential oil with 20 drops of peppermint oil and 35 drops of eucalyptus oil in one ounce of witch hazel and 2 ounces of water. Spray on sports equipment prior to use (with time to dry before using) to help prevent staph, MRSA, strep, and yeast infections.
- Use as toilet bowl scrub: Combine distilled white vinegar and tea tree essential oil and spray mixture inside bowl, and on toilet seat, lid, and handle. Allow cleaner to sit for several minutes. Sprinkle baking soda inside toilet bowl and scrub inside of bowl with a toilet brush. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe vinegar solution off seat, lid, and handle. This deodorizing formula utilizes the antibacterial properties of tea tree oil to kill germs in your toilet bowl and on toilet surfaces.
- Use as a shower cleaner: Combine 5 drops each of the mold-busting duo of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in a 16-oz. spray bottle of water and use it to spray down your shower after use.
Uses for Tea Tree Oil for Family
Tea tree essential oil’s uses doesn’t stop there. It has multiple benefits for your family to use safely at home:
- Use as a daily cleanser: Combine tea tree oil with eucalyptus oil in a base of castile soap to keep your skin fresh and free of acne, blemishes, and other nasty bacteria. And don’t forget to check out our popular gel face cleanser with tea tree!
- Use it after shaving or waxing: Add tea tree essential oil to a soothing cream or lotion and apply. The antibacterial properties of tea tree oil may help prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs.
- Use for cold sores: Dab a couple of drops of tea tree oil on the affected area 2-3 times per day as soon as the area begins to tingle.
- Use for mouth ulcers, sore/bleeding gums, bad breath: Add 3-6 drops of tea tree oil to warm water and gargle daily. Tip: You can use it in place of Listerine!
- Use for cuts, abrasions, insect bites or stings: Dab 1-2 drops of tea tree oil onto the affected area twice daily until healed.
- Use for minor burns: Flush the burn with ice water or under a running tap of cold water. Apply a couple of drops of tea tree oil directly to the affected area twice daily until healed.
- Use for fungal skin infections: For example, athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, finger and toenails, and vaginal infections. These can all be treated safely and effectively with tea tree oil.
- Use for dry hair: A gentle, non-detergent blend of 2% tea tree oil in a moisturizing shampoo may help unblock sebaceous glands and encourage the free flow of the body’s own moisturizing oils while helping to clear away unsightly dead skin cells. Condition hair with a 2% tea tree oil conditioner.
- Use for oily hair: A tea tree moisturizing shampoo and conditioner may help clear the scalp of bacterial or fungal irritations while helping to disperse trapped skin cells.
- Use for itchy scalp: Using a few drops of pure tea tree oil in an inert carrier oil such as almond, rosehip, or sandalwood seed oil and applying this directly to the scalp for a few minutes prior to shampooing may accelerate improvement of conditions such as dry, oily, or itchy scalp as well as assist in the control of dandruff.
So, even if you knew how amazing tea tree essential oil was before you read this blog, I imagine you may have found an even more amazing use for tea tree oil that you didn’t know about before! All that’s left to do is to hop on over to our webstore and pick up this home essential straightaway!