In ancient aboriginal legends there is talk of a lake surrounded by miraculous trees. When the leaves fell from the trees and settled on the surface of the lake, they released their healing essential oils to the waters. Locals used to immerse themselves in these waters to soothe irritation, itching and infections. The trees of legends are the tea trees, or melaleuca alternifolia, from which the famous tea tree essential oil is obtained by steam distillation. This essential oil should never be missing in the home and should follow you on trips and travels. The reason is explained immediately thanks to the very interesting results offered by the numerous scientific researches that have dedicated themselves to analyzing the properties of the tea tree. Let us try to understand better based on the most recent studies.
Tea tree, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
Tea tree oil is an ally for scalp health. In fact, this remedy is effective in inhibiting the action of the Pityrosporum ovale fungus, the main cause of dandruff. Studies have shown that regular use of a shampoo containing 5% tea tree oil significantly reduced dandruff, itching and greasiness in the hair within a month (Satchell et al, J Am Acad Dermatol, 2002). Not only that, tea tree oil has also been shown to be beneficial in the case of seborrheic dermatitis (Pazyar et al, Int J Dermatol, 2013). You can add two drops of tea tree essential oil to a tablespoon of your shampoo, massage onto your scalp for a minute, then proceed with rinsing.
Tea tree and contact dermatitis
Tea tree essential oil has proven effective, more than zinc or cortisone creams, in relieving eczema and contact dermatitis caused, for example, by nickel allergy (Wallengren et al, Arch Dermatol Res, 2011). To make a tea tree remedy at home, you can do the following. To a tablespoon of aloe gel, you find it in herbalists and specialty stores, add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and apply to the area.
Tea tree and disinfectant action
Studies have shown that tea tree oil acts as a disinfectant and therefore can be used to wash and disinfect hands. In fact, washing hands for one minute with a detergent solution containing 5% tea tree was more effective than a normal soap in removing the bacterium Escherichia coli, used as a control (Messager et al, J Hosp Infect, 2005). In general, solutions containing tea tree are considered useful for disinfecting hands, so much so that it has been proposed to adopt them even in hospital practice (Youn et al, Int J Clin Pract, 2021). In fact, tea tree oil is proven to be antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial against various types of pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumonia, the main cause of pneumonia in adults. In the video blog section of the app you can follow step by step how a liquid hand soap is made with the addition of tea tree.
Tea tree and respiratory health
Tea tree essential oil not only acts topically but can also be inhaled. In this case it proves to be a valid ally for respiratory health. In fact, tea tree oil inhibits the action of bacteria that can affect the respiratory mucosa. In particular, studies have observed that tea tree oil proves useful against the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, responsible for lung infections, preventing the formation of the biofilm that makes Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection very resistant and difficult to eradicate (Haines et al, Lett Appl Microbiol, 2021). But tea tree oil, if inhaled, is also useful in fighting viruses, such as influenza A, and inflammation of the airways (Caliskan et al, World J Gastroenterol, 2021). You can spread tea tree oil in the rooms to purify the air of the house. In this case, add about 5-6 drops of essential oil to the essential oil lamp.
Alternatively, you can also prepare steam inhalations, useful in case of colds, coughs and sinusitis. Bring a bowl of water to a boil, remove from heat and wait a minute. Add 6-7 drops of essential oil, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapors.
Tea tree and cold sores
Tea tree essential oil carries out its antiviral action even in the case of cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. In particular, tea tree has been shown to reduce the extent of lesions and help prevent recurrent infections (Schnitzler et al, Pharmazie, 2001). Pour a drop of tea tree directly onto the lesion.
Tea tree and acne
Using tea tree oil products has been shown to significantly improve mild to moderate acne (Malhi et al, Australas J Dermatol, 2017). As an emergency treatment in case of a pimple that has just popped, you can pour a drop of tea tree on a cotton ball and gently pat the area. For a generalized treatment, you can add 3-4 drops of tea tree to 50 ml of vegetable oil, such as jojoba oil that will also help regulate the production of sebum. Apply a few drops of the product to a damp face.
Tea tree and gingivitis
Tea tree-based rinses have proved useful in treating gingivitis, controlling plaque and reducing inflammation of the oral cavity (Ripari et al, Eur J Dent, 2020). In a glass, pour 100 ml of warm water and add 8-9 drops of tea tree essential oil. This is the quantity tested by the study we talked about.
Tea tree, warnings
Tea tree oil is generally considered safe but in predisposed people it can cause allergic reactions (de Groot et al, Contact Dermatitis, 2016). If you have never used tea tree essential oil, before proceeding with extensive applications, the advice is to do a test on a small area of the skin. Dilute a drop of tea tree in a teaspoon of vegetable oil, apply and wait to make sure no adverse reactions, such as itching or redness, occur.