By far one of my most favorite oils, you might say that tea tree oil is what turned me onto natural skin care sans chemicals. This aromatic essential oil can travel through air, penetrating pores of the skin and mucus membranes; when diffused, the volatile hydrocarbons act as a powerful antibacterial to purify air.
Fresh, piney, clean scent. Similar to camphor or rosemary essential oil.
Tea tree oil is very effective as an expectorant, helping to relieve congestion through its antiviral properties.
- Add a few drops to a cold-air diffuser, or to a bowl of hot, steaming water before draping a towel over yourself and inhaling deeply.
A more volatile essential oil than most, tea tree oil can be stored in a glass jar up to six months after opened. Storing tea tree oil in a plastic bottle greatly reduces its shelf life by half. You can extend the shelf life of your tea tree oil by refrigerating or storing in a cool place; it may be helpful to store it outside your bathroom if you’re partial to hot, steamy showers.
Loaded with antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, tea tree oil is a great natural household cleaner. The primary active ingredients in tea tree oil that responsible for combating bacteria include terpene hydrocarbons, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes.
- Mold treatment – Mix a drop with a cup of water, spray on moldy areas, and then wipe clean. For an all-natural disinfectant, you can also sprinkle a few drops of tea tree oil along with baking soda on your bathroom or kitchen surfaces.
- Natural pest control – The strong smell of tea tree oil naturally repels ants and other insects. I recommend making a natural insect repellent by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil.
- Laundry freshener – Adding a few drops of this oil during the wash cycle will make your laundry smell crisper and kill organisms lurking in your washer.
Tea tree oil has been proven as an effective treatment for dandruff, including relieving itchiness and lesions while being well-tolerated among recipients. It also unclog hair follicles while balancing overall sebum production.
- Add a few drops to your shampoo and/or conditioner of choice.
Note: While tea tree oil has had reported effects against head lice, I don’t recommend it as a treatment for small children. With the risks of skin and eye irritation, blindness, and stomach upset or toxicity if swallowed, why take the risk?
Studies show that tea tree oil is just as effective as benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment, working to manage sebum production and fend of bacteria.
- Add a few drops to your cleansing oil of choice when washing your face with the oil cleansing method.
- Apply a few drops to a cotton bowl and hold to the affected area for 30 seconds.
Due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties, tea tree oil is an effective treatment against toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, and cleaning cuticles. Simply soak your feet (or hands) in warm water mixed with 10 drops of tea tree oil.
- Add a tablespoon of baking soda or Epsom salts to your hot bath to help encourage blood circulation and ease tension.
Eczema & Psoriasis
Tea tree oil may be helpful in relieving inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Mix one teaspoon coconut oil, five drops of tea tree oil and five drops of lavender oil to make homemade tea tree oil eczema lotion or body soap.
Tea tree oil can irritate skin and cause severe dryness, itching, redness, when applied directly to the skin. When used topically, always use a carrier oil – jojoba oil, olive oil, even witch hazel are safe options.
Tea tree oil can increase sensitivity to UV radiation, so use sparingly prior to sun exposure and – as always – use your sunscreen!
Internal consumption of tea tree oil is extremely toxic. The side effects of consuming tea tree essential oil can be quite serious, including confusion, hallucinations, drowsiness, coma, unsteadiness, severe rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, general weakness, stomach upset, and blood cell abnormalities.
Keep away from pets and children.