Tea tree oil has often been called 'the wonder oil from Down Under' because of its many beneficial herbal uses. Originally used by the Australian Aborigines who rubbed the leaves on skin cuts and infections because of its healing properties, legend has it that Captain Cook himself was the first European to discover it. According to this legend, he steamed the leaves to make tea and introduced it to the Europeans who called it 'tea tree'. He also gave it to the crew to help prevent scurvy. The early settlers used the twigs and leaves to make tea when real tea wasn’t available.
However, its first medicinal use wasn't reported until 1930 in the Medical Journal of Australia. According to the article, a Sydney surgeon had used a tea tree oil solution to clean a wound. During World War II a solution was given to soldiers to use as a disinfectant.
The yellowish-green oil with its fresh and pleasant odor actually comes from a paper bark tree native to the north-eastern coast of New South Wales. The tree has very thin white bark and white flowers which bloom in summer.
This amazing oil with its antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-infective properties is an ingredient of many shampoos, skin creams, gargles and is also available as an essential oil. It contains terpenoids – chemicals that have medicinal properties.
This amazing oil can be used to relieve sore throats, colds, fungal nail infections and foot problems as well as many skin problems, such as acne. Here are just some of the benefits of this oil:
Soothing chest problems
An inhalation made with tea tree oil is believed to make breathing easier so it soothes sinuses or chest problems. It is added to a vaporizer so that the mist can be inhaled.
Applying tea tree oil solutions to acne may help to clear it up more quickly and may cause fewer side effects than acne drugs. As well as minor skin infections, wounds, and insect stings, tea tree oil may also help cure dandruff caused by a fungus and kill head lice in children, but more studies are needed.
This nasty fungal infection can cause redness, blisters, itching, burning and stinging. Applying tea tree oil three times a day is an effective home remedy for this common complaint.
Tea tree oil should always be used externally, except in inhalation solutions. It can cause allergies and skin irritations, so a small test on the area before use is advisable. Keep in mind that internal use can cause fatal nervous system depression – symptoms include excessive drowsiness.
It is advisable to ask the doctor before using solutions or creams containing tea tree oil on children. But overall, Tea Tree Oil has so many benefits that it is a good idea to always have a supply.