Tea Tree Oil is one of the most useful products in nature. It dates back to the Aboriginal People in Australia for many centuries as one of their most useful medicines.
Tea Tree oil is derived from Melaleuca Alternifloria which is a narrow-leafed paper bark tree that is native to certain parts of Australia. Some people think that it is called the Tea Tree because Captain Cook, who sailed from England in the 17th Century, used the leaves to make a tea from when they first voyaged to Australia, hence the name Tea Tree. Captain Cook found that it was good at combating scurvy - a disease that many of his crew suffered from at that time due to a lack of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
Australia has more than 300 different kinds of Tea Tree, but only one of them is used to make the oil which is now world famous. Tea Tree Oil first came to prominence during the First World War in the early 20th century. Australian soldiers were seen to be using the oil to treat their infections. They had a great deal of success with this. During World War Two, Tea Tree Oil growers were exempt from National Service in Australia as their contribution to the war was to produce Tea Tree Oil for use by its troops.
Tea Tree oil has a number of fantastic properties making it an excellent treatment for many ailments. These are all external uses as Tea Tree oil should not be taken internally.
Tea Tree oil has been shown to be effective against Fungi, Viruses and bacteria. It is extracted as an essential oil by steam or water distillation from the leaves and twigs of the Tea Tree. The oil is a water-white liquid or pale yellow-green. It has a fresh, slightly camphoraceous and spicy smell.
You should be cautious when using tea tree oil however. The main safety consideration with tea tree oil is skin irritation. While tea tree oil is generally considered one of the safer essential oils for undiluted use on skin, those with sensitive skin should dilute it with a carrier oil – such as sweet almond, olive or coconut oil. Before using tea tree oil undiluted, undertake a skin patch test.