Australia may be half a world away, but one of its healthiest exports, tea tree oil, is celebrated for its health benefits all around the world.
The Bundjalong aboriginal people of Australia have been using tea tree oil to treat cuts, burns, insect bites, burns and other conditions for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that tea tree oil started to make its way into the medical journals for its wound healing and antiseptic properties.
You can use tea tree oil (and yes, it does come from the tea tree) in various ways all over your body. It can help with everything from acne to athlete’s foot! It's a natural health staple in my medicine cabinet and I hope after you read this post it's a staple in yours too!
Here are some of my favourite uses for tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is used in plenty of skincare products targeted at acne-prone skin. This is because as a natural antiseptic and antibiotic, tea tree oil can help lower the bacteria levels that cause acne inflammation. Dabbing a few drops of tea tree oil on a blemish up to 1-2 times a day can help it disappear faster. Caution: If you have more than just one or two blemishes, be careful smearing tea tree all over your face. It can be very drying. Make sure you put it directly on the blemish. I suggest you follow these natural and holistic tips for acne .
Dry, cracked lips aren’t just less than pretty, they can also be painful. Help heal chapped lips by adding 5 drops of tea tree oil to your favourite lip balm or moisturizing cream. (Maybe even to some Joyous Health Incredibly Kissable lip balm!). Remember that if you are dry on the outside, you are likely dehydrated on the inside. Read my tips on Dry Skin Cures.
Tea tree oil can be used as a natural way to soothe the head congestion, runny noses, coughs and sore throats that can come with a common cold. You can make your very own tea tree oil steamer by placing 4 cups of very hot water in a pot and adding 5-10 drops of tea tree oil. Then drape a towel over both your head and the pot and inhale the steam.
Nothing can ruin a good mani/pedi like a nasty nail infection. Fortunately, tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties can help clear it right up! In fact, studies have shown that tea tree oil can be just as effective at treating fungal nail infections as the standard over-the-counter medications. In fact, I had a client who's father was in a senior's home and his feet were a mess with nail fungus (sorry for the gross toenail visual). I suggested she put tea tree oil on the nail and it worked like a gem -- completely cleared up the fungus. Just pour 2-3 drops of tea tree oil directly on to the affected nail and surrounding tissue every morning and night until the infection clears up.
I love to cook, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably do, too! Unfortunately, one of the hazards of cooking can be the occasional burn from food spatter. If it’s a minor burn (the kind with redness, but no blisters), tea tree oil can help you out here as well. If you get a minor burn, rinse the area with cold water, then add a few drops of tea tree oil directly to the affected area. You can also make a healing salve by mixing 20 drops of tea tree oil with 3 ounces of unpasteurized honey and ½ teaspoon of triple-strength grapefruit seed extract.
If you want to find out even more ways to use tea tree oil, I highly recommend checking out Handy, Healing Tea Tree Oil by Joyce Johnson, ND.
What’s your favourite way to use tea tree oil?