articlemostwanted - When Captain James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour arrived in southeastern Australia in 1770, they were surrounded by plants and animals completely foreign to them. The sailors noticed how local Aborigines crushed and boiled the narrow, lance-shaped leaves of a small, shrubby tree to brew a hot drink resembling tea. The tree from which the leaves came was dubbed tea tree by Cook and his crew. Tea tree belongs to the genus Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia), which includes some 200 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, most of which are native to Australia. Tea tree oil, distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, is a fairly recent addition to Western herbal medicine.

Therapeutic Uses of Tea Tree

Skin infections (fungal and bacterial)

Sometimes called the wonder from down under, the oil of Australia’s tea tree is unrivaled as an antiseptic. Two of tea tree oil’s compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of many bacteria and fungi that cause human infections. They act to kill bacteria and fungi by disrupting cell membrane permeability and hampering cell metabolism.

virtual office jakarta timur .adv - Tea tree oil also may act against viruses, such as herpes and yeast infections, but it hasn’t been as well studied for these indications. It is being investigated for treating gingivitis (gum disease), for fighting halitosis (bad breath), and for reducing plaque in the mouth, presumably by altering the presence of certain bacteria. With the growth of virulent drug-resistant staphylococcus infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), researchers are turning to potent antibacterials such as tea tree oil for innovative treatments.

Tea tree oil has been studied extensively for its use in treating fungal infections. The formulation and concentration of the oil are important variables to consider when choosing the right product for a given use. For example, 25 percent tea tree oil in ethanol seems to work almost as well as pharmaceutical treatments for athlete’s foot infections, and this formulation also seems to limit the occurrence of adverse reactions, such as dermatitis, which often occur with higher concentrations of tea tree oil. It is difficult to treat toenail fungus with creams, but the use of tea tree oil added to antifungal creams may increase the cure rate.

How to Use

Essential oil: Steam distillation of the leaves and small branches yields a potent essential oil containing germ-killing chemicals. Various concentrations of the oil are mixed with a base of desired consistency to create products for various conditions.

Cream or gel: Preparations of 5 percent tea tree oil control acne as effectively as a commonly used medication, benzoyl peroxide, and possibly with fewer side effects.


Tea tree oil should never be taken internally; it can be toxic if ingested. Allergic reactions and contact dermatitis have also been documented. If redness, itching, or oozing develops after the topical application of tea tree oil, use should be discontinued and a health-care provider consulted.

source: NG

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