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Tea Tree Oil Basics

tea-tree-oil Tea tree oil is commonly extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia for commercial use, however, it can also be extracted from Melaleuca dissitiflora or Melaleuca linariifolia.

In eastern Australia, the indigenous Bundjalung people use it to treat coughs and colds by crushing the leaves and inhaling the oils. Wounds are sprinkled with leaves and covered with a poultice, while sore throats or skin ailments are treated with an infusion of soaked tea tree leaves.

In Australia, for many years, tea tree oil has been recognized as a potent antiseptic, but until only relatively recently has it been scientifically investigated. Recent studies support evidence for the topical application of tea tree oil in skin care and appears to be effective against bacteria, viruses, fungal infections, mites, and even head lice. In addition, it has shown positive results for the treatment of various other diseases and conditions.

When applied topically, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral action are among the beneficial medical properties of tea tree oil. It has shown strong activity against Staphylococcus aureus, which includes MRSA by breaking down the defenses that bacteria use against antibiotics. Furthermore, when it comes to the prevention of CA-MRSA transmission, as shown by clinical evidence, topical preparations containing tea tree oil could be more effective than traditional antibiotics.

As an antifungal agent, it is effective against multiple dermatophytes found on the skin, as well as for the treatment of the yeast infection Candidiasis. Malassezia furfur, the most common cause of dandruff, has been effectively treated with shampoo containing just a few drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil might have antiviral activity against the herpes virus, chicken pox, and shingles blisters; however, there has been limited research in this area.

There is also evidence of beneficial cosmetic properties such as for the treatment of  acne, in addition to being used in soaps, washes, lotions, toothpaste, and hair care products.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding you or your child’s condition.

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