Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil, because of its many qualities, is a very common ingredient found in the modern day natural cosmetics industry. You will find it in many natural soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, deodorants and toothpastes. It is also found in other products like disinfectants, scar creams, gargles, germicides, aftershaves and colognes. This oil is a bit unusual because it is active against all three types of infectious organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses). It is a very powerful immune system booster that enhances the body’s ability to respond quickly when these organisms start imposing a threat. It is used in traditional medicine. Melaleuca alternifolia, commonly known as the Tea Tree. It is also called Narrow-Leaved Tea Tree, Narrow-Leaved Paperbark, Narrow-Leaved Ti Tree, Ti Tree and Snow in Summer. It is a species of tree or tall shrub that can grow up to 7 metres high and has needlelike leaves and yellow or purple flowers. At room temperature, Tea Tree Oil is a pale yellow-green or water white liquid which holds a warm, fresh and spicy-camphoraceous odor. Tea Tree Essential Oil is obtained by steam or water distillation of the leaves and twigs of the Melaleuca alternifolia. The oil’s composition constitutes of terpinene-4-ol (30-48%), gamma-terpinene (10-28%), alpha-terpinene (5-13%), cineol (up to 15%), cymene (up to 8%), pinene (up to 6%) and some other components in very small concentrations. Tea Tree Essential Oil has anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral and bactericidal properties. Its balsamic, cicatrisant, diaphoretic, expectorant, fungicidal, immune-stimulant, parasiticide and vulnerary properties supporting health.
The indigenous Bundjalung people of Eastern Australia have known and used Tea Tree Oil and Tea Tree leaves as a traditional medicine for many centuries. They were well aware of the tree’s many beneficial properties. They used the leaves to treat cuts and wounds and inhaled the oils crushed from the leaves as a remedy for coughs and colds. Aboriginal people also infused the leaves into a tea that was used to treat sore throats or for skin ailments. In the 1920’s researcher Arthur Penfold published the first reports on the antimicrobial activity of Tea Tree Oil, stating that it is 11 times more active than phenol when fighting bacteria. The first industrial Tea Tree Oil distilleries were founded in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. During World War II an outbreak of foot-fungus happened among hundreds of Australian soldiers and an aborigine medic prescribed Tea Tree Oil to coat their feet. The oil killed the fungus within a few days. From then on soldiers were given a bottle of Tea Tree Oil along with their first aid kit, which also came in useful for disinfecting and treating wounds. The oil was kept in high demand after that and the industry has modernized and developed it over time to consistently offer a high quality product.
Melaleuca alternifolia is native and endemic to Australia. It grows mainly on the east coasts of New South Wales and Queensland, usually around streams and swampy flats. Other varieties are cultivated elsewhere but Tea Tree is unique to Australia.
Skin & Body Care
Tea tree essential oil is a known remedy for the following; abscess, acne, athlete's foot, blisters, burns, cold sores, herpes, infected wounds, insect bites, oily skin, rashes (nappy rash), spots, and warts.