Tea Tree Oil: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil is an essential oil which is extracted from steam distillation of the leaves of the tea tree. Tea tree essential oil can be easily extracted with the help of steam, oils and fats, or with solvents such as alcohol. Tea tree oil has a similar smell as nutmeg and due to the presence of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties in tea tree oil, it acts as a medicinal ingredient. It can kill bacteria and fungus, reduce allergic skin reactions by reducing swelling.
Importance of Tea Tree oil in Ayurveda
Tea tree oil effectively balances all Tridoshas, ie. Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas which are very important in calming the body and improving the overall health of the individual.
Benefits of Tea Tree oil
Reduces skin problems-
Tea tree oil is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which effectively reduces skin inflammation, treats skin infections like acne, pimples, dermatitis, itching and improves overall skin health.
The most common cause of dandruff is dry scalp and moisture which ultimately lead to itching and flaking. Antibacterial and antifungal properties of tea tree oil helps fight dandruff and clean the scalp.
Treats respiratory disorders-
The anti-inflammatory properties and soothing effects of tea tree oil make it beneficial for respiratory health. It helps loosen mucus buildup in the nasal passages, relieves sore throats and also soothes a dry and irritated throat.
Promotes oral health-
Tea tree oil is very important in the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the oral cavity, such as toothache, gums bleeding and bad breath. It removes germs from gums and prevents gingivitis and tooth decay.
Boosts immunity & reduces the risk of fungal infections-
The bioactive components in tea tree oil increases immunity and reduces the risk of various bacterial and fungal infections such as bedsores, herpes, urogenital infections, cystitis, psoriasis, insect bites and diaper rash.
Uses of Tea Tree oil
Applying a few drops of the tea tree oil on the wound helps to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation in the wound.
Natural anti-dandruff remedy-
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in your regular shampoo and wash your hair as usual. It helps to make the hair dandruff-free.
Add 2 drops of tea tree oil to a glass of water. Use this water as a mouthwash. Do not swallow as tea tree oil is toxic if taken internally.
Add 4 drops of tea tree oil to half a glass of water. Apply to the face once a day with a cotton swab.
Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil in a glass of water and half a glass of white vinegar. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it as a universal antimicrobial cleaner.
Side Effects of Tea Tree oil
- Tea tree oil is safe for most people. However, the oil itself is toxic and should not be swallowed. Swallowing tea tree essential oil by mouth causes confusion, inability to walk, instability, rash, and coma.
- This oil can cause inflammation and rash in people who use it for the first time. If this happens, stop using the oil immediately and tell your doctor.
- People with acne can sometimes experience dry skin, itching, burning and redness.
- Always use the oil mixed with carrier oils like coconut and lavender oil or with baking soda.
Precautions When Using Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil should not be used on burns because the heat potency of this oil can make the burn worse.
Pregnancy or breastfeeding-
Use tea tree oil under medical supervision during pregnancy or lactation.
Tea tree oil mixed with lavender oil can cause some hormonal imbalances in boys who have not yet reached puberty.Therefore, please consult your doctor before using tea tree oil with lavender oil.
Skin products containing tea tree oil can increase dryness. Therefore, please consult your doctor before using the product if you have dry skin.
Where is it found?
The tea tree grows on the marshy southeast coast of Australia. Aboriginal people in Australia have traditionally used tea tree oil as an antiseptic (microbial killer) and herbal medicine.