Leaves, essential oil.
Tea tree has been used for healing various ailments since ages. It is an indigenous remedy whereby the leaves of tea tree are either crushed to breathe in or taken as liquid mixtures or infusions to cure coughs, cold and even skin diseases. The oil obtained from the tea tree leaves can be used to apply on skin infections like athlete's feet and ringworms as well as to heal corns, warts, acne and boils. In addition, tea tree oil is also beneficial for treating infected burn injuries, scrapes, wounds, insect bites and stings as many other disorders of the skin. Ingredients of the tea tree may also be consumed to cure internal ailments and infections. They are very useful in healing cystitis, glandular fever as well as post-viral fatigue syndromes (ME). Derivatives from the tea tree are also widely used in mouthwashes to fight oral infection and gum diseases. At times, physicians also recommend medicines containing tea tree ingredients for gargle to cure sore throats. As mentioned earlier, tea tree is also useful in healing a variety of vaginal yeast infections.
Tea tree also known as Melaleuca alternifolia is a natural vegetation that grows widely in Australia and mostly thrives in humid soils. It is found in abundance in New South Wales as well as in Queensland in the southern continent. Although it was earlier collected from the wild, currently it is extensively cultivated in New South Wales and is matured from stem cuttings during the summer. The leaves and tender branches of the tea tree are collected round the year and distilled by steaming to obtain the useful oil.
Although the leaves and other derivatives have been in use for years, the first scientific study on the tea tree oil was carried out in Australia in 1923. The tea tree, its leaves and the various derivatives have been intensively researched since the 1960s. As a result of these studies, the antiseptic properties of the tea tree are well established today. Medical examinations mainly done in Australia have proved that the tea tree and its derivatives are very helpful in healing a wide variety of contagious diseases, especially fungal and skin problems like vaginal yeast infections, bad skin conditions and lumps. Terpinen-4-ol is known to be one of the most important ingredients of the tea tree. Terpinen-4-ol is considered to be a very useful antiseptic that is well accepted by the skin. In addition to terpinen-4-ol, tea tree oil also possesses cineol that has the capability to aggravate the skin. The content of cineol in tea tree oil varies depending on the quality of the oil extract. While the poor variety of the oil contains a little above 10 percent of cineol, the superior quality tea tree oil may contain as high as 65 percent of cineol.
In order to get the best results, one may fairly apply the tea tree oil having the strength of 70-100 percent in little parts on the affected areas of the skin or the nails at least twice daily. Contemporary physicians dilute the oil by 5-15 percent for treating acne or bad skin conditions. The concentrations of the oil may also be used, but it should always be done cautiously and following advice of the physicians. The concentration of tea tree oil is normally used to cure vaginal douches.
It may be noted that the tea tree oil should never be used on the skin where there is any open wound - like in the case of broken skin or places influenced by rashes not owing to fungus. Besides, if the tea tree oil comes in contact with the eye, nose, mouth or any other tender body parts it may cause a burning sensation. It is necessary to seek the advice of physicians before applying tea tree oil as many people may suffer from allergies after using it. Application of tea tree oil might also lead to rashes and itching of the skin. Hence it is advised that when using the tea tree oil for the first time, only small amounts of it must be applied. Here is a word of caution: tea tree oil should never be used internally.