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Tea Tree Oil: Good for What Ails You

Updated on February 1, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Tea Tree oil, also known as mellaluca oil,  is an antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral that is very effective against many kinds of microbes. Because it is inexpensive and so readily available it is an important addition to the household first aid kit.

Tea Tree oil should never be taken internally. Like any other herbal remedy be sure and discuss your decisions with your health care provider before making any changes in your health care regime.


What is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree oil is not actually an herb.  It is an essential oil that is produced from the leaves of the Tea tree, native to Australia. The beneficial substances are separated from the non-beneficial ingredients by the use of a steam distillation process. 

Huge amounts of leaves are harvested from the trees to end up with a small amount of Tea Tree oil.  This essential oil is a highly concentrated substance.   The concentrated oil is then added to shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, and even household cleaners, as well as being sold in its pure form.

There has been much research done on the effects of Tea Tree oil on various microbes and the results have been positve.  It is one of the few substances known that is effective against:

  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Virus

It also works in conjunction with the processes of the body to naturally strenthen the function of the immune system. 

The natural substances that make up Tea Tree oil, terpenoids, are an important medicinal component of the oil.  The most effective oil contains approximately 50% of terpenin-4, a terpenoid.  The Australian government has established a standard for the percentage of terpenin-4 in all Tea Tree oil that comes from Australia. 

What is Tea Tree Oil Effective Against?

Tea Tree oil can be used in many ways. Some of the problems that it can remedy are:

  • Athlete's foot  
  • Ringworm  
  • Candida  
  • Nail fungus 
  • Ringworm
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Thrush (not to be used wiht a child, or someone that may accidently swallow)
  • Staph


Tea Tree Oil for Nail Fungus

One of the things Tea Tree oil is used for is in the treatment of toenail fungus. It takes a long time because theentire nail must grow out, and this can take six months or more. The treatment will need to be consistant.  One missed day will mean that you need to start over completely. The minute that the fungus seems to be returning treatment should begin anew.

Whether you use Tea Tree or conventional medical treatment it will take six months to nine months for your toenail to be clear of the fungal infection.

Using a new bottle of Tea Tree oil and a cotton swab throroughly swab the toenail area with the oil.  This means the nail, the skin around it, under it and as many nails as are affected.  Allow the oil to sit for at least thirty minutes before washing.

Because this fingus spreads so easily be sure to wash your hands well in hot soapy water after treatment.  Treatments should be doen three times daily as long as it takes for the toenail to clear up.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil

One of the easiest ways to use Tea Tree oil is to mix it with a carrier oil and massage it onto the afflicted area.  Good carrier oils are:

  • Organic coconut oil
  • Almond oil
  • Safflower oil

You can also mix a few drops with baking soda to make a powder to sprinkle in  your shoes if you suffer from athlete's foot.  Other ways to use Tea Tree are:

  • With distilled water as a disinfectant/antibacterial spray.
  • In shampoo
  • In liquid soap
  • Added to homemade cleaning solutions

Just remember that a few drops is all you will need.

Tea Tree oil may not solve all bacterial problems every time but it is great as a first line of defense.  Keep a bottle in your first aid kit or your purse for emergencies.  It is an all natural, effective treatment for many types of problems. 


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    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 6 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi MaryAudet, I was typing into the Google search engine "What is tea tree oil good for" and your Hub-article is on the first page of Google. And since I'm also a Hubpages member and a Hub-friend of yours; I thought I would read your site about "tea tree oil" instead of any other website. Thanks, great read and useful.

    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 6 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @Marye Audet...Wow, who knew? Great information on tea tree oil uses. Thanks for sharing this Hub!

    • beclynne profile image

      beclynne 8 years ago from Naples

      I love tea tree oil, I use it on all cuts and pimples!

    • profile image

      zel 8 years ago

      im using tea tree oil in its pure form as an alternative to deodorant.. because deodorants makes my UA darker...It really works well, and my underarm is now whiter than ever.

    • ReuVera profile image

      ReuVera 9 years ago from USA

      I have a bottle of Tea Tree oil at home, but I didn't know really what it was, or how it was made. Thanks for information. We used Tea Tree oil for acne treatment for my son when he was a teen-ager. It worked good. But my son didn't like its smell.