There are numerous tea tree oil uses due to its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that offer a wide range of natural home remedies.
Derived from Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) which grows in Australia, the healing properties of this plant have been known and used for centuries by the Australian Aboriginals.
It has a very distinctive smell that is instantly recognizable once you are familiar with it. Not everyone finds it pleasant, but I personally am happy to put up with the smell for a short time in order to get the benefits.
Today it is commercially grown and harvested for a large range of healing products. The oil is extracted using a steam distillation process.
The active ingredient is terpin-4-ol, and a quality tea tree oil should contain at least 40% of this, and less than 5% of cineole which counteracts the benefits of the terpin-4-ol.
Check that it comes from Melaleuca alternifolia as this offers the most health benefits.
This is a good product as it clearly states that it is made from Melaleuca alternifolia. It is 100% pure and is steam distilled in Australia where the tea tree grows.
It is inexpensive and a little will go a long way. You really just need the real deal, and then add it into anything else yourself, such as shampoo.
You can use the oil directly (never ingest), mixed with other oils, mixed with other products (such as shampoo and soap) or added to water.
Tea tree oil is also added to many commercial products including shampoo, treatment of head lice, and in antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal treatments.
It disinfects, minimizes scarring, and speeds the recovery from insect and spider bites, and stings such as bee stings.
It is helpful in treating scalp disorders, such as dry scalp, psoriasis and dandruff.
Some commercial products contain only a small amount of tea tree oil that may not be strong enough to be effective - so it pays to check what you are buying.
Before using it for the first time it is important to do a patch test on your skin to see whether you are allergic or not.
Simply dab a small amount on to your inner arm. Any redness or inflammation is a signal that you are probably allergic.
It may still be possible to use the tea tree in a diluted form.
Add a few drops to 20ml of a carrier oil such as olive oil, and repeat the patch test.
If you do not suffer any redness or inflammation from the dilution, then it will be ok to use it.
Obviously if you still find a reaction then it is NOT ok to use it.
Always take care around the eyes, nose, mouth and other mucous membranes - particularly when using it undiluted.