Essential Oil of the Month: Tea Tree

Tea tree oil can be found in almost everything these days. It’s taken from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, native to the northeast coast of Australia, and has long been used by Australian aborigines for its healing properties.

What it does
Tea tree’s antibacterial and antiviral properties make it a healing tool for everything from acne to sunburn to infections. As such, tea tree oil can be a valuable addition to a summer first aid kit.

Bonus use
Tea tree can be an effective household cleaner—simply combine 2 teaspoons oil to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.

Ways to use it

  • Add to unscented body care (e.g. lotion, shampoo or conditioner) to increase their effectiveness. Tea-tree infused shampoo can even help combat dandruff and head lice.
  • Apply to blemishes several times a day (with a cotton swab) to speed healing
  • Add a few drops to a bowl of steaming water and inhale to promote respiratory clearing. Can also be added to a vaporizer or to a hot bath.

Interesting tidbit
Bees that feed on flowers of the Manuka bush, a close relative of the tea tree plant, produce Manuka honey, also known for its antibacterial properties.

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