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Tea Tree Oil
(Melaleuca alternifolia)

What is tea tree oil traditionally used to cure?

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and it seems to kill bacteria, virus and fungus. It is traditionally used to treat warts, ear ache, eye infection, pimples (acne condition), athlete's foot, toenail fungus, thrush (yeast infection in the mouth), vaginal infections, scabies, head lice, dust mites, ringworm, genital herpes, bad breath, dandruff, gingivitis, body odor, burns, skin tags, cuts, canker sores and leg ulcers.

What evidence is there of using tea tree oil to cure various health conditions?

There are scientific studies to show that this oil can be helpful in treating acne (pimples), head lice, scabies, dust mites, toenail fungus infections and athlete's foot. It is also suggested for use as a mouth rinse for gingivitis and bad breath. (Add few drops of oil in a cup of water, gargle and spit out.)

Can you use it to kill head lice, scabies and mites?

A study showed that tea tree oil was effective at killing head lice. Tea tree oil made in an alcohol solution was used on the first day. On the second day, rinse the hair in a tea tree oil in vinegar mixture.

A research study showed that it was effective at killing dust mites.

We also found another study that showed that a 5% tea tree oil solution applied to the skin for 3 hours can kill scabies. These are all very good news for those wishing for a natural cure for these annoying problems.

What are some side effects of using this oil?

NEVER ingest tea tree oil! Essential oils such as tea tree oil can cause serious harm and danger to your body if you drink them. Avoid using pure 100% tea tree oil even on the skin as side effects reported include skin irritation, allergic reaction, eczema, burning, stinging, redness and dryness. Lowering the concentration will reduce the side effects you experience.

How effective is it for treating acne (pimples)?

Research studies show that using 5% concentration seems to be as good as non-prescription Oxy-5 products. Unlike Oxy-5 products, tea tree oil did not irritate the skin as much.

Is it safe to use tea tree oil as a douche?

Studies of using this oil for treating bacterial vaginal infection have been done. A 200 mg tea tree oil vaginal suppository have been used once daily for 5 days.

There are no studies to determine whether a douche formulation would be effective in curing vaginal infections. Start with a dilute solution first (0.4% strength or 0.4 mL tea tree oil in 100 mL of solution) and adjust as required upwards.

Pharmacist Tom's recommendations: Tea tree oil holds promise for use in killing bacterial, virus, fungus (yeast), head lice and scabies. It can be a good addition to any first-aid kit. Be aware that tea tree oil could irritate the skin when applied so always start with a lower strength first before moving up to a higher strength.

Related topics that may be of interest to you

Get rid of warts

How to cure yeast infection naturally

Bacterial vaginosis treatment using natural and home remedies

Return to FAQ List from Tea Tree Oil
Revised: January 5, 2010

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