Tea tree essential oil is highly beneficial to keep in your oil arsenal. Its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a staple oil to have on hand. It is extremely beneficial to our skin, in wound care, and in our overall health. It makes a great addition to skincare products, cleaning sprays, and diffuser blends, as it kills many pollutants on our skin and in the air.
Effective Antibacterial Agent
Because tea tree has such powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can be helpful in treating eczema, itchy skin, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis. It is beneficial to the scalp as well, improving conditions like dandruff and dermatitis. It can also do wonders for our complexion, as it helps to alleviate acne and regulate oily skin, according to this study which found that when a sunscreen containing tea tree was used for 30 days, participants’ oily skin improved!
Tea tree has also proven to help helpful when caring for wounds, whether it be from a sunburn, bug bite, or a bad scrape or cut. It has shown to reduce the amount of time needed for a wound to heal, and it has shown to have antiseptic properties that help to keep wounds clean during the healing process. It has even shown to kill MRSA in lab settings, but more research is still needed to prove its efficacy.
Tea tree can also be used as a natural deodorant and bug repellant! When we sweat, secretions from our sweat glands combine with the bacteria already present on our skin. Since tea tree is such a powerful antibacterial agent, it kills the bacteria, resulting in less body odor. It has also been shown to repel flies and mosquitoes. One study even found that it was more effective in repelling mosquitoes than DEET was! Others found it to be effective in treating scabies and killing head lice and eggs.
Since it is such an effective antibacterial agent, tea tree makes a wonderful addition to cleaning sprays and diffuser recipes as well! Just adding a few drops will help to kill bacteria on spray surfaces as well as purify the air.
Fights Viral Infections
Using tea tree essential oil to combat viral illnesses can be effective! If you suffer from recurring cold sores, you may have success in adding tea tree to your skincare products. This study shows that tea tree can have a direct antiviral effect on the herpes virus, but only before or during the process of the virus penetrating a cell’s membrane. Meaning, that when used as a preventative, you can easily have success in preventing an outbreak.
Research has also been conducted on how the oil interacts with the influenza virus. Interestingly enough, in a lab setting, it does have the ability to prevent the virus from entering a host cell. A virus usually acts by attaching itself to a healthy cell and then flooding it with its viral DNA. When tea tree was involved, the virus kept its structural integrity, but the oil kept the virus from flooding the healthy cell with its viral DNA. It did this by binding to a cell receptor responsible for “opening” the cell’s membrane, so that the virus couldn’t bind to it itself. It was also suggested in a separate study, that tea tree was highly effective at inhibiting virus replication if it was implemented early on in the exposure (in vitro studies suggest within the first two hours after infection).
Since it displays such powerful antiviral properties, successes have also been found when diluting the oil and applying it a few times daily to warts.
Potential Treatment for Fungal Infections
Tea tree essential oil has strong antifungal properties. Because of this, more and more trials are being conducted to prove its efficacy in treating fungal infections like candida, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and ringworm.
One in vitro study found that tea tree oil was effective in killing candida in patients that used dentures while also alleviating the sores that may arise from candida. The study theorized that tea tree oil could potentially be used as a coating on dentures to reduce the effects of this fungal infection, but in vivo studies are still needed.
Another study tested the effects of using tea tree oil to treat vaginal candida. Vaginal suppositories containing tea tree showed fungicidal activity against all strains of candida, but it is important to note that in vivo studies are still needed to determine the efficacy of using tea tree oil to treat vaginal candida.
So, whether you are using tea tree in your diffuser blends or cleaning up a nasty scrape, it is one of the best oils you can have on hand.
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