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3.19.2012

The Multiple Uses of Tea Tree Oil: Hair and Skin

Tea tree oil is my absolute favorite essential oil (a concentrated liquid containing highly volatile aroma plant compounds).  Tea tree oil is obtained by steam distillation from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia.  It is colorless with a very strong odor that is somewhat herby and somewhat minty.  It has been used by the indigenous peoples of Australia as traditional medicine to treat colds and skin ailments for centuries.  Today, it is most commonly used as an essential oil in aromatherapy, alternative medicine and cosmetics.
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I first heard about tea tree oil on Youtube.  I had been having #naturalhairproblems for a while...on my scalp...also known as.... *whispers*.... dandruff.  Many people raved about the benefits of this essential oil, so I decided to purchase it after doing some research.  Eager to rid myself of my scalp issues, I applied the oil directly to my scalp and just left it there.  Within 5 minutes, my entire scalp was tingling! I got a little freaked out because I thought my hair follicles were perhaps getting too over-stimulated so I quickly rinsed the oil off of my hair.  Luckily, I was left with the most refreshed scalp EVER, with no dandruff.  Since then, I have learned that tea tree oil is very POTENT so I have come up with other...less intense...ways to reap the benefits of this oil, ranging from skin care to hair care and I just love it. 



Some Benefits:
  • naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral, so it can cure hundreds of infections such as acne, warts, minor irritations, blisters, etc. (WOW)
  • can treat respiratory problems such as sore throats, coughs, asthma, tuberculosis (!), and bronchitis
  • strengthens the body's immunity
  • natural insecticide


Some Uses:
  • Scalp Massage: This is my favorite way to use tea tree oil.  I get a small application bottle, fill it up 3/4 full with jojoba oil, and add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil to the mix.  It is important for me to use a carrier oil (a widely available vegetable oil) like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil when using an essential oil like tea tree oil because it is very strong.  I apply the mixture to my scalp and massage it in for a few minutes.  I promise you will feel your scalp tingling and refreshed in seconds. Doing this has helped keep my scalp issues at bay. I have read that another way to control dandruff, as well as head lice with tea tree oil is to mix it with shampoo.
  • Preservative: Adding a few drops of any essential oil will help preserve cosmetic and health products.  Although I prefer more floral and musky scents for preservatives, tea tree oil is a great option.
  • Skin Toner: I mix a small spritz bottle with distilled water, green tea, and tea tree oil as a skin toner.  I apply the toner to my skin after I clean it and I find that the toner restores my skin's acidity and keeps my skin tone even.
  • Cold Remedy: My dad just did this to me a few weeks ago when I had a cold.  He filled a large pot with water and boiled it.  He added a few drops of tea tree oil, made me put my head over the pot, and covered my head and the bowl with a towel.  I inhaled the mix and it completely removed all of my mucus build up. I was stunned by the efficacy of my dad's little trick.


Please dish on your experiences with tea tree oil!



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N


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Medical Disclaimer: Naika, the writer of this blog, is Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist. Please do not take this as medical advice, without consulting your health care practitioner. Also remember, knowledge is power and your health is your wealth!