Botanical: Melaleuca alternifolia
Country of origin / distribution Australia / China (poor quality)
Part of plant used: Leaves
Other names: Ti tree, 1.8 cineol oil, Narrow leaved paperbark, Ti trol, Melasol.
Energy: Cooling, moisturising
Planet: (not yet found)
Aroma /Characteristics : Fresh, spicy camphoraceous odour.
Dosha effect: VPK=
Description: The Smallest of the tea tree family, with needle like leaves similar to cypress, with heads of sessile yellow or purplish flowers
History/ Herbal: Tea tree oil is an aboriginal Australian traditional medicine for bruises, insect bites, and skin infections. It was rediscovered in the 1920s as a topical antiseptic that is more effective than Phenol
Extraction: Steam distillation.
Chemical Const: terpinen-4-ol 36.3%, cis-sabinene hydrate 15.9%, para-cymene 9.5%, alpha-terpineol 8.2%, linalool 3.9%, linalyl acetate 3.5%, biocyclogmacerene 2.5%, beta caryophyllene 2%.
Properties: Anti infectious, anti inflammatory, anti pruriginous, antiseptic, anti viral, bactericidal, balsamic, cicatrisiant, diaphoretic, expectorant, fungicidal, immuno stimulant, parasiticide, vulnerary.
Safety/ contraindications Non toxic, Non Irritant, Possible sensitiser in some individuals – generally due to oxidised oil
A 17-mo-old male who ingested less than 10 ml of the oil and developed ataxia and drowsiness.
Cardiovascular: Immune stimulant, AIDS, Chronic fatigue syndrome, (ME) Stimulate lymphatic circulation.
Digestive; Anti – viral, anti – fungal, bactericidal, mouth ulcers, diarrhoea, bad breath, gastroenteritis, Gum disease, intestinal infections.
Genito – urinary Candida, cystitis, pruritus, vaginitis, genital herpes, all infections of this system.
Immune: Chicken pox, immuno stimulant, staph, strep infections, viral , fungal, infections.
Respiratory: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, ear , nose and throat infections, emphysema, flu , sore throats, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, whopping cough.
Skin: Acne, athlete’s foot, boils, cleansing, cold sores, dandruff, headlice, herpes zoster (shingles), insect bites, nail bed infections, nappy rash, protection from burns during radiation treatments, rashes, ringworm, smelly feet, spot, sunburn, septic wounds, skin regeneration, tinea, warts,
Nervous: Energy, stimulant for shock, asthenia, and general nervous exhaustion and depression.
Europeans learned of Tea tree’s effects as a folk medicine when they came to settle in Australia in the 19th century. Gradually the scientific community began to research and document the effects of the plant, especially the bactericidal and germicidal properties of the oil. The key to tea tree’s medicinal effectiveness is the ratio of two chemical constituents present in the oil: cineole and terpene. Although both of these constituents are bactericidal and germicidal, cineole can be a powerful skin irritant. Therefore, tea tree oils with low cineole and high terpene contents are preferred.
The cineole/terpene ratio can vary considerably in the many species of tea tree. The ratio can even vary in the same species growing in different areas. Plants, which are identical other than their chemical make-ups are known as “chemotypes”. This variance prompted the creation of an Australian standard for a minimum terpinene content of 30% and a maximum cineole content of 15%. Now that the plant has been brought into cultivation, a process of selecting and propagating choice plants has produced tea tree oils that surpass the Australian standard, with terpene contents as high as 40%.
Tea tree gives some protection to the skin when used prior to radiotherapy, it has been found that there was less scaring and it protected the skin from the deep penetration of the x-rays ( it must be stressed this would have to be discussed with the surgeon before hand ). Using Tea tree pre & post- operatively has also been shown to increase the speed of recovery and avoid post operative infections.
A comparative study was carried out against benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. The results showed that although tea tree was slower to work the patients had less side effects. In treating Candida albicans Tea tree may be used in a sitz bath or apply 1/2 drops to the end of a tampon and leave in over night repeat up to 5 nights in a row. An oily scalp can also benefit from an application of tea tree. Before shampooing, a gentle massage with a few drops of the oil will gently invigorate the scalp and help lift greasy deposits from the hair shaft.
Tea tree has a marked dissolving and dispersing action, which can help alleviate overly oily secretions of the skin.