The amazing healing power of nature is exemplified in tea tree oil, a natural antibacterial, antibiotic, and antifungal disinfectant that is becoming more and more popular across North America. For thousands of years the aboriginal people of Australia used the leaves of the tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, to speed healing of wounds and infections, and for a wide range of skin conditions. European settlers learned from the natives how to use the leaves as an early “first aid kit,” for cuts, abrasions, burns, insect bites, infections, and similar conditions.
The medicinally-active essential oil produced from tea tree leaves has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. It can destroy microbes, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, apparently by disrupting the proteins within them, so they cannot reproduce and cause infection or disease.
Tea tree oil contains over 100 plant chemicals. One constituent of tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol has been identified as the most important bacteria-killing compound, therefore oils with high terpinen-4-ol are considered extremely effective.
Like so many natural health products, tea tree oil has had a following of dedicated users around the world for many years. Now its “fan base” has expanded as tea tree oil is being used in many households to treat minor skin ailments and abrasions. It is well-known by moms as a treatment for head lice, and a few drops in your favorite hand soap or shampoo can add antibacterial power. In some hospitals, staffs use tea tree oil soap for hand washing.”
As a first-aid staple, you can use tea tree oil to disinfect cuts and scrapes. It can also be used to improve acne and other skin infections, as well as fungal infections including athlete’s foot, nail fungus, jock itch, and ringworm. It is also used to relieve candida, cold sores, and vaginal infections.