Long ago, a drug based on the bark of a tree was praised as a miracle product. Now, this drug is known as aspirin, and is produced in factories. This could provide a glimpse into the future for another plant-based “wonder” product: tea tree oil. This oil comes, as the name suggests, from a plant commonly known as a tea tree. It naturally grows in Australia, and its oil has long been known to the area’s Aborigines. There, its oil was originally squeezed from the leaves and inhaled to treat coughs and colds, and whole leaves were applied to wounds underneath poultices to speed healing and reduce the chance of infection. The oil has also been used to make infusions used to treat sore throats and skin problems.
The oil and leaves of the tea tree are still used for those purposes by the indigenous Bundjalung people of Australia, but now, the use of this plant has spread far beyond the original range. It has jumped the vastness of the ocean to North America and to Europe thanks to the excellent effects the oil has at treating all of the original conditions and many more. This oil is found in shampoos meant to control dandruff, creams for psoriasis, ointments for controlling ringworm and athlete’s foot, and many other health and beauty products.
One of the things that makes it so special is its proven anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits. These benefits allow it to speed the healing of small cuts, scrapes, and other surface wounds. Since it’s an oil, it also has some moisturizing effects when applied to the skin. In toothpaste, it’s said to reduce the numbers of bacteria in the mouth, and this may help reduce the associated risk of tooth decay.
These same properties also make it a favorite ingredient for those who seek cleaning products with natural anti-bacterial properties. Many cleansers that claim to be hard on germs but easy on humans include this or a similar natural product.
There’s no need to buy expensive commercial products to get the benefits of this oil. It can easily be added to homemade soaps, shampoos, and creams. Doing this is as easy as buying a bottle of the pure oil and then adding the desired amount to the usual recipe. It can also be added to pre-made products like lotion to add some healing zip without the need to concoct a recipe from scratch.