Aromatherapy

Wellness Wednesday – Tea Tree

In a previous post entitled Wellness Wednesday – Fragrant Metamorphosis was a list of essential oils to pack for travel. Number two on that list was tea tree.

Melaleuca alternifolia is the botanical name for tea tree and is indigenous to parts of eastern Australia. The leaves of this plant were used by the Aboriginal people to treat wounds. During World War II, tea tree was used to treat skin injuries in soldiers.

Tea tree was a common name given to a number of plants during Captain Cook’s adventures in the South Seas. Manuka is sometimes called New Zealand tea tree.
Leaves from certain plants were used to make a ‘tea’ hence the name.

Properties
antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antipruritic, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, immunostimulant, vulnerary

Methods of Application

Topical:
Can be used neat on the skin (i.e. without dilution in a carrier oil) or in a lotion, soap, shampoo, perfume, massage oil

Inhalation:
Place a drop on a cotton pad, tissue, pillow and inhale. Use in a diffuser, steam inhalation or spray.

Travel Uses

  • Add to soap and/or shampoo to help keep skin and hair clean.
  • Put a couple of drops in potable water and use as a mouthwash.
  • Use in lotion mixed with some lavender for skin care.
  • Use in spray bottle and spritz on skin as deodorant, on bedding to deter creepy crawlies and in the air as disinfectant.
  • If feeling under the weather on your travels, use tea tree to help fortify the immune system. Tea tree is said to increase white blood cell activity.¹

Travel Conditions
athletes foot, dandruff, ringworm,  sunburn, insect bites

Contraindications
Tea tree is considered safe for use by most people; however, some skin irritation may occur on sensitive areas. Do a patch test to make sure.

A patch test is a test done on the skin (usually the inside of the elbow) to determine skin sensitivity to an essential oil. The oil is mixed in a carrier (e.g. jojoba oil) in small dilution and left on the skin for a period of time to check the reaction.

References

Worwood, S. (1995). Essential Aromatherapy – A Pocket Guide to Essential Oils & Aromatherapy. Novato, California: New World Library.

¹Sellar, W. (1992). The Directory of Essential Oils. Essex, UK: The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd.

 

 

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