Guide to Using Tea Tree Oil for Herpes


young woman smiling with open mouth and herpes sore on lower lip


Can you use tea tree oil on herpes and how effective is it?

Herpes infections can be caused by either Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1) or Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 (HSV-2). 

HSV-1 is usually acquired during childhood and can easily spread via oral-to-oral route (oral herpes). The HSV-2 is exclusively transmitted sexually and can cause genital herpes.

The World Health Organization estimates that 3.7 billion people, under the age of 50, have the Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1) and almost 417 million have the sexually-transmitted Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 (HSV-2)


While there’s no cure for herpes, there are treatments available. One of the most popular anti-viral herpes drugs (Acyclovir) can be very effective, but can cause unwanted side effects.

Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives that may offer a more gentler approach to balancing and healing your body.



The National Geographic shows that tea tree oil (also known as Melaleuca oil) was the most popular of the Top 10 Aboriginal Bush Medicines. They would make tea from the leaves to treat sore throats,  apply the leaves to small wounds and insect bites, or inhale the oil from crushed leaves to treat respiratory conditions.

And modern medicine appears to now recognize the healing properties of this natural plant oil. A review published in Jan. 2006 Clinical Microbiology Reviews discusses its anti-microbial properties and how it’s effective for treating acne, dandruff, foot fungus and even mouthwash. 

The National Library of Medicine states that this plant oil contains over 100 ingredients.  However, it’s an anti-microbial called terpinen-4-ol that’s been garnering all the attention.

It’s been shown to have anti-fungal properties, and it can also fight free-radical damage, accelerates wound healing and exhibits anti-skin cancer activity.



Research Studies on Tea Tree Oil and Herpes


The current research on this tea tree oils and its anti-viral properties appears to be encouraging. 


How Does Tea Tree Oil Affect the Herpes Virus?


virus attacking cell

Viruses Attacking a Cell


The herpes virus enters your host cells by binding to your body’s cell membranes. It penetrates your cells and then inserts the herpes viral RNA within the cell nucleus. Once your cells are infected with the herpes virus, it then can spread to other nearby cells.

*Studies indicate that terpinen-4-ol inhibits a virus from entering the host cell.

This plant oil can be an effective anti-viral because it prevents the virus from binding to your other cell membranes and stopping the virus from spreading.

Unfortunately many of these studies don’t tell us the best tea tree oil dosage for herpes.

However, while researching for this article we found online forums where people have shared their experiences and treatments for herpes. One of the most popular,, has tea tree oils for herpes reviews that you may find helpful.


How to Use Tea Tree Oil Herpes Treatment


While it’s beyond the scope of this article to provide medical advice, some manufacturers may provide usage instructions on the bottle ingredient labels.

Based on information gathered from a number of Herpes Forums, here’s some possible methods:

1. Suggested Ways to Apply Tea Tree Oil:

  • never swallow tea tree oil
  • the oils are always applied topically to the skin
  • do a small skin patch test first to check for possible allergic reactions
  • try using a Q-tip to apply the oil
  • if you have sensitive skin, you can try diluting the oil (can mix with virgin olive oil or coconut oil)
  • you can try applying the oils directly to the sores (some people may avoid the genital region due to risk of irritation)


2. Possible Results from Using Tea Tree Oils on Herpes?

  • you may feel a slight ‘tingling’ or heat-sensation when using 100% pure oils (this effect may be reduced with a diluted solution)
  • may experience less severity and frequency of outbreaks
  • less redness and inflammation of herpes sores
  • possible drying up of the skin lesions.
  • may prevent the sores from breaking through the skin
brown glass bottle of melaleuca tea tree oil for herpes


How to Buy the Best Tea Tree Oil for Herpes


Many nutritional and natural supplements can provide safe and effective results. Since the industry isn’t completely regulated, you want to make sure you’re getting a high-quality product.

In our “Guide to Buying the Best Tea Tree Oil” we cover 5 important factors:

1. What’s the % (Percentage) of Terpinen-4-OL

  • this is the primary ingredient that provides the anti-viral effect
  • the higher the concentration, the stronger the anti-microbial effects
  • check the ingredient labels as some manufacturers will list the actual concentration


2. Is it a 100% Pure Oil or a Mixed/Diluted Solution

  • some products may come mixed with other essential oils
  • for the strongest anti-septic properties, look for products that contain only 100% pure tea tree oil


3. Bottle Packaging Should Block UV Light

  • essential oils are vulnerable to oxygen, heat and light
  • amber and brown bottles are better than blue cobalt bottles for blocking out UV light


4. Choose 100% Organic Products

  • try to choose products made from organic leaves
  • steam-distillation is the preferred method for extracting the oils


5. Factors that May Affect the Cost

  • prices will depend on the size of the bottle
  • the overall strength of the oils (% of terpinen-4-OL)
  • is it a 100% pure oil or mixed with other oils?


Using tea tree oil for herpes may help reduce or alleviate your symptoms and outbreaks. Getting plenty of rest, eating healthy and exercising to reduce stress can help boost your immune system.

The above information is not to be construed as Medical Advice. Please consult with your Doctor before you try any natural treatments and do not stop using your current medication.



Research References:

Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture. Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Die Pharmazie. 2001 Apr;56(4):343-7.

Chemical and biological evaluation of the essential oils of different Melaleuca species. Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt. Phytotherapy Research. 2004 Jan;18(1):30-5.

The inhibitory effect of essential oils on herpes simplex virus type-1 replication in vitro. Department of Microbiology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan. Microbiology and Immunology. 2003;47(9):681-4.

Inhibitory effect of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2. Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):71-8.



Search for Natural Herpes Treatment at



Home Page > Tea Tree Oil Home Page > Tea Tree Oil Herpes

Author Details
Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.