Guide to Tea Tree Oil: Health Benefits and Uses

hand holding a brown glass bottle of tea tree oil

So what exactly is Tea Tree Oil and why would you want to use it?

This natural plant oil has been proven to have antiseptic and fungicidal properties due an ingredient called terpinen-4-OL.

Terpinen-4-OL is classified as a terpene. These are powerful hydrocarbons produced by plants that give them their unique scents and odors.

A study published in the 2006 issue of Clinical Microbiology Reviews concluded that terpinen-4-OL can kill bacteria, fungi and yeasts.

It was also found to be effective against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA); a powerful and deadly bacteria normally resistant to many antibiotics.


Where Did Tea Tree Oil Come From?

large sprig of melaleuca tea tree leaves

Melaleuca Tea Tree Leaves


Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia. This particular plant species is native to Australia and this is where the story begins for this amazing plant.

We can thank the Aborigines of Australia who discovered the healing powers of this plant over a hundred years ago. Tribal medicine men would crush the leaves or boil them in water to extract the oil for medicinal purposes.

Modern technology now allows us to easily distill the leaves to extract the oil. Crop pickers will harvest the leaves while leaving the tree untouched so it can continue to sprout more leaves over time.

Tea tree oils can be used to treat many health conditions:

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Tea Tree Body Care Products and Recipes:

  • Soaps – Adding this oil to soaps and body washes will give it extra germ-fighting properties.

  • Shampoos – Tea tree shampoos can naturally fight dandruff and deep-clean your hair and scalp better than regular shampoos.

  • Skin lotions – These types of products can help moisturize and disinfect body parts prone to acne and other skin conditions.

  • Toothpastes and mouthwashes – You can improve your oral hygiene and get fresher breath with a natural antibacterial toothpaste.

  • Recipes using Tea Tree Oils – Use these exclusive recipes for enhancing skin care, immune support, healing and relaxation.


Tea Tree Oils Forum – Drop into the forum and learn how other people have used tea tree oils.  We welcome your own comments and questions here. 

Consumer’s Guide to the Best Tea Tree Oils – Tea tree oils are available in different strengths, dosages and mixtures. Here’s helpful tips for comparing  terpinen-4-OL concentrations and how to check for purity and quality.



Research References:

Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan;19(1):50-62.

Antifungal activity of the components of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2003;95(4):853-60.

Susceptibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 1995 Mar;35(3):421-4.6

Mechanism of action of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil on Staphylococcus aureus determined by time-kill, lysis, leakage, and salt tolerance assays and electron microscopy. Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy. 2002 Jun;46(6):1914-20.


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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.