Tea Tree
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Tea Tree Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

What Is Tea Tree Used for Today?

Tea tree oil can kill many bacteria, viruses, and fungi on contact. 1 This makes it an antiseptic, like betadine, hydrogen peroxide, and many other essential oils . It is not an antibiotic in the common sense, because an antibiotic is absorbed throughout the body.

Preliminary double-blind studies suggest that tea tree oil might be useful for athlete's foot and other fungal infections of the skin and nails. 2 One double-blind study found tea tree oil helpful for acne . 3 Another double-blind study found that tea tree oil gel may reduce gum inflammation in people with periodontal disease . 4 A single-blind study found evidence that tea tree oil may be helpful for dandruff . 5 Tea tree oil may be as effective as standard antiseptics for removing resistant strains of staph bacteria from the skin of hospitalized patients. 6 7 Note: This does not mean tea tree oil is effective as an antibioticfor staph bacteria. It is an antiseptic. Antiseptics work on the surface of the body, while antibiotics work from within.

Additionally, tea tree oil has been proposed as a treatment for vaginal infections , thrush, and oral herpes (cold sores). 8 However, there is no reliable evidence to indicate that it is effective for these purposes.

References

  1. Williams LR, Home VN, Zhang X, et al. The composition and bactericidal activity of oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Int J Aromather. 1988;1:15-17.
  2. Tong MM, Altman PM, Barnetson RS. Tea tree oil in the treatment of tinea pedis. Australas J Dermatol. 33(3):145-9.
  3. Enshaieh S, Jooya A, Siadat AH, Iraji F. The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 73(1):22-5.
  4. Soukoulis S, Hirsch R. The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis. Aust Dent J. 49(2):78-83.
  5. Satchell AC, Saurajen A, Bell C, Barnetson RS. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. J Am Acad Dermatol. 47(6):852-5.
  6. Flaxman D, Griffiths P. Is tea tree oil effective at eradicating MRSA colonization? A review. Br J CommunityNurs. 2005;10:123-126.
  7. Caelli M, Porteous J, Carson CF, et al. Tea tree oil as an alternative topical decolonization agent for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Hosp Infect. 2000;46:236-237.
  8. Williams LR, Home VN, Zhang X, et al. The composition and bactericidal activity of oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Int J Aromather. 1988;1:15-17.
 
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