Skin Conditions, Immune | December 6, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Tea tree oil is an iconic Australian product that has found many uses from household cleaning, treating fungal infections and as an inhalation for sinus infections. It is found in most households of Australia and its use dates back to indigenous Australians.
If you haven’t got a bottle in your cupboard then the following article may give you a reason to.
Tea tree melaleuca alternifolia is a small tree or shrub commonly known as narrow-leaved paperbark, narrow-leaved tea-tree and narrow-leaved ti-tree. This species is part of the myrtle Myrtaceae family and is endemic to Australia. It is located in coastal regions and ranges of New South Wales and south east Queensland where it is often the dominant species of plant.
Traditionally the indigenous Bundjalung people of eastern Australia used the leaves of the tea tree as a tea for throat ailments, coughs and colds, as a compress for wounds and for bites and stings.
Tea tree oil was used during World War 2 where it was included in every Australian soldier’s kit due to its many medicinal uses.
Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Its use slowed down with the introduction of anti-biotics but a resurgent of interest developed during the baby boomer era and research has grown since then.
Tea tree oil listed for clinical use by the World Health Organisation, British Pharmacopoeia and The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (Martindale) and ESCOP (European scientific co-operative of phytotherapy).
Tea tree oil is obtained by steam distillation of the melaleuca alternifolia tea tree leaves. After condensation, the clear to yellow oil is separated from the water distillate.
With the emergence methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections research has been intensive in finding new ways to kill these clever pathogenic bacteria.
Studies have found that Tea tree oil has clinical application as a hand disinfectant in both hospital and community settings. One study found tea tree oil was effective against several multidrug-resistant organisms, including MRSA, glycopeptide-resistant enterococci, aminoglycoside-resistant klebsiellae, Pseudomon aeruginosa and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and also against sensitive microorganisms.
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The good news is recent scientific studies show that it is extremely unlikely that bacteria will become resistance to tea tree oil.
Research at University of Western Australia has shown that tea tree oil offers broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity and anti-cancer effects with laboratory studies still ongoing.
In vivo tests showed a clear result that tea tree, in the form of ointments, eye drops or compresses, is affective against Acanthamoeba, a single cell organism found in soil and water environments around the world, that can cause severe infection of the eyes, skin and central nervous system.
Clinical studies have shown that tea tree oil is effective for treating several superficial infections or conditions where bacteria or fungi are involved. These include cold sores, tinea, fungal nail infections, dandruff and candidiasis. These studies generally showed that treatment with tea tree oil was either the same as standard treatment or better than no treatment or placebo.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/ Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/ Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740760/ Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris: A Review of Recent Evidences
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4751955/ Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313585/ Evaluation of the effectiveness of tea tree oil in treatment of Acanthamoeba infection