Tea tree Oil

Skin Conditions, Immune | December 6, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, Skin conditions

Tea tree Oil

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.

History

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).

Extraction of oil

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.

Clinical studies have shown tea tree to be effective in the treatment the following:

  • Fungal infections - athletes foot, tinea, nail fungal infections. Tea tree oil has also demonstrated benefit in reducing pruritus (itching) along with its antimicrobial and anti- inflammatory action make it useful in the treatment of fungal infections.
  • Acne - the broad spectrum antibacterial properties and its anti-inflammatory action has made tea tree oil to be very effective in the treatment and reduction of skin lesions in acne.
  • Cold sores - tea tree was found to exert anti-viral activity.
  • Dermatitis - as an anti-inflammatory and with its ability to prevent fungal and microbial growth and reduce itching make tea tree oil a useful medicinal additive to dermatitis or eczema protocols. Caution is advised to spot check for skin reactions before use in those with allergies.
  • Candidiasis - Using tree oil in a mouthwash has been evaluated to be effective in a in the treatment of oropharyngeal candidiasis.
  • Cuts and abrasions - tea tree oil has been found to decrease the pathogenic bacteria on the skin and increase the healing rate of abscessed wounds and cellulitis.
  • Insect bites - tea tree oil application on insect bites can help reduce itching, inflammation and microbial infection.
  • Lice - tea tree oil has shown insecticidal, acaricidal, and repellent effects against a variety of pests including Pediculus humanus var. capitis (head lice).
  • Scabies It has been found to have proven safe and effective activity against scabies' mites due to its insecticidal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  (MRSA)

With the emergence methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections research has been intensive in finding new ways to kill these clever pathogenic bacteria.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  (MRSA)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.

Other studies

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.   

How to use Tea tree oil

  • Tea tree should only be used topically. It can be used as a mouth wash or gargle but should not be swallowed.
     
  • It is best to apply the oil diluted in a cream, lotion or gel as in some cases skin irritation can occur.
     
  • Inhalations of tea tree tree can be used for upper respiratory infections. Place  a few drops of oil in a bowl of boiling water and inhale deeply through nose.
     
  • How to use Tea tree oilPut a cream, lotion or gel of tea tree oil in the First Aid kit for skin abraisions, fungal infections, cold sore prevention and acne.
     
  • Have a bottle of tea tree mouthwash in the bath room for gingivitis, sore throats, mouth ulcers and tooth infections.
     
  • Tea tree can be used both as a preventative treatment and also for established infections.

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Reference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca_alternifolia

http://www.teatree.org.au/teatree_about.php

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tea/treeoil.htm

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

http://www.thursdayplantation.com/product-categories/learn-about-our-oils/

https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/45/5/639/746736

http://www.pathology.uwa.edu.au/research/microbiology/tea-tree-oil-introduction

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