Melaleuca Oil is known for its purifying and antiseptic properties, And now, there are a handful of promising, scientific studies being conducted to reveal its various therapeutic benefits.
Melaleuca Oil, more commonly known as tea tree oil, is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, native to Australia. Before the invention of penicillin, melaleuca oil is said to have been traditionally used extensively for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties by aboriginal communities. They would crush the leaves and apply the paste to cuts, burns, and infections. Today, the oil is growing in popularity throughout the world as more people seek alternative health care to minimize harmful side effects of some commercial medicines.
Melaleuca Oil History
In the mid-1700’s, while anchored off the Purangi River in Mercury Bay, Australia, a British explorer and navigator, Captain James Cook, identified the melaleuca plant and its uses. He brewed a cleansing tea from the leaves of Melaleuca Alternifolia for himself and his crew, thus naming it the “tea” tree. It was a few hundred years later, in the 1920’s, when the medicinal properties of tea tree oil would be formally reported by Australian businessman, Arthur Penfold. It wasn’t until the 1970s, that commercial plantations began producing large quantities of a consistent product (1).
Melaleuca Oil Benefits
Melaleuca oil was traditionally used primarily as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory oil, Today, as more people are turning to natural remedies, positive scientific studies are showing melaleuca oil may be useful against various problems.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of tea tree oil :
- Acne Treatment
Melaleuca oil, with its properties, may help reduce skin redness, irritation, and swelling. The oil is may also offer a cleansing effect that helps reduce clogged pores. In a clinical study with 60 acne patients, an oil gel with 5% tea tree oil was effective. It was applied twice daily for 45 days (2). Always dilute essential oils with topical use, especially on the face. Consult with your doctor regarding possible contraindications or drug interactions before applying a tea tree acne serum topically.
- Cleaning Solution
Another excellent use of melaleuca oil is to make a natural household cleaner. Tea tree oil can help disinfect surfaces, and offer a fresh, clean scent. Try this DIY all-purpose cleaning recipe. It can be sprayed on countertops and kitchen floors, or tough areas like bathrooms and sinks. This natural cleaner offers a safe alternative to many chemical-based products on the market today.
1 tsp of liquid dish soap
½ cup of vinegar
½ cup of rubbing alcohol
20 drops of tea tree essential oil
20 drops of lemon essential oil
20 drops of rosemary essential oil
5 cups of water
Instructions: Combine the dish soap, vinegar, alcohol, and essential oils together in a spray bottle. Shake well. Then add the water. Test a small area before using over large surfaces. Shake and spray. Avoid using near young children and pets.
- Dandruff Shampoo
Tea tree (melaleuca) oil has become a popular ingredient in expensive commercial hair care products. Some scientific studies have shown it may help reduce dandruff. In a 2002 randomized study with 120 patients with dandruff, a 5% tea tree shampoo was used daily for 4 weeks, showing significantly reduced symptoms with no adverse side effects (3).
An affordable way to make your own tea tree shampoo is to add 3 drops of tea tree oil per tablespoon of your favorite unscented shampoo. Dandruff can clog pores, cause incessant itching, resulting in potential inflammation and hair loss.
An easy at-home conditioning oil treatment can also be made for the hair. Always dilute melaleuca oil with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil. Add 3 drops of the essential oil to 1 Tbsp of carrier oil. It may be beneficial to warm up the carrier oil for a few seconds before adding the tea tree oil. The heated blend will help open up the hair follicles and allow the oils to penetrate into the scalp. With sensitive skin, always skin patch tests a small area inside the elbow before using a recipe on the face. Not for young children or pets.
- Wound Care
Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, offers antiseptic qualities that may help with wounds. In a 2004 study of patients with MRSA infected skin lesions, a 10% tea tree cream along with a 5% tea tree body wash applied daily for five days was safe and effective in reducing infected wounds (4). In a review of research on the dermatological uses of tea tree, mentioned were the antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory actions of the oil, and its key constituent, terpinen-4-ol (5).
- Insect Repellency
Several essential oils have shown significant insect-repelling activity. Australian plants of the Myrtaceae family, including tea tree, have shown the potential to ward off insects (6). Blend multiple repellent essential oils together, like citronella, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium, cedarwood, or catnip. Combine the blend in a carrier oil for topical use. Add 10 drops of an essential oil blend to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Skin patch test before use with sensitive skin. Avoid pets, young children, and certain medical conditions. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about using essential oils to help repel insects.
Melaleuca Oil: What is it good for?
Melaleuca oil has shown in scientific studies to have potential dermatological, house cleaning, and insect repelling activities. From helping to reduce acne to scrubbing the counters, to deterring insects, tea tree essential oil offers an affordable natural alternative to expensive products and medications that could have unpleasant side effects. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before trying a tea tree home remedy.
Here are some of my favorite natural uses of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) oil for home remedies:
- How To Use Melaleuca Oil for Acne: A DIY Recipe
- Athlete’s Foot (Fungal Infection) Ointment with Melaleuca Oil
- How To Make Your Own Bug Spray: Melaleuca Oil to Repel Insect Bites
- Topical Candida (Fungal Infection) Ointment with Melaleuca Oil
- How To Make a Salve for Cuts and Burns: Melaleuca Oil for Wounds
- Melaleuca Oil Dry Cuticle Moisturizer
- Dry and Itchy Scalp Relief: Tea Tree Oil Shampoo
- Gentle Tea Tree Oil Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
- How To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer with Melaleuca Oil
- How To Remove Mold Naturally with Melaleuca Oil
- Natural Household Cleaner with Melaleuca Oil
- Melaleuca Oil Used as a Shower Curtain Cleaner
- Soothing Anti-inflammatory Lotion with Melaleuca Oil
- Toenail Fungus (Fungal Infection) Remover
How to Use Melaleuca Oil
Aromatically: There are two great ways you can inhale melaleuca oil. You can either diffuse melaleuca oil with the use of a Guru Nanda essential oil diffuser. Or, you can sprinkle diluted tea tree oil onto a warm steamy towel.
Guidelines: Place 5-7 drops of the desired oil in a GuruNanda Essential Oil Diffuser with distilled water. Run the diffuser for 20-minute increments, in an open area away from pets and small children. Or, combine 5 drops of tea tree oil with 1 Tbsp of almond oil and sprinkle it onto a warm towel.
Topically: You should always dilute melaleuca oil with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil. For general use, combine 5 drops of essential oil with 1 Tbsp of carrier oil. Always dilute essential oils before applying onto the skin. Carrier oils have their own therapeutic properties that help nourish and protect the skin and aid in absorption.
NOT for Internal Use: melaleuca oil can be toxic if swallowed. This oil should NOT be taken by mouth. Some traditional uses of melaleuca oil include treatment for bad breath, or halitosis, a treatment for toothaches and mouth ulcers, and even as a refreshing mouthwash. This, however, was before the National Poison Control Center released the potential side effects of taking in large amounts of this oil by mouth. Some of these side effects include digestive issues, hives, and/or dizziness, or worse.
To avoid these complications, if you still wish to use something orally, an alternative to using Tea Tree oil, try Ayurvedic Oil Pulling, which is safe and effective, having the potential to reverse tooth decay and gum damage according to Ayurvedic literature.
GuruNanda Testing Standards
Every batch of the GuruNanda melaleuca essential oil is put through rigorous quality control procedures. We use the highest level of testing available for essential oil, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) testing. This ensures that our Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oils are 100% pure and natural, and does not contain synthetic or adulterated materials, and has the correct aroma and appearance. No synthetics or additives, and always Non-GMO!
Beware: Due to growing demand, several competitor companies are finding ways to adulterate essential oils and sell at a cheaper price. They may use synthetic fragrances that smell nice but lack therapeutic value and can be potentially harmful. Research thoroughly before purchasing any oils. If available, check the labels for 100% pure and natural essential oils before purchasing the product, and be sure the correct botanical name is written (Melaleuca Alternifolia) in accordance with the labeling standards.
Advice: We source our oils from various parts of the world with all different soil conditions, air temperatures, light exposure, and moisture levels. We seal the delicate aroma in a small amber bottle with a dropper and lid to protect the oil’s fine quality. We suggest storing your oils in the amber bottle in a cool and dry location with minimum sun exposure. This will help protect and preserve your oil.
To ensure sure you do not end up using fake oils, only buy essential oils from a company that provides GC-MS testing for each of their essential oils. Some companies do not regulate their oils, A third party administered Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) test is the best way to check the authenticity and therapeutic properties of essential oils.
Dry & Itchy Scalp Shampoo DIY Recipe
Benefit: Helps provide relief from dry, itchy scalp and dandruff.
What You Need:
- 1 tablespoon of Raw Honey
- 1 tablespoon of Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 1 teaspoon of Castile soap
- 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of Purified Water
- 4 ounces of aloe Vera Gel
- 8 ounces of Distilled Water
- 10 drops of Melaleuca Oil
- 10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
- BPA-free plastic dispenser bottle
- Mixing Bowl
- Combine the honey and apple cider vinegar.
- Add the Aloe Vera and Fractionated Coconut Oil.
- Blend thoroughly until dissolved. Then, transfer ingredient to mixing bowl.
- Add the castile soap and water and blend thoroughly.
- Add in the essential oils.
- Pour into your dispenser bottle and close lid to shake.
- Shake the bottle until all ingredients are blended well together.
TO USE: Apply to wet hair and gently massage into your scalp. The shampoo will be non-sudsy, and add natural oils to your scalp. Following with a conditioner is optional. Skin patch test before use with sensitive skin and discontinue use if any irritation occurs. Avoid getting in the eyes. Not for use with young children and pets.
Melaleuca Oil Side Effects
Melaleuca oil should be not be used with pets; even small amounts have caused toxic reactions (7). Do not take tea tree essential oil internally unless prescribed by a Doctor. Avoid use with young children.
Always dilute essential oils. Skin patch test before use with sensitive skin and discontinue use with any irritations. Dilute 5 drops of tea tree essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil; dilute in higher amounts with children, the elderly, and sensitive skin.
The topical application of tea tree oil is associated with negligible skin irritancy. In a group of 311 subjects studied, the risk of developing allergic dermatitis from topical melaleuca oil usage was found to be less than one percent.
If you have any skin conditions or frequent dermatitis, you should consult with your doctor before use to prevent any adverse reactions. Please keep melaleuca oil away from children under the age of two. In the case of contact with eyes or any sensitive areas, flush the area with milk. If you experience significant redness, irritation, and discomfort, seek medical attention.
Melaleuca Oil Research and Studies
1. Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50-62.
2. Enshaieh, S., Jooya, A., Siadat, A. H., & Iraji, F. (2007). The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 73(1), 22.
3. Satchell, A. C., Saurajen, A., Bell, C., & Barnetson, R. S. (2002). Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47(6), 852-855.
4. Dryden, M. S., Dailly, S., & Crouch, M. (2004). A randomized, controlled trial of tea tree topical preparations versus a standard topical regimen for the clearance of MRSA colonization. Journal of Hospital Infection, 56(4), 283-286.
5. Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N., & Kazerouni, A. (2013). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, 52(7), 784-790.
6. Webb, C. E. (2014). Insect repellents derived from Australian plants and implications for public health messages. Insect repellents handbook, 213.
7. Bates, N. (2018). Tea tree oil exposure in cats and dogs. The Veterinary Nurse, 9(9), 474-478.
8. Aspres N., Freeman S., Predictive Testing for Irritancy and Allergenicity of Tea Tree Oil in Normal Human Subjects. Exog Dermatol 2003;2:258-261. Web.