An Introduction to Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil)

Tea tree oil (TTO), also known as melaleuca oil is a widely used and popular oil derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. TTO is the essential oil that comes from steaming the leaves of the tea tree. TTO is light yellow in color and has a fresh, herbaceous fragrance like nutmeg.

Though TTO has been used by the native Australians, it is only in the early twentieth century that scientists confirmed its antimicrobial properties.

Tea tree should not be confused with the tea plant used to make regular black or green tea. The tea tree got this name when sailors in the 18th century were given tea brewed from the leaves of the melaleuca tree. They liked the taste and named the melaleuca tree as the “tea tree.”

TTO is being widely used to treat acne, eczema, burns, insect bites, infections of the ear, mouth throat, bad breath, tooth cavities, dandruff, toe nail fungus and hair fall.

This article will share with you Top 15 Health Benefits of Tea Tree essential oil [TTO].

1. Skin Care. TTO has powerful antioxidant properties which help in reducing age spots, wrinkles, blemishes, sun tan and scars resulting in smoother and younger looking skin. You can directly dab some TTO on affected areas with a clean cotton swab or if you have sensitive skin it is advisable to dilute TTO with almond, jojoba or coconut oils before application. You can also add 6-7 drops of TTO daily to the bath water for keeping skin healthy.

To reduce the appearance of wrinkles on face mix 3 drops of TTO with 1 tablespoon each of yoghurt and honey. Leave the mixture on the face for about 20-30 minutes. Daily application keeps skin supple, smooth and looking young.

Tea Tree Oil for Skin Care

2. Fights Acne. Acne is a result of oil glands getting blocked by secretions and dirt. Make a face cleanser with 2 drops of TTO and 1 tablespoon of pure honey. Leave on face for at least 15 minutes and then rinse off. This is very effective in clearing up the sebum glands and its excellent antibacterial quality helps to eliminate the harmful bacteria. Put 2-3 drops of TTO on a moistened cotton swab and gently dab on the affected area before going to bed. Rinse your face with lukewarm water in the morning. Repeat daily till acne clears up.

3. Dandruff Treatment. TTO has proven benefits for hair and scalp health. TTO has the ability to soothe dry flaking skin and remove dandruff. To make TTO shampoo at home, mix 7-8 drops of tea tree essential oil with 10-15 milliliters of aloe vera gel, 100 ml coconut milk, and 3-4 drops of other essential oils like lemon or lavender oil.

You can also apply diluted tea tree essential oil directly to your scalp. Add 10 drops tea tree oil to 250 ml bottle of organic shampoo. Shake bottle gently before each use. Also, adding few drops of TTO to coconut, almond and olive oils will help reduce itch, oiliness and infections due to dandruff.

4. Hair Loss Treatment. Using TTO regularly is a simple yet effective way for longer and thicker hair. You can add a few drops of TTO to your regular shampoo or massage the oil directly into the scalp. You can also mix a few drops of tea tree oil with an equal amount of almond, olive or coconut oil. Massage the mixture into the scalp and leave for 1-2 hours and shampoo as usual. This makes the hair soft and silky. It also forms a protective layer on the hair thus preventing hair loss, dryness and split ends.

5. Oral Health. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of TTO help to destroy bad bacteria and also has a soothing effect on swollen, painful and inflamed gums. Also, it reduces plaque and controls bad breath. Studies indicate that TTO is effective when applied externally to inflamed gums. You can add 1 drop of TTO to your regular toothpaste and brush your teeth with it twice daily. You can also add 2-3 drops of TTO to a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth especially after meals. This is effective in treating halitosis or bad breath.

Tea Tree Oil for Oral Health

6. Anti Cancer. Studies indicate that the major active terpene component, terpinen-4-ol [about 23%] in TTO, has anti-tumor activity. TTO has been shown to have anti-cancer effects on solid tumors present under the skin. TTO is toxic to the cancer cells. New Method To Cut Down Energy Supply To Cancer Cells and significantly inhibits the growth of these tumors.

7. Natural Deodorant. The antibacterial properties of TTO can be effectively used to kill the bacteria on the skin that cause body odor. You can make a TTO deodorant which is equally effective as the commercial ones but without the harmful chemicals. Mix together 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, shea butter, quarter cup each of baking soda and cornstarch along with 20 drops of TTO. First melt the coconut oil and shea butter and then stir in the cornstarch, baking soda and TTO. Let the mixture cool and then use it like a lotion underarms or in areas where you perspire most.

8. Eczema Treatment. TTO is well known in relieving skin inflammation due to eczema. Mix 1 teaspoon of coconut or almond oil with 5 drops of TTO and 5 drops of lavender oil to make TTO eczema lotion. Apply this lotion on eczema and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

9. Toenail Fungus Treatment. TTO has anti-fungal properties which are useful in treating toe nail fungus and athletes foot. Put undiluted tea tree oil on the affected area using a clean cotton swab. If it is painful to use the undiluted oil, it is recommended to dilute TTO with organic coconut, jojoba or almond oils in a ratio of 1:1 or as is suitable. Apply 2-3 times daily for best results.

10. As an Antiseptic. First clean the wound with water; then apply TTO and cover the wound with bandage. TTO is found useful against staphylococcus infections including the dreaded hospital MRSA infection.

Tea Tree Oil as Antiseptic

11. Chicken pox and Cold Sores treatment.TTO has long been used for easing the itching and pain of chickenpox and cold sores, both caused by the herpes simplex virus. Add about 20 drops of TTO to a bucket or a bath tub filled with warm water and take a bath. You can also dab TTO directly on affected areas with clean cotton swabs.

12. Natural Insect Repellent. Tea tree oil has been used by indigenous Australians for hundreds of years as an insect repellent, and also as an aid to heal insect bites. Mosquitoes, fleas, flies and other insects do not come near the body if TTO is used. In addition, a study reported in 2015 by Brazilian researchers found that tea tree oil was effective against two fly species.

13. Eases Respiratory Complaints. TTO is effective in easing lung congestion and infections. Studies show that the bacteria Legionella pneumophila is highly sensitive to TTO. For relief from cough and sinusitis mix 1-2 drops of TTO, 1- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil, 3 drops of lemon essential oil, and 1-2 drops of oregano essential oil in 500 ml of steaming hot water. Hold a towel above your head and breathe in the steam through the nose and mouth.

14. Warts Treatment. TTO has antiviral properties which can destroy the virus and remove the warts. Add 4 drops of TTO to one teaspoon of almond, coconut or olive oil. Apply on the warts and leave it on for 1-2 hours. Rinse off with warm water. Repeat daily till warts disappear. You can also put a drop of TTO directly on the wart and cover it with bandage.TTO is also effective at treating genital warts.

Tea Tree Oil to Treat Warts

15. Controls Lice Infestation. Researchers have found that TTO has potent anti lice properties. Mix 1 teaspoon of TTO in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. Apply mixture on scalp and hair. Cover your head with towel or shower cap and leave for 20-30 minutes. Wash with regular shampoo and comb the hair with a nit comb to remove the dead lice and nits. Repeat the procedure two times a week for 2-3 months.

Important Tips

  • Do not take TTO internally. It is only meant for external use.
  • If you have sensitive skin, dilute TTO with other carrier oils.
  • It is not advisable for pregnant and breast feeding mothers to use TTO.
  • Keep tea tree oil away from your eyes, ears, contact lenses, inner nose. It can cause an unpleasant raw burning sensation.


  1. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia) - (
  2. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties - (
  3. 25 Uses for Tea Tree Oil - (
  4. Role of Herbal Agents - Tea Tree Oil and Aloe vera as Cavity Disinfectant Adjuncts in Minimally Invasive Dentistry-An In vivo Comparative Study. - (
  5. The dynamics and mechanism of the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil against bacteria and fungi. - (

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