Tea tree oil is an essential oil that can be used for several purposes. It has been used for many decades for keeping skin, hair and nails healthy. Tea tree oil is also inexpensive and it is safe to use when used as directed.
Where does tea tree oil come from?
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.
Melaleuca alternifolia is known as the tea tree, it should not be confused with the plant that produces leaves used to make black, green and oolong tea.
Aborigines have used tea tree oil as a traditional medicine for centuries by crushing tea tree leaves to extract the oil, which is then inhaled to treat coughs and colds or applied directly to the skin for healing.
How does tea tree oil work?
- Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi – Reference
- Terpinen-4-ol also appears to increase the activity of your white blood cells, which help fight germs and other foreign invaders.
Tea tree oil available today
Today, tea tree oil is widely available as a 100% undiluted or “neat” oil. Diluted forms are also available, ranging from 5–50% strength in products designed for the skin.
Tea tree oil for headaches?
Tea tree oil is not usually used to treat headaches, however, it has many other uses.
Natural hand sanitiser: Studies have shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, including E. coli, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae. – Reference. To make your own moisturising, all-natural hand sanitiser using tea tree oil click here for a great recipe.
Antiseptic for minor cuts: Treat and disinfect minor cuts and abrasions by using tea tree oil to kill S. aureus and other bacteria that can cause infection in open wounds. – Reference. To disinfect a cut or scrape, follow these steps:
- Clean the cut thoroughly with plain soap and water,
- Mix one drop of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil,
- Apply a small amount of the mixture to the injury and cover with a bandage,
- Repeat this process once or twice daily until a scab has formed.
All-purpose cleaner: Make a great cleaner that also acts as a surface sanitiser. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to two cups of hot water and a half cup of vinegar to make an all-purpose cleaner. But, be careful of using vinegar on marble or granite, as it can eat away at the stone.
Laundry cleaner: Add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to the wash. The tea tree oil helps prevent fungal and bacterial infections from extra soiled clothes.
Reduce mould on fruits and vegetables: Tea tree oil’s antifungal compounds terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole may help reduce the growth of this mould on fruit and vegetables – Reference. To protect against mould, add 5–10 drops of tea tree oil to water before rinsing your produce and drying it thoroughly.
Caution using tea tree oil
- It should not be ingested as it may be toxic if swallowed.
- Keep out of reach of children.
- Do a patch test first if you are using tea tree oil for the first time.
- Keep tea tree oil out of reach of pets.
Essential oils that can be used for headaches
One of the most commonly used oils to treat headaches as it contains menthol which helps to relax muscles and ease pain. Dilute the peppermint with another carrier oil, like coconut oil, and apply to temples.
Can help reduce insomnia and relax muscles, which can help with headaches. Massage the affected area with a few drops of rosemary oil mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil.
Breathing in the scent from lavender essential oil can help acute management of migraine attacks. In one study, people reported a significant reduction in pain after only 15 minutes of inhaling the lavender oil. – Reference. Apply diluted lavender oil to the skin, use an oil diffuser, or add the diluted oil to a warm bath to obtain its benefits.
If your headaches are caused by sinus issues, eucalyptus can open up the nasal passages and clear the sinuses, reliving sinus tension. Apply a drop of eucalyptus oil to a carrier oil and apply it to the chest to help clear the sinuses, or add a few drops to hot water and breathe in the vapor.
Note: The biggest risk associated with essential oils is the risk of an allergic reaction or irritation. Applying oils to the skin can cause irritation, including a stinging or burning feeling, redness, or rash. You should dilute all essential oils, including peppermint and eucalyptus oils, with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
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