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13 Feb 2023 - Three Tales from Tea Tree Farmers

The Farmer Magazine Article featuring three of our producers More »»

23 Nov 2021 - Scientists Confirm: Essential Oils Unrelated to Hormone Disruption

Epidemiological Research Debunks the Long-Held Myth That Lavender and Tea Tree Oils Cause Endocrine Disruption in Children. More »»

11 Jun 2021 - Plant Health Australia

Plant Health Australia (PHA) are seeking Non-Executive Directors applications. More »»

19 Mar 2021 - AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program Advisory Panel

AgriFutures Australia is seeking to broaden the skillset of its Tea Tree Oil Program Advisory Panel by appointing two new members. More »»

Personal Uses

Pure Australian tea tree oil is most commonly purchased for household use in small (50 ml) brown ribbed glass bottles with a child-proof safety cap that is clearly marked ‘poison – keep out of reach of children’. Always follow the directions on the label and store the oil in its original, tightly sealed container in a cool, dark area that is out of reach of children.

Tea tree oil is widely used in either its pure form or diluted with a neutral carrier oil (eg mineral oil or most vegetable oils such as walnut, sunflower, olive, canola (rapeseed) or grape-seed oil) as a topical application for insect bites, cuts and grazes, burns, acne, infected wounds, bruises, boils, scabies, lice, chilblains, hives, prickly heat and sunburn. It quickly mixes with sebaceous secretions and penetrates through the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and provides almost immediate relief from most of the conditions listed.

For pain and inflammation associated with sprains, arthritis, bunions, bursitis, eczema, gout, carpal tunnel syndrome and haemorrhoids it is usually best to use a mix of oils that contains between 5 and 10% pure Australian Tea Tree oil. This should be stored in a dark glass bottle and shaken well before use. It can be topically applied as massage oil up to four times a day.

Much has been written about the alleged link between prepubertal gynecomastia and tea tree oil since an article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Henley et al Feb 2007). ATTIA totally refutes this and an extract from this request to publish a retraction follows:

Many researchers and scientist have looked at this article, and raised concern and alarm at the poor methodology and conclusions which are certainly not supported by science. When such science is amplified by publication in a respected Journal, and the media beats up the story, it has damaging consequences out of all proportion to the facts. This article was uncritically reported around the world causing alarm and commercial impacts and fear. Is this responsible?

In his Paper presented to the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) Conference in Denver, Colorado, (Oct 2007) Robert Tisserand added:

A collusion of poor research and media hype resulted in a “scare” about tea tree oil and lavender oil being possible causes of pre-pubertal gynecomastia in boys (Henley et al 2007). This report has subsequently been criticized (Dean 2007, Kalyan 2007, Kemper et al 2007, Kurtz 2007) a fact not noted by the media.

In only one of the case studies by Henley et al does the product claim to contain tea tree oil even qualitatively. The conclusion that Tea Tree is a causative agent with only one case study is preposterous. This publication is, to say the least, unscientific. The conclusion stated in the summary is not supported by the cell culture studies. The authors show no curiosity at all about the enormous difficulties in attempting to connect the cell culture studies with the case studies scientifically. It is disappointing to see the New England Journal of Medicine publishing such work uncritically, allowing such material to damage its own reputation and to create unwarranted alarm and commercial damage around the world.

Safety of Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has been used as a traditional medicine for many years. The earliest publication in the 1920s described the use of tea tree oil as a topical germicidal product. Tea tree oil has been sold in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and other European countries since the early 1930’s and there has been a consistent and long standing use of tea tree oil demonstrated since 1930 internationally and in the European Community.
The clinical use of tea tree oil is described in monographs published by the World Health Organisation, British Pharmacopoeia and The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (Martindale) and ESCOP (2009).
More recently, researchers, noting the early findings, conducted clinical trials to confirm the antibacterial activity, antifungal activity, antiviral activity and antiprotozoal activity under modern controlled clinical trial conditions. These human clinical trials have been published to show that tea tree oil is efficacious in:

•    Clearance of MRSA
•    Reduction of bacterial load
•    Reduction of yeast and fungal infections
•    Treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris
•    Treatment of tinea pedis (athletes foot)
•    Treatment onychomycosis (fungal infection of toenails)
•    Treatment of furunculosis (boils)
•    Treatment of viral infections including Herpes labialis (cold sores)
•    Treatment of mild to moderate dandruff
•    Prevention of head lice
•    Relief of the symptoms associated with contact hypersensitivity reactions
•    Relief of the symptoms of moderate to severe gingivitis
•    Relief of the symptoms of fluconazole-refractory oropharyngeal candidiasis (thrush)
•    Relief of the symptoms of denture stomatitis (inflamation of the mouth)
•    Treatment of Ocular Demodex (ocular rosacea caused by Demodex mites)

In mid 2010 exciting new research into the anti-cancer activity of tea tree oil has found that a TTO formulation significantly inhibited the growth of cancerous tumours in mice and also regressed the tumours during and after the treatment period for a time. Only minor side effects (which appear to be important for topical chemotherapies to work effectively) were observed in the form of skin irritation which was temporary and cleared after a few days. For more information on the anti-cancer properties of tea tree oil please click here.


Some specific personal uses for pure Australian tea tree oil:

Acne vulgaris (commonly referred to as acne) occurs most frequently during puberty and can vary from mild and non inflammatory over portions of the face through to an extensive inflammatory form that affects the face and trunk. There are a large number of commercially available topical acne prevention gels and creams containing up to 5% tea tree oil that are specifically formulated to assist in control of Propionibacterium acnes which is a slow growing bacterium that has been linked to acne. The anti inflammatory action of the tea tree oil is also credited with reducing the visual appearance of inflammation in more severe cases. In 1990 the Medical Journal of Australia published a comparative study of a 5% tea tree oil gel and a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. Both treatments gave improvement to the condition and the benzoyl peroxide solution was ranked marginally better for non inflammatory acne, however it caused unwanted side effects (such as dry, red or flaky skin, pruritus (itching), stinging or burning in 79% of users compared to 44% in tea tree oil. The anti inflammatory properties of both treatments were not recorded in this study and there is anecdotal evidence that a tea tree treatment provides marked relief from inflammatory acne with far fewer side effects. There are also a number of websites that can provide in-depth information on acne. A good site is High on Health.

Fungal infections of the skin (athlete's foot, jock-itch and ringworm) the nails (onychomycosis) and vaginal infections of Candida albicans and Trichomonas vaginalis have all been treated safely and effectively using tea tree oil.

For vaginal infections a solution of 40% tea tree oil solution emulsified with isopropyl alcohol and water can be used to saturate a tampon which is inserted for 8 hours once a week for 4 to 6 weeks. This treatment is highly effective for C albicans and T vaginalis infections. No irritation or side effects were noted. Alternatively, a daily vaginal douche using a 0.4% tea tree oil in water is equally effective. There is also anecdotal evidence that these treatments are also effective for the treatment of cervicitis and chronic endocervicitis, especially when used in combination with oral antibiotic treatments.

A comparative study between a 1% clotrimazole solution and 100% tea tree oil on Onychomycosis where the fungal infection was clinically proved to exist was conducted in 1994. Tea tree oil had completely cleared up infection in 18% of patients compared with 11% for clotrimazole after 6 months. Improvement (partial resolution of infection) was observed in 61% of clotrimazole and 60% of tea tree oil patients. After 9 months, there was a 56% incidence of complete cure for tea tree oil compared with 55% for clotrimazole.

Other uses for pure Australian tea tree oil are:

For dry hair that requires a kind, non-detergentbased product, a 2% solution of tea tree oil in a moisturising shampoo may help unblock sebaceous glands and encourage the free flow of the body's own moisturising oils whilst helping to clear away unsightly dead skin cells. Condition your hair with a 2% tea tree oil moisturising conditioner. There are a number of commercially available shampoos and conditioners that contain tea tree oil.

For oily hair a tea tree moisturising shampoo and conditioning regime may help clear the scalp of bacterial or fungal irritations while helping to disperse dead skin cells. Using a few drops of pure tea tree oil in an inert carrier such as almond oil and applying this directly to the scalp for a few minutes before shampooing may also accelerate improvement of conditions such as dry, oily or itchy scalp as well as assist in the control of dandruff.

Head lice (Pediculus capitis) are small, wingless, egg laying insects found on the human head. They grow to about 3.5mm (the size of a sesame seed or pin head). Head lice live on the hair and feed by sucking blood from the scalp. They are pale grey in colour before feeding and reddish brown after feeding. Live eggs (sometimes called nits) are glued to the hair shaft within a distance of 1.5 cm from the scalp. They hatch in 7-10 days as young lice (nymphs). It takes up to ten days for the nymphs to become mature lice and begin laying eggs. Adults are larger than nymphs and a mature female lays up to eight eggs per day.

Using a tea tree oil shampoo boosted with several drops of pure tea tree oil which should be left on the scalp for 5 - 10 minutes before rinsing off may eliminate the adult lice. This will need to be repeated twice a week for several weeks until all eggs (nits) have hatched. Soaking combs, brushes and other contaminated material in an emulsion of 1 ml of pure oil in 200 ml of water will assist in guarding against continued infection.

For a blocked nose or sinus congestion use a few drops of pure tea tree oil in a steam bath or vapouriser. Nasal ulcers can be treated by applying pure tea tree oil with a cotton bud.

For congestion or coughs use pure tea tree oil in a steam bath or vapouriser and inhale the steam. Rubbing pure tea tree oil into the back and chest may also be beneficial, but it may be necessary to dilute the tea tree oil in a neutral carrier such as almond oil. For a sore throat, three to six drops of pure tea tree oil added to warm water and used as a gargle can be highly beneficial.

Mouth ulcers, sore or bleeding gums and bad breath can be improved by either gargling daily using three to six drops of pure tea tree oil added to warm water. Regular use of toothpaste containint tea tree oil can also be beneficial in treating these as well as fighting plaque build up.

Cold sores can be treated by dabbing on pure tea tree oil 2 to 3 times a day as soon as the area begins to tingle.. Tea tree oil has proven anti viral activity that can help reduce the severity of a cold sore as well as sooth and assist in healing.

For muscle aches, arthritis or minor sprains prepare a a mix of oils that contains between 5 and 10% pure Australian Tea Tree oil and massage this into the affected area up to 4 times a day. Shake the bottle well before use.

Boils can be treated by dabbing pure tea tree oil gently onto the affected area 2 - 3 times a day. Ongoing relief may also occur with regular use of a soap or cleasner containing tea tree oil.

For cuts, abraisions, insect stings or bites dab on a little pure tea tree oil 2 - 3 times a day until healed.  For tropical ulcers, plantar warts and coral cuts dab on a little pure tea tree oil 2 - 3 times a day until healed. The tea tree oil cleans, disinfects and soothes all of which promote healing.

For minor burns flush with cold water or under a running tap or apply ice as soon as possible after the burn occurs. Apply pure tea tree oil directly onto the burnt area twice a day until healed. For sunburn apply a sun soother that contains pure tea tree oil. The tea tree oil's soothing and anti-inflamatory action provides immediate relief and may assist in preventing blistering. For severe cases of sunburn or blistering, treat the same as for minor burns as described above.

After shaving or waxing use a soothing cream containing pure tea tree oil immeditately as the soothing and anti bacterial properties of tea tree oil may help prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs.



Page last updated: 16 Jul 2010