About Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular essential oils and is extracted from the 20-foot evergreen Melaleuca alternifolia. This tree, commonly known as the Tea Tree plant, thrives in its native range’s swampy conditions, around New South Wales, Australia. With cypress-like needles for leaves, its bark is papery, and its blooms are creamy white, yellow, or purple. To learn more about the botany of the Melaleuca genus, check out this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca
Today, this essential oil is produced not only in Australia but New Zealand and India as well. The quality of Australian Tea Tree essential oil is highly variable but the best selections nonetheless come from this country and the oils from New Zealand and India are not, in our opinion, as good as the best selections from Australia. Both of our Tea Tree essential oil selections are sourced from Australia and we believe them to be among the best choices available on the market.
Tea Tree oil has a fresh, pungent, somewhat camphoraceous aroma with notes of spice and lemon. Some people describe the aroma as “medicinal”. Aromatically, it can blend well with lavender, clary sage, rosemary, pine, marjoram, and many spice oils. Tea Tree essential oil does not blend well with some florals, however, and it’s always advisable when blending for the aroma to add it in small amounts.
Indigenous Australians have used medicinal tea made from the leaves and blossoms of the tea tree plant for centuries and this is how the plant got its common name of Tea Tree. Modern aromatherapists have touted it as a supportive choice for people experiencing symptoms of a cold and some have claimed it to be a natural cold remedy and to offer natural immune support. Tea Tree essential oil has also been described as promoting increased vitality and it is sometimes recommended by aromatherapists for alleviating mental fatigue.
Energetically, the aroma of Tea Tree oil has been claimed to foster a positive outlook and to vitalize the healing instinct.
Using Tea Tree Essential Oil with Adults
Tea Tree oil is appropriate for both inhalation and, when properly diluted in vegetable oil or jojoba, for use on the skin (see below); while it can be used as a “single” we prefer to use it in blends as it seems to have good synergistic effects. You will find a great many recipes for Tea Tree essential oil blends online and, of course, some of these are better than others. When choosing essential oils to blend with Tea Tree, remember that Tea Tree oil is a potential skin irritant and should be used with care, if at all, in combination with other essential oils that are also potentially irritating. It also has fairly powerful actions and a little goes a long way so a drop or two is often all you need for a single use.
You should be aware that while Tea Tree oil is often used to relieve itching it can actually cause itching in a few people and this is especially likely when it’s added to hot water in a bath. If you want to use Tea Tree oil in a bath, use warm, not hot bath water and dilute just 1 to 3 drops of Tea Tree essential oil in a teaspoon of vegetable oil or Castille soap before mixing it into the bath (be careful if you have diluted it in vegetable oil – the tub will be slippery).
Tea Tree oil is commonly used for room diffusion during cold and flu season and in sick rooms when a clean, antiseptic feeling is desired. We particularly like to combine it with Lemon essential oil and a small amount of eucalyptus essential oil for this purpose – for diffusing at night, blend your Tea Tree oil with True Lavender essential oil instead of Eucalyptus because Eucalyptus essential oil is stimulating and could interfere with sleep.
For use on the skin, Tea Tree essential oil should be diluted in vegetable oil or jojoba oil to a maximum concentration of 2.5%. To achieve this concentration, add 23 drops of the essential oil to one ounce of vegetable oil or jojoba. Tea Tree essential oil is often touted as an essential oil that can be used topically without being diluted but many people will experience a rash and/or itching using it undiluted and we don’t recommend this approach.
Tea Tree essential oil is a widely used essential oil and is safe to use externally with a few simple precautions. It was traditionally said to carry a small risk for skin irritation and/or sensitization but as undiluted use has become more common, reports of unpleasant skin reactions have increased and so Tea Tree essential oil should always be diluted in vegetable oil or jojoba to a maximum concentration of 2.5% before applying it to the skin (see simple instructions above). Some aromatherapists have cautioned against applying even diluted Tea Tree oil to burns, as it is believed that it may encourage scarring.
Tea Tree essential oil has reportedly produced severe itching in some people when combined with heat, as in a hot bath, for example; see our bathing recommendations above. Also, use no more than a single drop in a steam inhalation and keep your face well away from the source of the steam (always close your eyes when holding your face in steaming water).
Oxidized (spoiled) Tea Tree essential oil can be very irritating to the skin so be sure to store it tightly capped in a cool, dark, dry place and discard unused oil after one year.
Follow all general essential oil safety practices, which can be accessed by clicking the link below.
Check out our Organic version: Organic Tea Tree Oil
IMPORTANT: All information here is provided for educational interest only and not as product claims. Since your experiences with a given essential oil may differ from anyone else’s, claims made by aromatherapists for an essential oil should not be relied upon as being reliable for your situation. We recommend using essential oils simply for the enjoyment of their aromas. No information here is intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any physical or mental illness or as a substitute for consulting with a physician. Historical or folk information about uses is based on historical records not backed by clinical research and may not be accurate. Please pay attention to the safety information provided below. We recommend you consult a trained aromatherapist before using essential oils with children under 16 years of age.
All issues that pertain to your physical or mental health should be discussed with and supervised by a licensed health care professional. Keep all essential oils away from and out of reach of children.