This month our essential oil highlight is Tea Tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, an essential oil that I would not want to be without as it has so many practical uses.
Recognisable by its very distinctive aroma that is medicinal and fresh, Tea Tree is part of the Myrtaceae family and indigenous to Australia. The botanical name combines two Greek words, melas (black) and leukos (white) which references the contrasting black and white trunk with white stems and branches But what is Tea Tree Essential Oil used for?
The history of Tea Tree
A tale from the Bundjalung people of New South Wales told of a Princess who had to leave the safety of her home to travel across the bush. She spoke to the Gods of The Earth, who gave her seeds to plant on her journey so that when they grew into trees, they would guide her home. The trees grew with their distinctive white and black bark that shone in the dark marking her way home. The Bundjalung people came to realise the power of the leaves and used them in their traditional medicine including inhaling the oil from the crushed leaves for coughs and colds, applying the leaves in a poultice for wounds and brewing the leaves for tea.
This is purportedly where the name that we know came from, as in the 18th Century Captain Cook copied the use of the leaves to make tea for his sailors and hence the name Tea Tree was coined.
Tea Tree became a common household remedy in Australia and was a vital part of an Australian soldier’s kit in the Second World War. This is how it’s believed that the essential oil became known across the globe. The Tea Tree industry is huge and produces hundreds of kilos of Tea Tree every year.
Tea tree is a great essential oil to use for your health and around the home. It’s considered a great ‘bug-busting oil’, and with its penetrating, medicinal aroma it can be used to cleanse, clear and protect.
How can you use Tea Tree Essential Oil?
Diffuser blend to relieve congestion
At the first sign of a cough or a cold add the following essential oils to your Aroma Spa Diffuser.
3 drops of Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
3 drops of Lemon – Citrus limonum
2 drops of Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus globulus
Natural household cleaner
Tea Tree is also great to use when cleaning. For a floor cleaner add the following to a bucket of hot water.
2 tablespoons of vinegar
10 drops of Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
5 drops of Lime – Citrus aurantifolia
(Do not use on a laminate floor)
Purifying face scrub
Tea Tree can help purify the skin and may help when the skin is congested. Try this ‘make at home’ face scrub.
- 3 drops of Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
- 2 tablespoons of Oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon of Honey
Add just enough warm water to make a soft paste. Massage over the face for approx. 2-3 minutes (avoid eyes and mouth) rinse off with warm water, pat skin dry and apply your normal moisturiser.
As I said, I’m never without my Tea Tree, I hope you come to appreciate its efficacy and usefulness also.
Enjoy experimenting and blending with your Tea Tree Essential Oil, and tell us how you’re using yours. Tag us on Instagram
About Jo Kellett
Our essential oil expert, Jo Kellett TIDHA MIFPA CIMI, graduated from the Tisserand Institute of Holistic Aromatherapy in 1996. She returned to the college in 1999 as an Essential Oil Therapeutics Tutor, where she taught until the college closed. Jo runs a successful private Aromatherapy practice in Brighton, specialising in Women’s health. Jo is also an internationally published author and has lectured on the subject of Aromatherapy both in the UK and abroad.