Tea Tree oils (Melaleuca / Leptospermum – Manuka)

The family Myrtaceae contains many plants, including the Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and its New Zealand equivalents manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and kanuka (Kunzea ericoides, formerly Leptospermum ericoides). These species have been known collectively as “tea trees” since Captain Cook used their leaves to brew a strong tea for his sailors.

Melaleuca alternifolia or “tea tree” is a small tree native to the northeast coastal region of New South Wales, Australia. The leaves are the portion of the plant used medicinally. The medical world’s first mention of tea tree appeared in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1930 where a surgeon in Sydney reported some impressive results when a solution of tea tree oil was used for cleaning surgical wounds. Tea tree oil has a broad range of antimicrobial activity.

Although often provided in 100% strength, people with sensitive skin should use it in diluted form. It can be mixed with another oil such as almond oil. If a skin reaction occurs, discontinue use. It has been reported that allergic contact dermatitis to tea tree oil is commonly seen by Australian dermatologists [Medical Journal of Australia, February 21, 1994;160: p.236]. In addition, avoid contact with the eyes and remember to store any product out of the reach of children. Although one Naturopath is known to have swallowed an ounce of tea tree oil daily for thirty days and appeared to show no ill effects, it is generally recommended for external use only.

Tea tree oil has been used in the treatment of: acne, athlete’s foot, boils, burns, carbuncles, impetigo, infections of the nail bed, insect bites, ringworm, and vaginal infections. Many products based on tea tree oil exist in the marketplace, including toothpastes, shampoos and conditioners, hand and body lotions, creams, soaps, gels, liniments, and nail polish removers. One study, however, concluded that tea tree oil should not be used on burn wounds. [Burns, 1997;23(4): pp.349-351]

The antimicrobial activity of Manuka honey is discussed in the treatment “Propolis / Bee Products”

Manuka oil has shown some effectiveness in laboratory tests against 39 separate microorganisms, in particular, streptococci and staphylococcal bacteria and fungi that affect the skin.

Gram Positive Bacteria

Staphylococcus aureas

Staphylococcus aureas methacillin resistant

Staphylococcus epidermidis

Streptococcus faecalis

Streptococcus agalactiae

Micrococcus luteus

Sarcina lutea

Bacillus subtilis

Listeria monocytogenes

Gram Negative Bacteria

Escherichia coli

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Klebsiella pneumoniae

Proteus vulgaris

Vibrio furnissii

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pseudomonas fluorscens

Fungi

Trichophyton mentagrophytes

Trichophyton rubrum

Microsporum canis

Aspergillus niger
Candida albicans

Instructions and dosage for Manuka use.

Internally: Adult dose 1-3 drops per day by mouth or inhalation.

Externally: 2-4 drops in the bath or placed directly on affected area.

Mild Sunburn: Apply cold water to remove heat and gently rub Manuka cream into affected areas to help relieve stinging and later itching.

Fungal infections, athletes foot & nail bed infections: Apply a few drops of pure manuka oil with a cotton ball, twice daily. Continue to apply for 5 days after visible signs of infection have gone – which can be a long time, as the nail grows out.

Itching scalp and dandruff: Add 10 drops of pure manuka oil to a normal amount of shampoo and massage into wet hair and scalp. Leave for five minutes before rinsing.

Cuts, scratches and abrasions: Apply pure manuka oil.

Oily skin and pimples: Wash daily with Manuka soap. Apply pure manuka oil as a spot treatment for problem areas.

Skin irritation, chafing and rashes: Wash regularly with Manuka soap and apply Manuka cream twice daily as required.

Foot and body odour: Wash daily with Manuka soap. For foot odour, rub mild Manuka oil or Manuka cream into feet 3 times per week. Also protects against fungal infection.

Insect bites and stings: Apply mild Manuka oil or Manuka cream to help relieve itching and inflammation and prevent infection.

 


Tea Tree oils (Melaleuca / Leptospermum - Manuka) can help with the following

Infections  

Athletes Foot

Tea tree oil has been successfully applied to a number of fungal infections and is particularly good for relieving the symptoms of athlete’s foot. Tea tree oil will eradicate or improve the symptoms of athlete’s foot with continuous daily use.

Apply 2-3 drops of 100% tea tree oil to the infection sites twice daily.

Dr. Klinghardt, MD found that a mixture of 1/3 DMSO, 1/3 tree oil and 1/3 tincture of cilantro was effective in eradicating athletes foot. Adding DMSO to tea tree oil provides greater skin and nail penetration of the tea tree oil.



 

Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Tea tree oil, taken internally, is reported to be useful in killing H. Pylori when taken at 15 drops of 100% strength twice daily. It may need to be taken in juice in order to mask it’s strong flavor and with a pinched nose to mask it’s odor.



 


Skin-Hair-Nails  

Adult Acne

124 patients with mild to moderate acne in a single-blind randomized trial were given either a 5% gel of tea-tree oil or 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. Both treatments resulted in significant improvement of noninflamed and inflamed lesions after three months, with tea tree oil causing more severe facial redness and benzoyl peroxide being more effective in noninflamed lesions. There were fewer unwanted side-effects in the tea tree oil group – 44% versus 79%. It was concluded that tea tree oil may be a valuable alternative to some traditional treatments of acne. [Lancet, December 8, 1990; p.1438, Medical Journal of Australia, 1990;153: pp.455-458]

We believe that this 5% solution is probably not strong enough for moderate to severe acne. Stronger solutions (up to 15%) should provide even better results.



 

Ringworm

Apply tea tree oil full strength to the affected area twice daily for a week.



 

Scabies / Mites

Treat affected areas with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is completely safe to use on the skin. Use the oil undiluted, twice a day.



 

Adolescent Acne

124 patients with mild to moderate acne in a single-blind randomized trial were given either a 5% gel of tea-tree oil or 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. Both treatments resulted in significant improvement of noninflamed and inflamed lesions after three months, with tea tree oil causing more severe facial redness and benzoyl peroxide being more effective in noninflamed lesions. There were fewer unwanted side-effects in the tea tree oil group – 44% versus 79%. It was concluded that tea tree oil may be a valuable alternative to some traditional treatments of acne. [Lancet, December 8, 1990; p.1438, Medical Journal of Australia, 1990;153: pp.455-458]

We believe that this 5% solution is probably not strong enough for moderate to severe acne. Stronger solutions (up to 15%) should provide even better results.



 

Intertrigo

Twenty three cases were treated by direct application of pure tea tree oil twice daily for a variety of conditions including nail infections and intertrigo. Results were generally positive. [Prof. Paul Belaiche, Faculty of Medicine of Bobigny, 1985]



Uro-Genital  

Vaginitis/Vaginal Infection

Daily vaginal douches with a 0.4% solution of tea tree oil in one quart of water was found to be an effective treatment for trichomonas when continued for several days in a row. This percentage can be approximated by adding 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water. You can also soak a tampon with diluted tea tree oil and keep it in the vagina overnight.



Key

May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended

Glossary

Antimicrobial

Tending to destroy microbes, hinder their multiplication or growth.

Dermatitis

A general term used to refer to eruptions or rashes on the skin.

Naturopathy

Medical practice using herbs and other various methods to produce a healthy body state by stimulating innate defenses without the use of drugs.

Acne

A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).

Bacteria

Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Gram

(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Candidiasis

Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.

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