Distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant native to Australia, tea tree oil deliveries more than just its fresh, spicy scent. For many of us, it remains tied into associations of childhood – if you ever had head lice, you'll remember the smell as your parent knelt hung your head over the sink and doused it over your scalp.
The characteristic fragrance you recall is due to its 1.8 cineole content which emits a powerful smell. Many find this scent fresh and pleasant, which is why it is so versatile and can be used in a variety of beauty and cosmetic products, as well as in the home.
But its uses are not purely cosmetic; it is also packed with practical properties, too. Not only is it an insecticide, as we know, but it also boasts antibacterial properties too, making it an ideal household cleaner. It can also be used to ward off household pests such as spiders and rodents, as many will find the smell a deterrent.
You may also be surprised to learn, however, that it also has powerful effects when used as an antiviral immune stimulant.
The natural oil also provides the perfect ingredient to foot creams, cuticle, and massage lotions, providing moisture and protection for your skin. Why not search online for a recipe you can use to create your own natural skin cream? This can be used as a moisturizer, an antiseptic and also to soothe your skin if you suffer from eczema or other conditions.
It is also an incredibly effective anti-dandruff product, because it's often used in shampoos and conditioners. If you have psoriasis of the scalp, you may find that tea tree oil provides an effective treatment. Many hairdressers also use it in salons, combined with Aloe Vera concentrate as an after wax gel. It also smooths and conditions the hair, leaving it in notably better condition.
Tea tree oil can also be combined with lavender essence to produce an effective after-sun treatment. Lavender has also been proven to have pain-relieving properties, so a few drops on a flannel can help relieve a variety of ailments including migraine headaches, muscle aches and skin conditions.
If you suffer from sore limbs post-exercise, you may be pleased to know that, when combined with massage oils such as Plai, it can soothe the pain of aching joints. It can also be added to Calendula to create an effective anti-fungal cream to treat conditions such as athlete's foot and thrush.
If you regularly use balms like aftershave or nappy balms on your children, you may want to consider creating your own natural balm using tea tree oil. Why not search online to find a recipe? Natural cosmetics can be much kinder on our bank balance, while providing us with effective natural cosmetics free from nasty chemicals.
Domestically, tea tree is regularly used in diffusers and burners to keep air smelling fresh and clean. Alternately, a couple of drops in your washing load will help freshen your clothes and keep them smelling nice.
Experts recommend using it neat or in quantities of over 2%, as diluting it too much can less its effects. If used in excess, however, you may find you react if you have sensitive skin – so maybe try just dabbing a small amount on to your arm to see how it fares.
If you're interested in making your own cosmetic or skincare products, you'll need to search online for a reputable supplier. Make sure you check out their ethics and certification so you can ensure you're using an all-natural, cruelty-free supplier for your goods.