Reprinted from Nature's Field
Uses for Australian Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil is an essential oil obtained by steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. Historically, the leaves were used as a substitute for tea, which is how tea tree oil got its name. The part used medicinally is the oil from the leaves.

About Tea Tre Oil

Why Do People Use Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree has a long history of traditional use. Australian aboriginals used tea tree leaves for healing skin cuts, burns, and infections by crushing the leaves and applying them to the affected area. Tea tree oil contains constituents called terpenoids, which have been found to have antiseptic and antifungal activity. The compound terpinen-4-ol is the most abundant and is thought to be responsible for most of tea tree oil's anti microbial activity.

The following lists some suggested therapeutic uses for tea-tree oil. This information is for educational purposes only. In case of serious or persistent problems, consult a physician.

General Use

Externally: Tea-tree oil may be applied directly to the skin to stimulate regeneration of injuries and fight bacterial and fungal infection. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to dilute it with a little olive oiL or Nature's Sunshine Massage Oil.


To fight infections (bacterial or fungal) dilute one drop of tea-tree oil in an eight-ounce glass of water, juice or herb tea. Drink this mixture once per day for one week. If need be, the next week use two drops of tea-tree oil in the liquid. Continue to take two drops of the oil in eight ounces of liquid until symptoms disappear.

Athlete's Foot
A randomized controlled trial examined the use of 25% tea tree oil solution, 50% tea tree oil solution, or placebo in 158 people with athlete's foot. After twice daily applications for 4 weeks, the two tea tree oil solutions were found to be significantly more effective than placebo. In the 50% tea tree oil group, 64% were cured, compared to 31% in the placebo group. Four people using the tea tree oil withdrew from the study because they developed dermatitis (which improved after discontinuing tea tree oil use). Otherwise, there were no significant side effects. Fungal Infection of the

A randomized, controlled trial published in the Journal of Family Practice looked at the twice-daily application of 100% tea tree oil or 1% clostridia solution (a topical anti fungal medication) in 177 people with toenail fungal infection. After 6 months, the tea tree oil was found to be as effective as the topical anti fungal, based on clinical assessment and toenail cultures.
Another randomized, controlled trial examined the effectiveness and safety of a cream containing 5% tea tree oil and 2% butenafine hydrochloride in 60 people with toenail fungal infection. After 16 weeks, 80% of people using the cream had significant improvement compared to none in the placebo group.
Side effects included mild inflammation.
A third double-blind study looked at 100% tea tree oil compared with a topical anti fungal, clotrimazole, in 112 people with fungal infections of the toenails. The tea tree oil was as effective as the anti fungal.


A single-blind randomized trial by the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia compared the effectiveness and tolerance of 5% tea tree oil gel with 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion in 124 people with mild to moderate acne. People in both groups had a significant reduction in inflamed and non-inflamed acne lesions (open and closed comedones) over the three month period, although tea tree oil was less effective than benzoyl peroxide.
Although the tea tree oil took longer to work initially, there were fewer side effects with tea tree oil. In the benzoyl peroxide group, 79 percent of people had side effects including itching, stinging, burning, and dryness. Researchers noted that there were far less side effects in the tea tree oil group.

A single-blind study examined the use of 5% tea tree oil shampoo or placebo in 126 people with mild to moderate dandruff. After 4 weeks, the tea tree oil shampoo significantly reduced symptoms of dandruff.

Specific Uses

Many antiseptics are harsh on delicate tissues or are hampered by the presence of pus and other organic matter. Tea-tree oil is very effective in the presence of pus and it does not harm healthy tissue. Instead, it promotes the growth and repair of healthy tissue, which lessens the chance of scarring.
The oil has been proven effective in dilutions up to 1 part in 200 for streptococcus, staphylococcus, typhosis, diphtheria, pneumococcus, meningosus, anthesis, and gonococcus. In addition, the oil has been proven effective against gonococcus at a dilution of 1:12,800.
Diluted 250:1 in a water base, tea-tree oil was effective against pseudomonas auruginosa, candida albicans, staphylococcus aureus, and aspergillus niger. Apply full strength to the infected area and/or take internally well-diluted in water.

Even as little as 3 drops in a full bath for an adult has been shown to have the anti-infectious action.

Wash the area surrounding the boil thoroughly, then apply full strength with a cotton swab two to four times each day for four days. A gauze pad saturated with the oil may also be applied directly to the boil for up to twelve hours.

Being a non-greasy, volatile oil, tea-tree oil is excellent for burns. Any of the oil which has not been absorbed within ten minutes will evaporate, allowing the skin to breathe. Speedy treatment is essential. The burn should be held under cold running water or packed in ice for one minute. Then alternate applications of tea-tree oil and cold water for ten more minutes. The oil may be poured from the bottle directly over the burn. This oil may be applied liberally twice daily for three to four days, if necessary.

Candida Albicans
Dilute one drop of tea-tree oil in an eight-ounce glass of water, juice or herb tea. Drink this mixture once per day for one week. The next week use two drops of tea-tree oil in the liquid. Each week thereafter increase the amount by one drop until you reach a maximum of five drops of tea-tree oil per day. Continue to take five drops of the oil in eight ounces of liquid for two months.
This should be used in conjunction with dietary changes, acidophilus supplements, pau d'arco and other aids in overcoming candida.
For children, use one drop in a quart of liquid.

Cankers (mouth ulcers)
Apply the oil full-strength directly to the canker several times until sore heals. One or two applications are reported to do the trick for most people.

Cold sores
Apply the oil full-strength daily for a week.

Clean the wound and apply tea-tree oil directly to the cut two to three times the first day. You may continue to apply the oil twice daily for up to seven days thereafter.

Rub two or three drops of the oil on the outer ear, or dilute three drops of the oil in one teaspoon of olive oil and put a few drops of the mixture in the ear twice daily.

Insect bites and stings
As soon as possible, apply the oil full-strength directly to the bite with your finger or a cotton ball.

Laundry disinfectant
Add one teaspoon per load to disinfect laundry, such as diapers, or to prevent transmission of fungal infections.

Mix five drops of tea-tree oil in a teaspoon of NSP's Herbal shampoo and wash the hair.
Repeat this treatment twice daily until the lice are gone.

Apply full-strength with a cotton swab two to four times each day for four days.

Sinus and bronchial congestion
Rub a few drops of the oil on the nose and sinuses and/or rub the oil on the chest. The vapors may be inhaled by adding five drops of tea-tree oil to a bowl of steaming hot water or to a vaporizer.

Skin problems
Use one teaspoon in a tub of bath water for a very invigorating bath. It is reported to help soothe and disinfect the skin in cases of psoriasis, eczema, and so forth.

First, soak the afflicted area in hot water to soften the skin. Then apply tea-tree oil full-strength. Remove the splinter with a sterilized needle. Clean the cut, dry the area, and reapply the oil. For deep slivers, black ointment, pine tar, or lily of the valley herb applied to the area and covered with a dressing will help to draw the sliver to the surface.

Dilute one part tea-tree oil with ten parts of olive oil or coconut oil and spread freely over the affected areas. This is reported to be soothing and pain-relieving and to reduce blistering and peeling. People have also applied tea-tree oil full-strength to sunburn.

Thrush in infant's mouth
Dilute a few drops of the oil in the child's saliva to reduce the strong taste and paint onto the afflicted areas with a swab. This can be repeated twice per day for two days.
Discontinue if there is no improvement.

Ticks and leeches
Apply tea-tree oil to the live tick or leech and surrounding skin. Leave for 20 minutes. The tick may fall off. If not, remove it carefully, making certain no part of the tick is left under the skin. Continue applying the oil to the bite three times per day for up to seven days.

Vaginal yeast infections (Monilia)
Use one teaspoon ( 1 teaspoon = 0.1666 of an ounce ) of the oil in a 500 ml. (17 ounces) douche daily. You can also soak a tampon in the oil and insert. It may also be taken internally. See the directions for Candida Albicans above.

For most people, the oil can be used directly on the skin. However, people with sensitive skins should use Tea-tree oil cautiously at first. Use a diluted form.