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Herbs for Health - Tea Tree

This week’s herb for health is inspired by our dreary winter weather. After turning up to work with my boots soaked through every day this week, my feet were in sore need of some tlc – so of course I turned to tea tree.

Tea tree oil, also called melaleuca oil, is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) tree. It is well known both for its strong, camphor-like scent and its antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Previously used in dentistry and surgery to clean wounds, tea tree oil is still recommended as an antiseptic for use on fresh piercings as well as a treatment for fungal infections such as athletes foot. A study published in Tropical Medicine & International Health found that 80% of patients suffering from toenail onychomycosis (a fungal nail infection) were cured through the use of tea tree cream. The antibacterial properties of tea tree also make it suitable for use as an adjunctive treatment for wounds. One of the most common modern uses for tea tree oil is as a cure for acne. It is also suggested that tea tree oil has potential for treating dandruff, lice and gingivitis. In aromatherapy,

In aromatherapy, tea tree oil is used to alleviate symptoms of cold and flu, such as congestion and blocked nose. This is most likely due to the camphor-like smell and is used in steam inhalation to clear the nasal passages. Tea tree oil is also fantastic for reducing the itching of insect bites, sores and spots, as well as a natural treatment for warts.

Tea tree is also a natural insect repellent, can be used as a mould treatment when combined with baking soda and as a laundry freshener, amongst other surprising uses.

*This article is intended for interest only – use of herbs given are traditional and do not reflect the herbs efficacy. It is not intended, nor should be taken as medical advice. If you have a medical condition please consult a qualified health professional prior to using any herbal preparation. Although the facts have been checked carefully, we cannot guarantee the reliability of information provided. Essential oils should not be used on children or vulnerable adults (elderly, breast feeding or ill) or during pregnancy. Some essential oils and herbs can be toxic, whether taken internally or used on the skin – your health care professional will advise.

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