In 2006, the world consumed more than 3.5 billion gallons of oil per day. A lot of that oil has caused environmental damage and conflicts between nations. But there is one type of oil that’s green, sustainable, healthy, and–as far as I know–has never been the rationale behind a major military intervention: tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil, explains the UWA Tea Tree Oil Research Group, is the essential oil steam distilled from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia (unique to Australia and native to Northern New South Wales). Tea tree oil is usually clear to very pale golden in color and it exudes a fresh, camphor-like scent.
Kathi Keville of HowStuffWorks.com says this oil is often called a “medicine cabinet in a bottle” and is “effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses and stimulates the immune system.” Here are 20 ways to use this magical formula for health and for the home.
But first, two important notes, courtesy of Sheila Shaigany:
*Make sure it comes in a dark glass bottle with a dropper. This will prevent light from shining in and reducing the oil’s potency.
*Do NOT ingest it orally.
*Editor’s Note: This article does not replace medical advice.
20 Great Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil
1. Use a dab to treat acne.
2. An anti-fungal for treating Athlete’s Foot, eczema, various yeast infections, etc.
3. An antiseptic to be used on cuts and burns.
4. An anti-viral: it may lessen the symptoms of colds and flu. Try using a few drops in the bath.
5. Add to a vaporizer to loosen chest congestion.
6. Add a small amount to shampoo to destroy head lice.
7. A small amount added to your bath can help with persistent body odor.
8. Treating sinus infection.
9. For dandruff and dry scalp.
10. In the form of aromatherapy, tea tree oil is used to treat colds, persistent coughs, acne, toothaches, and sunburn.
11. To create an all-purpose cleaner, combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
12. Another version would be 14 ounces of water with 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
13. Mix the above solution with kosher salt to scrub bathtub and bathroom tiles.
14. Add a few drops to dishwasher dispenser, then fill with a green dishwashing soap.
15. A few drops added to each load of laundry leave your clothes smelling cleaner.
16. Control mold with a tea tree oil/water spray.
17. Remove mustiness with that same tea tree oil/water spray.
18. To keep germs at bay, spray it on high chairs, car seats, and other high traffic spots.
19. 15 drops in a quart of water can be an effective insect repellent.
20. Be sure to take some with you when hiking and camping to put directly on insect bites or blisters.