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Tea Tree Oil, Anyone?

New Roots Herbal presents tea tree oil, steam-distilled from the leaves and new-growth branches of Melaleuca alternifolia. Native to Australia, its steam-distilled essential oil has a history of use among its indigenous people dating back centuries. Employed primarily for its antibacterial properties, the complex mosaic of volatile compounds also exhibit antiviral and antifungal activity. Pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus are among the microorganisms it’s effective against, with promising results for the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans as well.

The mechanism of action is similar for both bacteria and yeast: Volatile components within tea tree essential oil compromise the structure and permeability of the cell membrane selectively, affecting only the undesirable or pathogenic microorganisms. This process also denatures proteins within the cells, leading to their death, and—more importantly—their ability to multiply and spread throughout the body.

The therapeutic use of tea tree essential oil is achieved, inter alia, by diffusion or topical use. During diffusion, it would be used to clean the ambient air by depositing undiluted oil in an electric oil diffuser designed for this purpose. Ten minutes per hour should be enough; you can repeat the diffusion if necessary.

During topical use, it would be used in a good diluted vegetable oil to disinfect wounds and favour their healing.

Because tea tree essential oil has immunomodulatory properties, it can be used once again, diluted in vegetable oil, on eczema or psoriasis; thanks to its antiviral actions, the same dilution can be used on breakouts of oral or genital herpes.

Tea Tree Oil, Nail Infections, Mosquitoes?

When it comes to tea tree oil (TTO) for fungal toenail infections (onychomycosis) and mosquito bites, a little goes a long way. However, application must be done several times a day for fungal infections as they are tenacious.

For toenails, following a relaxing bath or soaking in saltwater, simply massage a drop per toenail in and around the affected area. Continue this routine for a few weeks until you are confident in wearing sandals again.

Mosquitoes will be abundant this summer, following record rainfalls this spring. For annoying mosquito bites, a drop or two of TTO on a cotton swab rubbed onto the site of bites can alleviate swelling and itching.