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The Many Uses for Tea Tree Oil

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 6/27/2011

Treating acne, nail fungus, and colds are some great uses for tea tree oil. Learn the many benefits of tea tree oil and know how to use it safely.

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    Great Uses for Tea Tree Oil

    Tea Tree Oil - Image courtesy of Itineranttrader Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a tall shrub called Melaleuca alternifolia. It is native to Australia and grows along coastal regions. The Aborigines have known about the benefits of tea tree oil for hundreds of years. They would crush the leaves and breathe in the scents to treat colds and coughs or they would apply the leaves to their skin to fight off infections.

    Tea tree oil can be applied to the skin, inhaled, or added to bath water, creams, shampoos, and more.

    Unlike most essential oils, tea tree oil does not have to be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. However, if applied to a large area or if you have sensitive skin, it is best to dilute it. Although it is not common, tea tree oil can cause an allergic reaction. When using it for the first time, apply only a small amount and wait about a hour to see if a reaction occurs.

    The benefits of tea tree oil are numerous. It is effective against bacteria (including those resistant to antibiotics), fungi, and viruses, including Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, herpes virus, and Candida albicans.


    Add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil to your bath water to treat vaginal itch and skin infections.

    Add 6 drops of tea tree oil, 2 drops of peppermint oil, and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to a basin of warm water. Soak your toes or fingers in this solution for 15-20 minutes once a day to cure nail fungus.

    Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 8 ounces of shampoo to get rid of dandruff.

    Add 2 drops of tea tree oil to a bowl of hot, steaming water, cover your head with a towel to trap in the steam, and inhale for 10 minutes to relieve congestion.

    Add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil to 30ml of a carrier oil (jojoba oil, olive oil, or sweet almond oil) and massage the affected area to relieve rheumatic pain twice a day.

    Add a drop of tea tree oil on your toothbrush before adding toothpaste to kill bacteria and fight plaque.

    Add 3-4 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of warm water and gargle twice a day to treat laryngitis and canker sores.

    Other great uses for tea tree oil include applying to the following:

    • acne
    • cuts and scratches
    • cold sores (as soon as you feel the tingle)
    • warts
    • insect bites
    • boils


    There are many benefits of tea tree oil but there are also some safety concerns:

    • it is toxic if swallowed (if you use tea tree oil with toothpaste or in a mouthwash, do not swallow)
    • pregnant women and women breastfeeding should avoid tea tree oil
    • keep tea tree oil away from children and pets
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