Properties of tea tree essential oil

Benefits of tea tree essential oil

Characteristics of  tea tree

Common English name: Tea tree

Common name in other languages:

  • Spanish/Español: Árbol de té, árbol de té de hoja estrecha
  • French/Français: Arbre à thé
  • Catalan/Català: Arbre de te
  • Basque/Euskara: Te zuhaitza
  • Galego/Galician: Árbore do té
  • Portuguese/Português:
  • Italian/Italiano: Albero del té
  • Romanian/Româna: Arbore de ceai
  • Magyar/Hungarian: Ausztrál teafa
  • Dutch/Nederlands: Theeboomolie
  • German/Deutsch: Australische Teebaum
  • Polish/Polski: Melaleuka skrętolistna
  • Danish/Dansk: Australsk te-træ
  • Icelandic /Íslenska: teviður
  • Norwegian/Norsk bokmål:
  • Finnish/Suomi: Teepuu
  • Swedish/Svenska: Teoljebuske, Teträd
  • Russian/Русский: Чайное дерево
  • Turkish / Türkçe: Çay Ağacı

Scientific name: Malaleuca alternifolia

Genus name “Malaleuca” comes from greek ” Melas” (= black) and “Leukos” (=White) refereeing to the black colour of the trunk and the white colour of the branches of some species of this genus.

Species name “alternifolia” makes reference to the alternate leaves of this species

Description of tea tree

Tea tree is a bush or small  tree from Mirtaceae family till 8 meters tall. Gray-colored trunk with bark that breaks into strips, revealing a darker inside.

Alternate, linear leaves,  from 1  to 3,5 cm long and 1 mm wide. Glandular because of their oil content.

Very numerous white or cream  flowers arranged in spikes, flowering from spring to summer.  The fruit is a capsule.

Habitat:Where does tea tree grow?

It grows in the humid and  swampy soils of Eastern  Australia, with a warm  subtropical climate. It can resist winds, salt and water stagnation very well. It also tolerates light frost when growing in full sun

In spite of being adapted to this extreme conditions, when cultivated,  it prefers a well drained soil.

Traditional properties of tea tree

It is one of the plants with the highest antiseptic potential ever discovered. Traditionally, its leaves have been  used by Australian natives to make infusions to treat sore throat. They are also crashed and applied on the skin as a poultice to cure or disinfect wounds.

Nowadays, this tree has become very popular because of the essential oil extracted from it.

What is tea tree essential oil like?

The essential oil or tea tree is elaborated from the leaves and shoots of this tree

This type of oil  is very commercial and there is a wide variety of products on the market that contain it. It can be defined as:

  • Very medicinal
  • Green
  • Camphorated
  • Sharp and strong notes.

Main medicinal uses of tea trea essential oil

Its content in terpinene-4-ol, γ -terpinene, α -terpinene and  1,8-cineol provide it very beneficial properties for the skin, being very useful against bacteria (including Staphyloccoccus aureus) fungi (Candida albicans) and  protozoa (Trichomonas vaginalis, Trypanosoma brucei or  Leishmania major.

According to this effects, it is considered:

In internal use, it has been used by means of inhaling it,  for the following properties:

Due to the toxic effects of its components, it must not be inhaled or taken in internal preparations

Other non-medicinal uses

It is used for making shampoos and soap, presenting antiseptic and deodorant properties.

How to use it?

It must be always used externally. Ingestion of this type of oil is not advised in spite of it is being used

You can use put two drops in a cotton and apply externally on the affected area.

For mouth or throat treatments, dissolve two drops in a glass of water and make gargles or rinsings. Use the same method for vaginal or vulvar infections. Do not swallow the preparation.

In case of dandruff, add some drops to a natural home-made shampoo

Toxicity, side effects and contraindications of tea tree essential oil

  • Used externally on the skin, it generally does not present any problem, provided that it is used by adult people.
  • Do not prolong its use longer than some applications
  • Do not apply to children or babies.
  • Because of its estrogenic properties,  it can cause breast or uterine tumors in women with a history of these pathologies
  • Prepubertal boys may experience breast augmentation when using soaps or shampoos that contain this principle
  • It must never be used by people who have allergy to this plant or other members of the same family ( Mirtaceae)

punto rojo More information on essential oils

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

10 March, 2024

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical-online" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.