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What is Tea Tree Oil: Everything You Need to Know about it

what is tea tree oil

What is tea tree oil? Tea tree oil is pale yellow or nearly colorless essential oil. It has fresh and even sharp camphor-like odor.  It is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Australia. 


As Wikipedia states tea tree oil is certified by international standard ISO 4730 (2004).  It defines the obligatory levels of 15 components needed in tea tree oil.

There are more than 98 compounds in tea tree oil, the main of them are indicated in the table.

Tea tree oil composition

The main component terpinen-4-ol is responsible for the main benefits of tea tree oil as it possesses strong antimicrobial properties.


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Benefits of tea tree oil

The properties of tea tree oil make it an effective natural remedy for fighting with three types of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi and viruses. Moreover, tea tree oil is known to cure certain infections resistant to antibiotics, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The benefits of tea tree oil are numerous. Due to its healing properties tea tree oil is used to treat:

Tea tree oil is often added to shampoos, soaps, creams and other cosmetic products to make them more beneficial. In addition to these tea tree oil uses, it can be applied for cleaning as well due to its antimicrobial properties.


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Is tea tree oil safe to use?

According to Wikipedia, tea tree oil is toxic if swallowed. This can lead to  weakness, confusion, vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, drowsiness, unsteadiness, blood cell abnormalities, hallucinations, severe rashes and even coma.  It should be kept away from children and pets. Remember that all tea tree oil applications are for external use only.

Sometimes tea tree oil is added to mouthwashes and toothpastes for better effect. It is vital not to ingest and swallow these products in case of their using and to spat them out to avoid potential tea tree oil side effects. CoxHealth notes that people often ingest tea tree oil accidentally when they use it to eradicate oral thrush or halitosis and recommends not to use tea tree oil for such purposes.

Some people are allergic to tea tree oil and experience contact dermatitis. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are recommended to stay away from tea tree oil as even a small amount of it may hurt the baby. Only doctors can prescribe tea tree oil during pregnancy.

Where to buy tea tree oil

Pure tea tree oil, organic tea tree oil and products containing tea tree oil are widely available in stores. Stores that sell tea tree oils are:

  • Drug stores
  • Walmart
  • Health stores
  • Groceries
  • Online stores, like amazon.com, vitacost.com

Buying tea tree oil online is convenient as it saves your time and you can always compare prices and the product composition. When you buy tea tree oil search for 100% pure tea tree oil. It is not mixed with other types of oils and is not distilled.