The properties of the tea tree shrub have been widely used for a long time by native Australians for the treatment of colds. In fact, at the very beginning of the use of the tea tree, the people crushed the leaves to make herbal teas against the fever, the cold and to reduce the congestions.
Since the end of the 20th century, cultivation and applications have expanded considerably and scientific studies have led to the integration of trea tree essential oils in many formulations concerning cosmetic applications, medical care and more simply for disinfection. There are many publications in these areas and we can name a few.
Applied in the pure form directly with a cotton bud:
• Acne & pimples
• Athlete’s foot & tinea
• Bites & stings
• Boils & carbuncles
• Burns (Minor after flush with cold water or ice pack)
• Cold sores
• Cuts, abrasions, splinters (minor)
• Nail Infections, cracking, hangnails and brittleness
• Nasal ulcers
• Ticks & Leeches
1. Antibacterial Properties
Proof of the use of TTO was obtained against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), also called staphylococcus aureus.
2. Antifungal properties
Pathogens responsible for common superficial infections such as ringworm and vaginal thrush. TTO is effective against Candida albicans which is frequently responsible for vaginal thrush. TTO in topical use can be involved in the treatment of fungal infections, including oral or vaginal candidiasis (mainly caused by C. albicans), ringworm (caused by dermatophytes), dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis (caused by Malassezia yeasts).
3. Antiviral properties
The tea tree oil has an important antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus (tested in vitro). Evidence from this study suggested that TTO may be effective in treating cold sores.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
The ability of tea tree oil to reduce two types of inflammation of human skin has been demonstrated in studies conducted by researchers at Flinders University in South Australia.
5. Skin Relief following Irradiation Treatments
A study conducted at the Sydney Hospital showed that tea tree oil hydrogel dressings provide relief to symptoms related to cutaneous radiation therapy. Despite its limited size, the study has consistently shown that the dressing of tea oil was positively impacted on the integrity and comfort of the skin of radiotherapy patients and thus their quality of life. The study also found evidence suggesting that preventive use of this dressing could further reduce reactions to radiotherapy.
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of tea tree oil have led to a study on its effectiveness in treating acne. TTO gel and the benzoyl peroxide lotion had a significant effect in improving the acne of the subjects by reducing the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions. The use of TTO has fewer side effects (such as dry skin, itching, stings, burns and redness), patients' results.
7. Oral care
A study conducted by the Tea Tree Oil Research Group at UWA examined the susceptibility of a range of oral bacteria to TTO. Two bacterial species - Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus rhamnosus - which are associated with dental caries were rapidly killed by TTO.
8. Common disinfection
The efficacy of TTO formulations products against four bacterial species was compared with that of iodine povidone, which is commonly used for hand washing in hospitals. The study, showed that some formulations of TTO play a role in reducing hospital-acquired infections, such as those caused by Staphylococcus aureus or "Golden Staphylococcus". It has been demonstrated that hospital staff who have been washing with TTO show greater compliance with hand disinfection procedures.
9. Can bacteria develop resistance to tea tree oil?
Since the effectiveness of TTO on bacteria has been well established, research has focused on whether bacteria that can become resistant to antibiotics can also become resistant to TTO.
Dr. Christine Carson and his colleagues at the Tea Tree Oil Research Group at Western University Australia examined the susceptibility of bacterial strains to TTO while examining whether the same bacteria are also likely to develop resistance to TTO.
Dr. Carson investigated the TTO response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that generally infects the respiratory tract, urinary tract, burns, wounds and has been found to be resistant to many commonly used antibiotics, antiseptics and disinfectants .
It also evaluated the activity of TTO components, such as terpinen-4-ol, for potential bacterial resistance.
Many bacteria have been shown to be susceptible to TTO at concentrations ranging from 0.06 - 0.5%, whereas Pseudomonas aeruginosa has always shown low TTO sensitivity, concentrations of 2-8% TTO 'inhibit.
Dr. Carson's study found that P. aeruginosa is less susceptible because its outer membrane is less permeable to TTO. Repetitive trials to make P. aeruginosa more resistant to TTO have had limited success. Other work by colleague Dr. Katherine Hammer on the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus showed similar results.
10. Well know uses
Face acne, juvenile acne
Toothpaste, mouth ulcers, tooth decay, oral disinfection, flu, abscess, gingivitis, herpes.
Angina, bronchitis, flu, ear infections, rhino pharyngitis, colds, sinusitis, cough.
BODY AND HAIR
Topical disinfection, Inflammation (insect bites, allergies), dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, lice, ringworm, mange, mites, warts and genital warts, thrush, infection related to yeast, intestinal parasites.
HANDS AND FEET
Topical disinfection, athletes’ foot, nails mycosis, warts, inflammations.
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Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA)
Essential Oil Producers Association of Australia (EOPAA)
New Rural Industries Association (NRIA)
Applied in a diluted or formulated form with other active ingredients :
• Bad Breath
• Body massage (Tired & Tense
• Coughs, colds & bronchial congestion
• Cuts & abrasions
• Face cleanser
• Laryngitis & sore throat
• Lips (Dry, chapped, cracked, sore, sunburn & windburn)
• Lice & nits
• Muscular aches & pains/sprains
• Nose/sinus blockage
• Respiratory infections
• Staphylococcus aureus
• Virginial: thrush, candida, yeast infections
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute
European Chemical Agency (ECHA)