All the major brands selling natural and wellness products, have introduce the products containing tea tree oil. The customer preference for natural products have made it an important ingredient in cosmetic and medicinal products requiring antiseptic, anti fungal and anti inflammatory products.
So what exactly is tea tree oil? It is obtained from steam distillation of melaleuca alternifolia tree found in New South Wales, Australia. It was used by Australian Bundjalung aborigines to treat skin conditions by crushing the leaves and using pulp over affected area.
British Explorers used the leaves for making tea from where it got its name. It was only in 1920 when Dr. Arthur Penfold, researched its antiseptic properties and it came in lime light. The use of it as an antiseptic never really grew till the Second World War; however with advent of synthetic antiseptic it lost its important. Only in 1980’s and 1990’s with consumers preferring natural product it has bounce back.
Uses of Tea Tree Oil:
Antibacterial : Recent studies in London and West Australia have found that it can be used to counter hospital super bug , Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) , this bug infect people having depressed immune system or post- operative infection. This infection to most of conventional antibiotics other than Vancomycin. The tea tree oil is a powerful alternative.
Antiseptic: It is an excellent antiseptic can be used for cuts, acne, insect bites, infected wound, lices, diaper rash, sunburn etc.
Anti inflammatory : It can be used for hemorrhoids, arthritis, sprain and gout.
Analgesic : It can be used for relief from pain.
Anti Fungal : It also has Anti Fungal function which can take care of athlete’s foot , onychomycosis (Infection of the nails), albicans, jock itch, thrush, ringworm and eczema.
Household: It can be used as a disinfectant or deodorizer for washing diapers, treat household plants.
Personal care: Toothpaste and mouth wash with tea tree oil are available. Adding few drops to regular toothpaste or mouth wash is good for teeth and gum. However, it is recommended to avoid swallowing it.
As tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and anti fungal, its soap that heals bruises, cuts and other skin condition like dermatitis, acne and psoriasis. Soap, shampoo containing it is increasing being used for healthy living. One can add 2 teaspoon to any liquid soap gentle olive oil based to make it antiseptic. Liquid soaps, body wash and wipes are also available containing tea tree oil.
The tea tree soaps available in stores contain tea tree oil, glycerin, sorbitol with a vegetable soap base. These soaps have natural purifying, antibacterial properties help soothe blemished skin and natural deodorant. The soap has deep cleanses action on skin; it refreshes and stimulate skin and remove dead skin cells. The tea tree oil is suitable for all kind of skin.
To make tree tea oil soap at home, you need the following ingredients:
2 cup glycerin soap base
2 Table spoon Tea Tree oil
Melt glycerin base in a double boiler, blend with the oil and pour in a mold. Glycerin is gentle to the skin and is also a moisturizer. It also does not need lye and fat. Only precaution is to keep heat as low as possible to avoid it getting beaded or mushy appearance. After it is done pack in plastic container to keep glycerin from attracting moisture.
Another recipe to make 2 lb of Tea tree oil and lavender oil soap requires:
24 oz Olive oil
8 oz Palm kernel oil (25%)
4.38 oz Lye (6% superfat)
8.8 oz of goat milk **
1 oz lavender essential oil
5 oz tea tree oil
2 TBSP lavender powder
2 TBSP Oat meal powder
** Lavender tea, Oatmeal milk, soy milk may be substituted for goat milk
1.F reeze the goat milk or its substitute in a container.
2. Add Lye very slowly to goat milk and keep stirring.
3. Prevent container from getting too hot.
4. Once mixed cool the mixture and add slowly Palm Kernel oil (It should be melted)
5. Add lavender oil and the oil followed by lavender powder and Oat meal powder.
6.Add Olive oil mix the solution and pour in a mould.
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Photo Credit: Malene Thyssen