Tea Tree (or Melaleuca) essential oil possesses over 92 different compounds and, as such, possesses almost endless ways it can be used for wellness. But what is Tea Tree oil? It comes from the Melaleuca plant which hails from Australia, where it was a daily necessity for the ancient peoples there. The Bundjalung Aboriginal people from the coast of New South Wales would apply the leaves directly to the skin for a cooling effect. Over time, the knowledge of Melaleuca’s numerous benefits spread worldwide, leading up to it's popular use today.
Tea Tree Oil Uses and Benefits
With roughly 250 species, Melaleuca is most typically found in Australia. Melaleuca oil, or Tea Tree oil, is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca shrubs or trees, which have a strong aroma when rubbed. Melaleuca essential oil is produced through the process of steam distillation where steam and pressure are used to release chemical components from the plant—pulling out the essential oil.
Fun Fact: Bungwalbin Creek in Australia is surrounded by Australian tea trees and is held sacred by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As the sticky tea tree oil leaves fell into the creek, they created waters that natives still consider “magical waters” today.
Chemistry of Tea Tree Oil
Main Chemical Components: Terpinen-4-ol, y-terpinene
The chemical makeup of Tea Tree oil proves why the oil is so useful topically for cleansing and aromatically for uplifting purposes. The main chemical constituents of Melaleuca are terpinen-4-ol, gamma-terpinene, and alpha-terpinene. Terpinen-4-ol is a monoterpenoid alcohol, and gives Tea Tree oil its toning or harmonizing aromatic characteristics. Gamma-terpinene and alpha-terpinene are monoterpenes, which are known to be uplifting when diffused.
Melaleuca (tea tree) is one of the most popular essential oils—and for good reason. It has myriad uses for skin care and in supporting various body systems. While Melaleuca has been used for centuries in Australia, little is understood about its biological activity. However, that is changing due to the work of doTERRA scientists. doTERRA scientists recently published a study in the journal Cogent Biology regarding Melaleuca oil in human skin cells.
What makes doTERRA’s research so novel and unique? First, it is one of the very few studies testing the impact of Melaleuca oil on human skin cells. This means the study is relevant to how Melaleuca is most commonly used: topically on human skin. Second, this is believed to be the first study ever to test the impact of Melaleuca on human global gene expression. In other words, this study is one of the first to truly examine the impact of Melaleuca on the ongoing processes occurring within human cells.
Imagine the human cell like a factory with various workers, most of which are proteins, that ensure its proper function. The levels of these proteins can often reflect how the cell is functioning. Genes are the building blocks of cells and are essential for the creation of proteins. To learn how Melaleuca affects the processes and functions of human cells, doTERRA scientists measured the impact of Melaleuca on the levels of cellular proteins and the expression of different genes.
So what does this mean? In short, the study shows that Melaleuca robustly impacts our genes and the proteins that are part of our cellular makeup. The findings suggest that Melaleuca impacts various processes and functions in human cells, including tissue remodeling and metabolism. The potential for future research and models of use is exciting.
Though research is needed before further methods of use can be recommended, led by the staff of scientific experts at doTERRA, more research on the clinical efficacy and safety of Melaleuca will be unfolding. doTERRA is pleased to be at the forefront of essential oil research in discovering more ways to use these gifts of the Earth.
Essential Oil Spotlight
More commonly known as “Tea Tree,” Melaleuca essential oil has over 92 different compounds and limitless applications. The leaves of the Melaleuca tree have been used by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia for centuries. They would apply crushed leaves directly to the skin for a cooling effect.
Melaleuca is best known for its purifying properties. It can be used to cleanse and purify the skin and nails and to support a healthy complexion. Taken internally, Melaleuca promotes healthy immune function.*
Melaleuca is frequently used on occasional skin irritations to soothe the skin and diffusing Melaleuca will help purify and freshen the air.
• For occasional skin irritations, apply 1–2 drops of Melaleuca essential oil onto affected area.
• Add 1–2 drops to water, citrus drinks, or veggie caps to support healthy immune system function.*
• Combine 1–2 drops with your facial cleanser for added cleansing properties, or apply to skin after shaving.
• Apply to fingernails and toenails after showering to purify and keep nails looking healthy
• Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and use on surfaces as a cleansing and purifying agent.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE
Diffusion: Use three to four drops in the diffuser of choice.Internal use: Dilute one drop in 4 fl. oz. of liquid.
Topical use: Apply one to two drops to desired area. Dilute with a carrier oil to minimize any skin sensitivity. See additional precautions below.
Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Let us know about your experiences with this oil in the comments below.