Salubrious Ingredient: Tea Tree Oil

It probably comes as no surprise that I am a big fan of tea tree oil. I use it in many of my homemade bath products, including deodorant, face toner and makeup setting spray, because it has so many beneficial properties. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the wonders of tea tree oil, read on for some basic information on what it is, where it comes from, and how to use it properly.

Salubrious Ingredient: Tea Tree Oil

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil is extracted from the twigs and leaves of the Tea Tree, a tree native to Australia.

What are the beneficial properties of tea tree oil?

There are almost too many to name. Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties, among other great things. It has properties that helps keep annoying insects away, such as mosquitoes, fleas and lice.

How can tea tree oil used on the human body?

Due to its many beneficial properties, tea tree oil can be applied to wounds to prevent infection and promote healing. This includes open injuries or even much smaller wounds and blemishes, such as acne. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties also make tea tree oil and excellent natural remedy for infections on the body. In fact, it is commonly recommended as a natural treatment for nail and foot fungus infections, and it is just as effective, if not more so, than prescribed topical medication. As mentioned before, tea tree oil when spritzed on the body can help prevent insects, such as mosquitoes, from attacking you. It also provides relief when you do get bitten.

What are other uses of tea tree oil?

For all the reasons listed above, tea tree oil solutions can be used as a disinfectant to help keep environments clean and sterile. Simply wipe down surfaces with diluted tea tree oil or spray it onto fabrics and carpets. Some people also prefer using tea tree oil with along with a base oil as a massage oil in order to ease aches and pains.

What are the dangers of tea tree oil?

Just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's always safe. Tea tree oil is quite strong, which can make it irritating to those who have sensitive skin. This is why it's important to always properly dilute the oil with another carrier oil or solution before using it directly on the body, and to test it on a small patch of skin before widespread use. This is true for almost any essential oil.

Can I use tea tree oil on my pets?

Absolutely not. And I can't stress this enough. In fact, you should never use any kind of essential oil on an animal without first doing thorough research on its effects. Animals do not react to essential oils the same way humans do, and tea tree oil can be very toxic to them, even if only absorbed through the skin.

There have been documented cases of dogs and cats experiencing poisoning from their skin being exposed to even just a few drops of tea tree oil and succumbing to seizures and other side effects. Some animal bath products tout having tea tree oil in the product, but this only means one of several thing: 1. The company has diluted the tea tree oil to an incredibly minuscule amount; 2. They are lying and there isn't actually any tea tree oil in the solution; or 3. They have actually included a significant amount of tea tree oil, in which case it is not safe for your pet to use.

In short, never use something you're not sure about on your pet. If there is even a hint of doubt as to whether what you plan to use is safe or your pet, consult a veterinarian. Then consult another. It never hurts to have more than one opinion.

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