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Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

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Dear Dr. Levister: My grandmother swears by tea tree oil. Are there any health benefits to using it? P.K.

Dear P.K.: The health benefits of Tea Tree Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties like anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, anti-septic, antiviral, balsamic, cicatrisant, expectorant, funicide, insecticide, stimulant and sudorific.

Grown in the islands of the South Pacific and Australia, tea tree is a green shrub with needle- like leaves, soft, thick, white bark, and white flowers that bloom in the summer. Tea tree shrubs grow very quickly and can reach heights of 7 to 8 feet when mature. Classified as melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil is mainly cultivated in New South Wales, Australia.

Tea tree leaves are steamed to produce a light yellow oil, which is used mainly in medicine. Tea tree oil is also used in industrial lubricants and cosmetic products.

Tea tree oil is affective against bacteria, fungi and viruses, including those resistant to some antibiotics. Tea tree oil is used extensively as an antimicrobial, antiseptic and disinfectant. Tea tree oil is frequently used to treat and eliminate toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. It has shown to be effective in treating vaginal infections and herpes infections.

Tea tree oil is used to relieve mild burns, including sunburn. It can help reduce the itching and burning of insect bites and hemorrhoids. Tea tree oil is claimed to repel insects and is oftentimes used in pet shampoos to kill ticks and fleas. Tea tree oil has also been used to combat fungal disease affecting animals, fish and plants.

Tea tree oil has pain-numbing properties and can be used topically for sprains, arthritis, bursitis, gout and carpal tunnel syndrome. It is oftentimes used in massage therapy to alleviate the discomfort of sore muscles or joint injuries.

Tea tree oil has proven effective in the protection against periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Tea tree oil has been used to kill bacteria in the mouth before dental surgery and to lessen mouth irritation caused by dental procedures. In patients who suffer from oral candidiasis, a fungal infection of the mouth and throat, tea tree oil mouth rinse may prove effective in reducing symptoms.

The use of tea tree oil has been reported in the treatment of candida, chicken pox, cold sores, colds, corns, cuts, flu, insect bites, itching, migraine headaches, ringworm, sinusitis, sores, warts, and whooping cough.

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