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Thursday, 01 December 2011 17:21

Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternafolia)

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The Australian Aboriginal peoples have long recognized tea tree as multi-faceted healing oil, even though the rest of the world thought it was just a weed. Long used by tribesmen to cure infected wounds, reduce poisons in the system (especially those given by spider bites) tea tree was only recognized by Western cultures in the early 1900s.
Melaleuca alternafolia (Tea Tree) is a small tree similar to cypress. It grows to about 20 feet and is now cultivated in plantations though its original home was in marshy areas.

Tea trees have great vitality and can continue to flourish even when chopped down and is ready for cutting again in two years. The best oils are produced in Australia. The oil is obtained by steam distillation.
Tea tree is most importantly used to help the immune system fighting off infection. It activates the white corpuscles to aid in the defense against invading bacteria and helps to shorten the duration of an illness. It has properties that are antibiotic (combats infection) antiseptic (helping to control infection), a bactericide (kills bacteria), and fungicide (kills fungus). As aromatherapy is a therapy that affects body and mind, we find that tea tree lends a note of revitalization especially after a shock.
These amazing properties make tea tree oil especially useful for acne, athletes' foot, cold sores, ringworm, would healing insect bites and stings, colds and flu and thrush (yeast infections).
Tea tree blends with several essential oils very well. Lemon adds an uplifting scent and will bolster its antiseptic properties. These two oils together make a great pre-op massage product. Just blend 10 drops total (for example six of tea tree and four of lemon) per ounce of massage oil. Putting one drop of each essential oil lemon and tea tree per ounce of water makes a great antiseptic room spray. This spray is perfect for hospital or sick rooms to disinfect. Just shake the bottle each time before use and spray, allow sitting on the surface for a few seconds before wiping the surface with a clean towel; giving a room a lovely uplifting scent. Cypress lends a woody feel to tea tree and is good to use for those with athletes foot. Place six drops total cypress and tea tree combined into a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and 70 percent alcohol. Shake before each use and spray on feet. Allow the mist to dry, and experience relief from this troubling problem. This spray can also be used in sneakers and other shoes as a gentle disinfectant.
Tea tree's reputation as a remedy for acne is well known and very, very popular. Tea tree will help to kill bacteria, act as an anti-inflammatory and cuts through oil on the most severe case of acne. As a specialist in aromatic blending, my custom products can be layered with several essential oils to create a custom blend for an individual client's condition but the following are a few of my favorite two part blends for acne.

In a dark glass bottle blend equal drops of pure essential oil of tea tree and…

  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) – for hormonal type acne;
  • Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) – for redness
    and inflammation;
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradise) – for blackheads to enhance desquamation of surface cells;
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) – for over active oil glands.

Use your blends in the following ways:

  • Place one drop per ounce of distilled water into a spray bottle. Shake before each use and use as a gentle toner. Close eyes before spraying the face.
  • Place two drops in a clay mask, stir well and use as a finishing mask during facial therapy.
  • Use two to four drops per ounce of a neutral gel cleanser.
  • Use four drops per ounce in massage oil such as jojoba for a light facial massage.

Remember – pure essential oils are the very concentrated essence of plants. Do not use them on the skin neat (plain) as they can cause irritation especially when the skin is already inflamed. It is best to always use a medium of dispersion (water, lotion, oil, masks, et cetera) to dilute the essential oil which enhances its effectiveness. Do not place essential oil on or in the eyes and do not ingest. Enjoy exploring tea tree and other essential oils to enhance your skin care practice and positive results in your facial therapy.

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