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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tea Tree Oil - Becoming a Believer

Melaleuca alternifolia is highly regarded for its wide range of uses. It supports the immune system* and is beneficial for the skin. Commonly known as Tea Tree Oil. Earth Kosher Certified.
Most elementary school teachers have heard of tea tree oil - it's the one we all know to keep on hand if our schools have lice in the building (which we do every year!).  There are tea tree oil shampoos and conditioners, treatment recipes, and hair spritzes that are reported to help keep lice away and help treat existing cases.  I had no idea, though, that tea tree oil is dramatically different than tea tree hair products, nor did I know how many other uses there are for this cleansing, antiseptic oil.

Before I begin to convince you (as I have been convinced) that tea tree oil is another must have, let me reiterate that I have no medical training or background.  The statements I make in my posts have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, I am merely sharing my experiences, both from reading I've done and what I've tried. With that being said, these are my thoughts on tea tree oil.

File:Melaleuca alternifolia (DITSL).JPGHere's the problem - I HATE the smell of tea tree oil!  I think it smells like mothballs.  But the more I read, the more I believe that it is worth the smell to get the benefits.  Below are some of the ways I've found tea tree useful so far, as well as some of the things I want to try with my tea tree oil next.

I live in the midwest, and at this time of the year, the basement is stale, damp, and musty. At least once every few days, I run the diffuser in the basement with tea tree for a few hours, followed by lemon for a few hours.  This makes the air feel and smell fresher and cleaner.  And studies have been conducted to show that it is actually cleaning the air of molds and fungi.  Now that I know more about the benefits, I will be adding a couple drops of tea tree oil to the homemade cleaner I made with lemon oil to add to its effectiveness.

On a whim, one day, I decided to try something.  (Sorry if this is too much information!!) I know that body odor is caused by bacteria under our arms.  After I got out of the shower, I swiped tea tree oil under my arms.  The smell was almost unbearable to me, so after about 10 minutes, I followed with a swipe of lemon oil.  This neutralized the smell a bit, and after about a half hour the smell was gone all together.  It worked way better than any deodorant I've ever used.  So experiencing this, and knowing what I know about why my running clothes retain odors, I think next I'm going to start adding a couple drops to my laundry when I have a load of my athletic clothes (and maybe my bath towels, too. . . hmmmm) to help kill the bacteria that they like to hold on to, being synthetic fabrics.  And a couple drops on cotton balls tucked into the toes of particularly stinky shoes. . . the possibilities for killing bacteria and eliminating odorsare endless!

I have used tea tree oil to disinfect minor cuts and scrapes, always with good results - I have read that it is great for nail infections, though I've yet to try that. It is also good for relieving itch from bug bites.  Anything that helps with that during summer in Wisconsin is great!!

So I'm just learning more about this incredibly useful oil.  As I read more, I have ideas of where I want to go next with this oil (once I get a new bottle in my next order, since my original one is now empty!).  I just read that it's recommended to soak your toothbrush in diluted tea tree oil once a week or so to kill the bacteria that is housed in the bristles.  I've also seen recipes for making toothpaste out of it, although I don't know how I'd do with that taste!  Check out this list of uses for tea tree oil.  And if you're not familiar with Dr. Axe, I highly recommend checking out his website!  What I love about his website and his EO recommendations is that he uses a lot of medical research and studies to back up his recommendations.  Can't argue with that!

If you have any questions about anything related to oils, uses, recommendations, information about why I chose Young Living as my oils supplier, or how to try oils without commitment, please email me..  And if you are interested in a membership with Young Living, you can join here.