The essential oil of the Tea Tree has been used for decades, and medical studies have documented its advantages as a beneficial aid in eliminating bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This powerful antiseptic is well known for its ability to treat wounds and for its natural anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed that before the advent of antibiotics and prescription medicine, the Australian natives spoke highly of the healing properties that the Tea Tree leaves have to offer. Aside from soaking the leaves in tea infusions or crushing them to inhale the soothing scent of their essential oils for the treatment of coughs and colds, the leaves were also sprinkled on wounds and held in place with mud pack poultices. Applied in this topical manner, poultices were remedies for infections that developed in wounds.
Not to be confused with common tea plants that are used to made black and green teas, the Tea Tree received its name from eighteenth-century sailors, who made teas that smelled like nutmeg from the leaves of the Tea Tree. The story goes that the “Tea Tree” was first publicized by Captain James Cook on Botany Bay in Australia when he came across the Aboriginals preparing an aromatic and spicy blend of sticky camphor-like leaves that had been gathered from theMelaleucatree. It is believed that the Captain brewed and served the tea to his crew in order to prevent scurvy. Despite this historical anecdote involving the consumption of tea made from the leaves, Tea Tree Essential Oil is not intended for internal use and can have toxic effects if ingested even in small amounts. There is a negligible amount of naturally occurring essential oils found in Tea Tree leaves that have historically been used to make tea, whereas Tea Tree Essential Oil is concentrated and can lead to poisoning.
Tea Tree Essential Oil is derived and steam distilled from the leaves of theMelaleuca alternifoliatree. As aforementioned, it is commonly known as Tea Tree. This is a plant native to the swampy regions of the eastern Australian coast and to Southeast Queensland. Its botanical term “alternifolia” means "having leaves that alternate on each side of a stem.” Tea Tree flowers grow on tall evergreen shrubs and develop in groups on the head or the “spike.” Clustered together on the spike, as many as eighty individual flowers form a shape that resembles white cleaning brushes with small bristles.
The main constituents of Tea Tree Essential Oil are:
Country of Origin: Australia Botanical Name: Melaleuca Alternifolia Family Name: Myrtaceae INCI: Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil Common Names: Tea Tree, Ti-tree Parts Used: Leaf Extraction Method: Steam Distilled Scent: Medium, Fresh, Antiseptic, Mint, and Spice Back-Notes