Tea Tree Essential Oil: Uses & History

Jun 17, 2015 | Health & Wellness


tea-tree-plant-blossomWherever you go in the world you will find trees, flowers, and herbs that were used in that area anciently. Down under in Australia, natives used kangaroo apple, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil. (1)

Tea Tree Oil – also known as Melaleuca, Australian Tea Tree Oil, or Melaleuca Alternifolia- only comes from one source. It is an oil that is derived from the leaves of the melaleuca tree. That tree is native to Australia. Tea tree oil had been used by Aboriginal Australians for many years before 1920, when Arthur Penfold began to commercialize it.

According to the University of Sydney, “The first recorded account of tea tree being used for medicinal purposes was in 1770, when Lieutenant James Cook used the leaves to treat scurvy among his sailors. By the 1930s and 1940s, tea tree oil was widely celebrated as an antiseptic treatment. During the Second World War, Australian soldiers were issued with tea tree oil in their first aid kits.” (2)

Don’t confuse the tea tree with the tea plant that is used to make digestible teas. Tea tree essential oil should never be ingested.    

Tea tree has a smell that people love. Some say that it smells like nutmeg. Because of its smell, tea tree oil has been used in many beauty products: lotions, cleansers, and shampoos.


Tea Tree Essential Oil Recipes

Gentle Disinfecting Laundry Detergent

6 capfuls Sunshine Concentrate or Castile soap

15 to 30 drops tea tree essential oil

Add to laundry machine while the water is filling the drum. Allow drum to fill ½ full before adding clothes


Box Elder Bug Spray

5 Tablespoons Sunshine Concentrate

15 drops tea tree essential oil

20 drops peppermint essential oil

12 ounces water

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and apply.


“Fido’s” Flea Collatea-tree-essential-oil-for-dog

Cotton Bandana

12 drops tea tree

5 drops eucalyptus

1 drops eucalyptus

1 drop clove

Bowl of cold water

Drop essential oils on top of water. Place bandana in bowl and swirl through the water, picking up the essential oils in a coating over the bandana. Put bandana on “Fido”.


Invigorating Bath

3 drops tea tree oil

3 drops pink grapefruit

1 drop peppermint


Another recipe can be found on huffingtonpost.com.

Dr. DeJuliis’s Face Mask 


3 drops of tea tree oil

1 tsp of jojoba oil

½ a finely chopped tomato

 Instructions: Mix until you have a smooth paste and apply this mask to your face for 10 minutes. Then wash off.

Tea tree oil and jojoba oil can be purchased at naturessunshine.com but when it comes to the tomato, you’re on your own.

Web MD gives additional uses for tea tree oil and states that “the following doses have been studied in scientific research:”


  • For nail fungus(onychomycosis): 100% tea tree oil solution applied twice daily for six months.
  • For athlete’s foot (tinea pedis): 25% or 50% tea tree oil solution applied twice daily for one month has been used. Tea tree oil 10% cream applied twice daily for one month has also been used.
  • For acne: 5% tea tree oil gel applied daily. (3)

toenail infections


  1. http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2011/02/top-10-aboriginal-bush-medicines/
  2. http://sydney.edu.au/alumni/sam/october2013/tee-tree.shtml
  3. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-113-tea%20tree%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=113&activeingredientname=tea%20tree%20oil