Tea Tree: a Bug Killing Tree

Melaleuca alternifolia

Image courtesy of Eric Hunt at flickr.com

The first essential oil that comes to everyone’s attention is tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). It has all of the important antis – antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral – helping it to kill any bug that crosses your path. When used during flu season and during traveling, it can keep illness away.

Using an aromatherapy inhaler with tea tree can keep you from getting sick. To enhance immunity, add 2 drops eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), 5 drops fir (Abies alba), and 3 drops tea tree to an inhaler. If you don’t have an inhaler, add the essential oils to rock salt in a jar to make smelling salts that will help you be well. Breathe them in throughout the day, especially if exposed to someone with the flu or while traveling around groups of people.

If you tried to avoid germs but ended up getting sick, then fight infection with a massage oil containing bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), tea tree, and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). Add 3 drops of each essential oil to 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil and massage into lymph glands. Tea tree is also an anti-inflammatory, decongestant, expectorant, and immune-stimulating oil that helps to remove your symptoms faster.

Tea tree’s germ killing effects go beyond the sickroom; it is a natural for home cleaning. With the Center for Disease Control estimating that seven pathogens including Salmonella, Toxoplasma, Listeria, Norovirus, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, and Clostridium perfringens, are responsible for 90% of illnesses, hospitalizations, and even death, it’s imperative to kill all germs when cleaning. A safe way to arm yourself against high-powered germs is to integrate non-toxic cleaning products into your home. You can safeguard your health by making your own simple, all-natural household cleaners, like the scrub below:
All-Natural Cleaning Scrub
1 cup baking soda
3 tablespoons Castile soap
1 tablespoon white vinegar
15 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil
10 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil
15 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil
In a 16 oz wide-mouth container, mix all ingredients. Add more vinegar or Castile soap as needed to make a smooth consistency.*

The medicinal scent of tea tree takes getting used to but using it in blends, such as those listed above, elevates and brightens it. It may not be the perfect aroma, but in aromatherapy it is perfect for keeping you healthy.

*Butje and Byington. (2013). Natural Spring Cleaning. The Int Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. 1(4).