Tea Tree Oil: Health Benefits, Uses, Side-Effects

Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the tea tree plant, scientifically referred to as, Melaleuca alternifolia. The tree is found in the regions of Australia and has been a native species to the ancient aboriginal tribes of Australia. Early men used the leaves of the tea tree plant for its medicinal properties.

The oil was extracted by crushing the leaves of the plant and was used in treatments for colds and coughs. It can also be applied directly onto the skin for healing wounds. The essential oil is made by a distillation process.

Tea Tree Oil: A Complete Guide

Since ancient times this herbal tree has been known for its medicinal properties and over the years it has become a common interest for researchers around the world who are trying to decode the science behind this magical plant.


Tea tree oil works against bacteria by rupturing its outer layer, known as the cell wall. It contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol, which is effective against a wide range of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.


Tea tree oil was used in an experiment to analyze its effectiveness against fungi and yeast that cause infections in the genital, skin, throat, and mouth regions. It was found to be effective against the yeast: Candida albicans.


Tea tree oil contains a bioactive constituent known as terpinene-4-ol which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. This essential oil was applied to animals in a research experiment and was found to reduce inflammation. The oil was also applied topically on humans and was found to work more effectively than paraffin oil for allergic reactions on the skin.

Dental Hygiene

As per some studies, tea tree oil gels can be used to prevent gum infections and inflammation. The oil can also be used to fight bacteria in the mouth that cause an unpleasant breath along with alpha-bisabol which is a bioactive compound found in chamomile flowers.

Treatment for Lice

According to research conducted, tea tree oil has been found to be effective against lice. Another compound called nerolidol was used in the study and destroyed lice eggs. When used in an adequate ratio of 1:2, the combination had amazing results and was concluded to as a treatment for head lice. Some research states the use of tea tree oil with lavender oil for head lice to be more effective.

Treatment for Dandruff

5% tea tree oil shampoo was found to be effective against flakes. Studies participants using this shampoo for 4 weeks had shown significant results with lesser dandruff and barely had an itchy or greasy scalp.


Acne is a very common condition affecting 80-95% of the adolescent population. Tea tree oil was found to have great results when used topically. It was shown to control acne and its severity.

Uses of Tea Tree Oil

We bring you a gist of the uses of tea tree oil. Here they go -

  • Antiseptic − Having anti-microbial properties, the oil can be used as an antiseptic for minor cuts and injuries.

  • Mouthwash − Known to prevent bad breath, tea tree oil can be used as a natural mouthwash. The oil must be diluted in water and then can be used to rinse the mouth.

  • Acne treatment − Introducing tea tree oil into a skincare routine can significantly reduce acne.

  • Wound healing − The anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil trigger the production and functioning of white blood cells for faster healing.

  • Antiperspirant − Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties that help fight against bacteria that produce bad odour.

  • Hand sanitizer − For its anti-bacterial functions, the oil can be suitable to be used as a natural sanitizer.

  • Insecticide − research studies suggest that tea tree oil has a great effect on flies and insects that are commonly found in agricultural areas. The essential oil was known to work even better than DEET, which is the most popular chemical used in insect repellents.


While we conclude, let us jot down the sideeffects of tea tree oil for safer use.

Tea tree oil has been used since ancient times, mostly for its topical applications. However, some people may become sensitive to it and can suffer from an allergic reaction or show signs of itchiness, burning sensation, stinging, redness, rashes, or irritation on the skin.

Studies haven’t shown the uses of tea tree oil when consumed. It has been known to have side effects if taken orally. A person could experience ataxia, and confusion or may have a reduced level of consciousness.

  • Serious sideeffects of consuming tea tree oil include paralysis and coma.

  • There are no such studies conducted on tea tree oil having any kind of interaction during pregnancy and lactating period.

  • Several reviews state that when the essential oil is used by males, it has been found to cause gynecomastia.