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TEA TREE, Melaleuca alternifolia (Plant Family: Myrtaceae)


Type of plant: Bushy tree with long branches and twigs, small narrow leaves, and white cotton-puff flowers.


Part used: Leaves and branches.


Method of extraction: Steam distillation.


Data: Native to Australia but now grown commercially elsewhere. The Aboriginal people of Australia have used the medicinal properties of tea tree for untold millennia. Findings of its medicinal properties were first presented to the scientific community by an Australian government scientist, Dr. A. R. Penfold, in 1923. Tea tree oil was so valued by the 1940s that cutters and producers were exempted from military service during the Second World War until sufficient supplies were available to provide all military personnel with a personal supply in their first aid kits.


Principal places of production: Australia, Tasmania, Kenya.


When buying look for: Colourless to pale-yellow liquid with a strongly. medicinal, slightly spicy, camphorous aroma.


Therapeutic properties: Anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, immunostimulant, vulnerary.


Therapeutic uses: Bacterial skin infection, parasitic skin infection, respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, rhinitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, wounds, ulceration, pimples, acne, abscesses, head and body lice, fungal infection, athlete’s foot, warts, verrucas


Blends well with: Bergamot, black pepper, chamomile german, chamomile roman, elemi, eucalyptus lemon, eucalyptus radiata, fragonia, geranium, ho wood, lavandin, lavender, lavender (spike), lemon, manuka, orange (sweet), palmarosa, peppermint, ravensara, rosemary, tangerine


Precautionary advice: May cause irritation; a skin patch test is advisable.


Source: The complete book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.

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