12 Incredible Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil (Backed by Evidence)

Did you know that tea tree oil has been used for the last 100 years in Australia as a traditional medicine [1]?

Folk healers rely on this remedy for treating acne, psoriasis, sore throat and many others.

Nowadays, it has become a commonly used ingredient in various health and skincare products [1, 2].

It contains important compounds that demonstrate strong antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties [3].

It’s no wonder many people continue to rely on this particularly for skin problems.

Several studies have been done to test the safety and efficacy of this herbal remedy.

1. Tea Tree Oil Can Treat Staph Infections

Staphylococcus refers to a type of bacteria that typically lives on the skin of humans [4].

It normally does not cause any harm, especially on healthy individuals.

In fact, this type of bacteria exists on the skin and digestive tract of humans.

Now there are times when it can lead to skin infections, which can become dangerous if the bacteria penetrate deep into the bloodstream and bodily organs, explains Mayo Clinic.

It’s good to know that certain herbal remedies like tea tree oil can help fight off infections caused by this bacterium.

Research has shown that tea tree oil has powerful antibacterial properties that can destroy staphylococcus strains, even those that are resistant to antibiotics [5, 6, 7, 8].

A 2007 study published in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Journal reports that this oil has a “broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity” [5].

Responsible for this mode of action are several of its active compounds such as terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, and 1,8-cineole [5].

In another study, it was shown that the 5 percent tea tree oil body wash and 4 percent tea tree oil nasal ointment was superior to triclosan body wash and 2 percent mupirocin nasal ointment in combating staph infections [6].

Key Takeaways:

  • Treat staph infections the natural way with tea tree oil.
  • Tea tree oil contains potent antimicrobial compounds that can inhibit the activity of staphylococcus bacteria.
  • Some of its active antimicrobial agents include terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, and 1,8-cineole.

2. Tea Tree Oil is an Effective Remedy for Cold Sores

Tea tree oil’s antibacterial powers have been recognized not only in Australia, but in many parts of the world.

Take note, however, that bacteria are not the sole pathogens that it can fight off.

Tea tree oil does not only combat bacteria but also viruses, even the strong ones.

Cold sores, which is a condition caused by an infection of the herpes simplex virus, can be remedied with this oil [9].

Tea tree oil, according to a Germany study, contains “active antiherpes components” that make it a promising treatment for this skin problem [9].

After using a plaque reduction assay, researchers have found that tea tree oil has a virucidal effect of up to 50 percent [9].

It worked mainly by reducing the plaque formation of the virus [9].

Clinical data from a 2001 Australian study supports the premise that tea tree oil’s broad-spectrum antiviral effects can kill the virus that is causing cold sores [10].

Key Takeaways:

  • Cold sores are triggered by the infection of herpes simplex virus.
  • This virus can be destroyed by the antiviral components of tea tree oil.

3. Tea Tree Oil Can Combat Acne

Problematic about those unsightly zits on your face?

Those little red bumps spreading on your skin can certainly make you feel embarrassed and self-conscious.

A good way to clear your skin is with the use of tea tree oil.

In one clinical trial dated 2000, researchers randomized 124 patients to receive either 5 percent tea tree oil gel or 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion [11].

Benzoyl peroxide lotion is commonly prescribed by dermatologists for acne treatment [11].

In the results, it was stated that both antiseptic agents worked in diminishing both open and closed comedones [11].

Although the onset of action of tea tree oil was slower, the good thing about it was that it had fewer side effects [11].

Another similar study proved tea tree oil’s efficacy as treatment for mild to moderate cases of acne [12].

This conclusion was reached after 60 patients with acne were divided into two groups, and were given either tea tree oil gel or a placebo every 15 days for 45 days [12].

Tea tree oil was 5.75 times more effective than the placebo in reducing the total number of acne lesions [12].

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Both groups experienced side effects but these were mild and tolerable according to the participants [12].

Key Takeaways:

  • Tea tree oil can be used to resolve mild to moderate acne cases.
  • It works in the same way as benzoyl peroxide lotion in treating open and closed comedones.
  • It has a few side effects but most of these are tolerable.

 

4. Tea Tree Oil Can Cure Athlete’s Foot

If you’re suffering from athlete’s foot, tea tree oil can be the answer to your problem.

This fungal infection, known in the field of medicine as tinea pedis, is contagious and can cause scaling, redness and itchiness of the feet [13].

As a topical antiseptic, tea tree oil has long been used for various skin infections [14].

Studies indicate that it can significantly improve the condition of people with athlete’s foot, reducing the symptoms and at the same time, controlling the source of infection [14, 15].

In a clinical trial involving 104 patients, 10 percent tea tree oil, 1 percent tolnaftate, and a placebo were used to treat this fungal infection [14].

Tea tree oil was able to reduce the infection by up to 30 percent, which was lower than the tolnaftate treatment but higher than the placebo [14].

Key Takeaway:

  • Tea tree oil helps people with athlete’s foot by combating the cause of infection and alleviating the symptoms such as redness, inflammation, irritation and itchiness.

5. Tea Tree Oil Can Fight Vaginal Yeast Infections

Vaginal yeast infections are quite common with up to 75 percent of women affected at least one point in their lives [16].

Mayo Clinic enumerates the common symptoms of this infection, which include itchiness and burning sensation in the vagina, redness and swelling of the vaginal opening, and thick whitish discharge which resembles cottage cheese.

Not only is this condition embarrassing, it can also put a stress on one’s sexual relations.

It’s a must to put an end to this problem once and for all.

You can do that by relying on tea tree oil.

Results of a laboratory test indicate that tea tree oil can destroy up to 90 percent of the Candida species that cause infection in the vagina [16].

Researchers tested the efficacy of 24 essential oils against Candida albicans and other fungal strains using the agar dilution method [16].

Tea tree oil was able to inhibit 90 percent of the 81 Candida albicans isolates and 33 non-Candida species [16].

A similar study released similar findings, showing evidence that this oil is an effective remedy for yeast infections [17].

It’s good to know that it worked even on fungal strains that are resistant to fluconazole and itraconazole [17].

Key Takeaways:

  • Vaginal infections caused by fungus can cause unpleasant symptoms such as redness, itchiness, swelling, and whitish discharge.
  • These problems can put a strain on one’s sexual relationship, and should therefore be resolved right away.
  • As a powerful antifungal, tea tree oil can combat this infection.
  • It has a 90 percent inhibitory rate against Candida and non-candida species, and it even works on fungi that have grown resistant to commonly prescribed antifungal medications.

6. Tea Tree Oil Can Heal Nail Infection

A common nail disease caused by a fungal infection, onychomycosis can affect either the fingernails or toenails [18].

It causes the nail to weaken, discolor, and crumble over time.

In a study published in the Tropical Medicine & International Health, researchers did a comparative analysis of 5 percent tea tree oil and 2 percent butenafine hydrochloride in treating nail infection [19].

These two remedies were applied on 60 patients for 16 weeks [19].

It was reported that 80 percent of the participants with nail disease were cured with a tea tree oil gel [19].

Even though four patients experienced mild inflammation, they still continued with the treatment as the side effect was tolerable [19].

There was also a similar positive feedback from a study that involved 117 patients [20].

Researchers conclude that tea tree oil is an effective way to treat this type of fungal infection [19, 20].

Key Takeaway:

  • Infection in the toenail or fingernail can be resolved with the help of tea tree oil, thanks to its antifungal activities.
  • Although there’s a side effect of mild inflammation, this is tolerable and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

7. Tea Tree Oil Can Improve Dental Health

Tea tree oil is commonly used for alleviating skin problems, but did you know that you can also use it to improve your dental health?

As it turns out, tea tree oil can help solve various oral problems including gingivitis and plaque [21].

This shouldn’t come as a surprise since tea tree oil has always been known as a potent antibacterial.

Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes pain, redness and inflammation while plaque is an accumulation of bacteria that can damage teeth [22, 23].

Amazingly, tea tree oil has strong inhibitory effects against oral bacteria that cause such problems [24].

In a study featured in the International Dental Journal, 30 participants were subjected to a five-week treatment period consisting of tea tree oil, garlic extract, and chlorhexidine [24].

According to the findings, chlorhexidine and garlic demonstrated antibacterial activities but only against Streptococci [24].

Tea tree oil, meanwhile, was able to combat all the oral microorganisms tested [24].

Several side effects were reported for all the treatment methods, and these include unpleasant taste, bad breath and burning sensation [24].

Key Takeaways:

  • Dental problems like gingivitis and plaque can be stopped with the help of antibacterial tea tree oil.
  • It caused a few side effects such as unpleasant taste, bad breath and burning sensation inside the mouth.

8. Tea Tree Oil Can Tone Down Allergies

Histamine refers to an organic compound that’s released when a foreign contaminant enters the body, as explained in Wikipedia.

It stimulates the skin’s inflammatory response, among other reactions.

But sometimes, there’s an allergic reaction even to harmless substances.

This can be remedied with the use of tea tree oil, which as research confirms, has the ability to reduce skin inflammation induced by histamine [25].

Key Takeaways:

  • When a foreign invader enters the body, it releases histamine, which causes stimulation of the body’s inflammatory response.
  • One way to alleviate allergy is to make use of tea tree oil.

9. Tea Tree Oil Can Control Bacterial Vaginosis

Like vaginal yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis is also a condition involving the vagina.

However, there are several differences between the two.

This one is caused by an “overgrowth of bacteria” and not fungi, and its most common symptoms are vaginal odor and discharge without any redness or swelling [26].

One thing they share in common is that they can both be treated with tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil’s efficacy as a remedy for bacterial vaginosis has been proven in an Australian study conducted in 1999 [27].

Key Takeaway:

  • Bacterial vaginosis can also be treated with tea tree oil, which not only has anti-fungal properties but also inhibitory effects on bacteria that cause vaginal infection.

10. Tea Tree Oil Boosts Skin Health

By this time, you’ve probably noticed that tea tree oil can do so much for the skin.

Did you know that it doesn’t only help treat various skin diseases and infections, it can also boost overall skin health?

What tea tree oil does is that it helps maintain a healthy balance in the skin flora [28].

This makes it more difficult for harmful pathogens to penetrate and cause infections.

11. Tea Tree Oil is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

There are some cases when the body needs inflammation such as when there is a foreign invader that needs to be removed.

However, in some instances, inflammation can be harmful, and can lead to serious ailments.

Fortunately, there’s a natural way to tone down inflammation, and this is with the use of tea tree oil.

A 2000 study found that tea tree oil’s main component called terpinen-4-ol can efficiently suppress the body’s inflammatory response [29].

Key Takeaways:

  • Inflammation is the body’s way of removing a foreign invader in the body.
  • Tea tree oil can alleviate inflammation with the help of its primary compound terpinen-4-ol.

12. Tea Tree Oil Can Get Rid of Dandruff

Annoyed with those white flakes falling from your scalp?

Tea tree oil can get rid of this condition called dandruff and improve overall scalp health.

According to a study featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, dandruff is caused by a fungus called Pityrosporum ovale [30].

Tea tree oil happens to have antifungal properties against this particular yeast species [30].

Key Takeaway:

  • A quick and easy way to get rid of dandruff is by using tea tree oil, which has antifungal properties that work against yeast causing this problem.

Take advantage of the many benefits of tea tree oil, and use it to promote overall health and wellness.