Tea Tree Essential Oil

Latin name Melaleuca alternifolia – Family species Myrtaceae

tea treeTea tree oil (aka tea-tree oil) comes from the Tea Tree plant native to Australia. The Tea Tree plant has a long history of being used in medicinal remedies by the aboriginal people of Australia, commonly used in herbal tea made from the leaves of the Tea Tree plant. Tea tree is also referred to as Australian Tea Tree oil and melaleuca oil.

Tea tree is sometimes incorrectly referred to as “ti tree”. As explained in Tea Tree Oil – A Medicine Kit in a Bottle by Susan Drury, “Ti” is the Maori name for a completely different tree, Cordyline australis, “a palm-like plant from New Zealand commonly known as the cabbage tree.” Also, “During the 1930s the oil of Melaleuca alternifolia, then known as Ti-trol [this may be why some people inadvertently started referring to it as “ti-tree” oil] or, in aqueous solution as Melasol, became a scientifically recognized treatment used successfully around the world by dentists for pyorrhoea, gingivitis, nerve-capping and haemorrhages. It was used by doctors for throat infections, gynaecological conditions and all sorts of dirty or pus-filled infections and had also been shown to have a remarkable effect on a wide range of skin fungi, including tinea, candida and parionychia.”

Oil Selection Guide

Color – Pale yellow-green
Viscosity – Watery
Scent – Warm, spicy, fresh, sharp, medicinal, camphorous
Perfume Aroma – Top / middle note

Oil Source Information

Plant Type – Tree
Parts Used – Leaves and twigs
Countries of Origin – Australia, Tasmania
Extraction Method – Steam distillation

Known Chemical Constituents

Terpinene-4-ol, cineol, pinene, cymene, sesquiterpenes, sesquiterpene alcohols, parcymene, caryophyllene, gamma-terpinene, alpha-terpinene, viridiflorene, b-terpineol, l-terpineol (trace), allyhexanoate (trace)

Applications and Uses

Found in aromatherapy, pharmaceutical and veterinary (especially for dogs) products. Used in soaps, toothpastes, mouthwash, colognes, deodorants, disinfectants.

Tea Tree blends well with


Recipes and Ideas

Precautions / Contraindications

Tea tree essential oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin, especially with grades considered high in cineol and low in terpinen-4-ol.
See also Essential Oils Safety and Usage.

References and Resources

See Aromatherapy References and Resources page.

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