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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Tea Tree Oil – Facts from the US National Institute of Health (NIH)

Tea tree oil plantation, harvesting equipment ...

Tea tree oil plantation, harvesting equipment (a Ford tractor pulling a loader wagon), Coraki, New South Wales, Australia.

 

 

Tea Tree oil facts from herbs at a glance

N C C A M: The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Excerpts from the Tea Tree Oil article

This fact sheet provides basic information about tea tree oil—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree, and has been used medicinally for centuries by the aboriginal people of Australia.

What Tea Tree Oil Is Used For

  • Tea tree oil is often used externally as an antibacterial or antifungal treatment.
  • Tea tree oil is used for a number of conditions including acne, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, wounds, and infections.
  • Other applications for tea tree oil include use for lice, oral candidiasis (thrush), cold sores, dandruff, and skin lesions

What the Science Says

  • A 2004 NCCAM-funded review examined the ability of tea tree oil to kill bacteria and found that in vitro (in a test tube) studies may provide some preliminary evidence for the use of tea tree oil as an adjunctive (additional) treatment for wounds involving difficult-to-treat bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). However, large, well-designed clinical trials on tea tree oil are lacking, and it remains unclear whether tea tree oil is effective against these emerging resistant strains of bacteria in people.
  • Some smaller-scale clinical studies have had positive results for treating athlete’s foot, nail fungus, dandruff, and acne, but more large-scale, well-designed clinical studies are needed.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Tea tree oil contains varying amounts of 1,8-cineole, a skin irritant. Products with high amounts of this compound may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction, in some individuals. Oxidized tea tree oil (oil that has been exposed to air) may trigger allergies more than fresh tea tree oil.

 

 

 

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March 20, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , ,

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