Tea tree is one of the most useful essential oils available.

It is really interesting and important to know that what we call “Tea Tree” essential oil is more accurately known as “Melaleuca Alternifolia”, which is Latin. It’s called Tea Tree because historically the leaves were used to make medicinal tea.

The essential oil come from steam distilling these leaves and extracting a very powerful camphorous oil. This concentrated Tea tree oil is toxic when taken by mouth but very useful when used topically with a carrier oil or by diffusing.

There are actually over 290 different species of Melaleuca. The plants themselves range from a shrub to trees over 100 feet tall. They are diverse but all have common medicinal values.

Here are 3 essential oils from the Malaleuca family:

Melaleuca Alternifolia = Tea Tree Essential Oil – This is Australia’s go to oil for antibacterial and medicinal properties. It’s scent is quite camphorous and it is to be used with caution on the skin because of its strong antimicrobial properties. Here are some facts and uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil.

  • It naturally eliminates body odor
  • It holds lice at bay and removes ongoing infestation in the hair. (We had sent some Tea Tree Essential Oil to an orphanage in Mexico that had a lice infestation. We were pleased to hear that it was eradicated within a week of adding this oil to shampoos, liquid soaps and laundry detergents.)
  • Have an unsightly cold sore? Tea Tree oil calms the pain helps the sore heal faster. Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil and apply daily for best results.
  • Tea Tree’s antimicrobial properties helps kill off parasites and fungi that cause foot odor and athlete’s foot. Dilute the oil in coconut carrier oil, and dab affected areas.
  • Adding Tea Tree Essential Oil to a home diffuser can help eliminate spores, while spraying tea tree based cleaner on areas that often get moldy –shower door or curtain, washing machine and bathroom surfaces –will help you stay mold and mildew free.

Melaleuca quinquenervia = Niaouli Essential Oil

  • As it has very similar therapeutic effects and is gentler to the skin than tea tree oil, Niaouli oil is the best choice for those with sensitive skin. Niaouli essential oil’s disinfecting properties help your body fight infection while stimulating the components that help to heal the skin.
  • It has a sweeter yet more antiseptic fragrance, and can be used in addition to or in place of Tea Tree, with less tendency to irritate the skin.

Melaleuca cajuputi = Cajuput Essential Oil

  • Cajeput has some properties similar to those found in Eucalyptus (from the Eucalyptol) and Lemon (from the limonene).
  • This is a great oil to use in place of or with Tea Tree or Eucalyptus.
  • Cajeput contains higher concentrations of 1,8 Cineole (Eucalyptol), limonene and alpha-Terpineol. Tea tree oil contains more Terpinen-4-ol and gamma-Terpinene.

As always, Safety first! The most effective way to use essential oils is by inhalation or topical use with a carrier oil. Never ever ingest essential oils as this is an unsafe practice that can lead to serious injury and organ damage.