Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree, sometimes spelt ‘ti tree’, is an essential oil with a pungent, fresh, medicinal aroma and with a slightly spicy, powerful undertone.
The Tea tree originates from New South Wales in Australia and is said to be similar to Cypress tree. It grows to about 20 foot and thrives in wetter soils such as marshes. Now the tree is typically cultivated in plantations but remains only in Australia. It is a tree with great vitality and strength and will flourish given the right environment. The tea tree is a useful and sustainable source of oil, as it is ready for harvesting every two years, even when chopped down.
Tea tree essential oil is extracted from the leaves or twigs by steam or water distillation.
Although tea tree oil is comparatively new to aromatherapy compared to other oils, it is now widely used for its antibacterial, antiseptic and stimulating properties. Indeed, research has been conducted to investigate tea tree oil and its affect on the immune system and its anti-fungal properties, especially on treating skin conditions.
Tea tree has been used traditionally by the Australian Aborigines to cure wounds. In circa 1927 the oil came to Europe and has been a favourite remedy in first aid kits ever since.
Tea tree oil was used in World War Two military first aid kits and in munitions factories for skin injuries.
Terpinenol (Alcohol), Cineole (Ketone), Cymene, Pinene, Terpinene (Terpenes).
Tea tree essential oil blends well with spice oils, as well (not exclusively) lavender, rosemary, pine, ylang ylang and marjoram.