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54+ Benefits and Uses of
Melaleuca Oil (Tea Tree Oil)

Melaleuca oil (Melaleuca alternifolia, or more commonly known as tea tree) has been used for centuries by cultures around the world to heal wounds. The oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of certain myrtle shrubs and trees, and said to be 12x the antiseptic strength of phenol. The aroma is pretty distinct, kinda medicinal and herbaceous. It's not my favorite aroma, to be honest, but I suffer through it because it's a really potent oil.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented on Sustainable Baby Steps have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not replace personal judgment nor medical treatment when indicated, nor are they intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always talk to your naturopathic physician about the use of these or any other complimentary modalities. Reading this website denotes your understanding and agreement to our full disclaimer.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of melaleuca include:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Decongestant
  • Digestive
  • Expectorant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Insecticidal
  • Neurotonic
  • Stimulant
  • Tissue regenerative

The oil is most commonly used to support the immune system, and well as respiratory, muscle, and joint health, and even cleaning (anything from skin to toilets!). You need to be careful choosing the right melaleuca, though. This is an oil often adulterated or contaminated (especially if it was solvent-extracted) and for that reason many people say it's too irritating or drying to the skin to use topically or on children or animals. But a quality brand is so, so, so different. I can't even touch cheap brands without breaking out in a horrible reaction (think oozing, red, inflamed - not good), but I have no issues with a high-quality brand.

Energetically, melaleuca oil is said to promote healthy boundaries, specifically in unhealthy or toxic relationships. It not only helps us to step out of codependency (stepping into our own strength and individuality), but also release those connections that have become unbalanced, draining, or stop us from growing. (I know WAY to many people who could use that!)

Of course, it can't do so without helping us to do our own inner work around the patterns we create, encourage, or accept in our relationships and why. In this way it helps us to love ourselves, trust our own abilities, enjoy our own presence, say no when we need to, and honor our needs for respect or love from the right people in our lives.


The information provided here on the properties and uses of essential oils do NOT apply to all essential oil brands. Because of lenient industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is not a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants.

A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. The best essential oil brands follow these guidelines:

  • Proper plant varieties
  • Grown in their indigenous region around the world
  • Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc
  • Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties
  • Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules
  • Third-party testing of each and every batch
  • Stand behind the internal use of their oils

Learn what to look for in safe, effective essential oils here.

How to Use Melaleuca Oil

Traditionally, this essential oil uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:

How to use essential oils!
Adults Children/Sensitive Pregnancy

Precautions: Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.

Click this link for more application guidance and precautions.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented on Sustainable Baby Steps have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not replace personal judgment nor medical treatment when indicated, nor are they intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always talk to your naturopathic physician about the use of these or any other complimentary modalities. Reading this website denotes your understanding and agreement to our full disclaimer.

Suggested and Possible Tea Tree Oil Uses

The following are potential uses found in or on Modern Essentials, Aromatic Science, PubMed.gov, as well as through anecdotal experience and other resources. Use them to inspire your own ideas, experiment, and see what works for you.

One of the more common tea tree oil uses, add a drop to your normal cleansing route, or dab a very small amount on acne breakouts. You'll often find it in popular acne blends.

Use topically by massaging into the chest, abdomen or the reflex points of the feet.

Consider applying 1-2 drops topically to the base of the neck or reflex points of the spine.

Athlete's Foot
Add a drop to your shoes, massage into the feet, or soak in a foot bath of sea salt and 2-3 drops of melaleuca. Oregano and Lemon are also helpful here.

Bacterial Infections
Use topically, either massaging into the reflex points of the feet, adding several drops to a bath, or cautiously applying over an infected site. Dilute for sensitive or irritated skin.

Apply a small amount of melaleuca oil directly over the site.

Add 1-2 drops to a steam tent, or massage the oil over the chest and into the feet. Layer with respiratory blends for added support.

Apply to the area of concern, diluting if necessary. (I would not use this vaginally for a yeast infection, although diluting and applying near the area may be beneficial.)

Canker Sores
Dab a small amount directly over the sore, diluting with coconut oil if needed. Also check out Melissa essential oil.

Melaleuca oil is great to add to homemade toothpaste, or you can add a drop to your toothbrush before brushing (and after to disinfect). A simple homemade mouthwash with purified water, melaleuca, and Peppermint is also recommended. I wouldn't personally swallow this.

Chicken Pox
Diffuse in the air (with a diffuser or a pan of hot water), or massage a mixture of melaleuca and coconut oil gently over the pox (dilute more for younger children).

Can be used aromatically or added to homemade cleaners to kill germs and help prevent the spread of colds, flus, etc.

Cold Sores
Dab a small amount (diluted or not depending on your sensitivity) over the sore, or mix with coconut oil and use preventatively.

Treat the common cold by inhaling steam infused with the oil, or massage into the feet and over the chest or other areas of concern, or mix 2-3 drops in a capsule with Lemon, Oregano, and an immune blend.

Follow the instructions for coughs and consider layering with respiratory blends.

Use a very small amount, possibly diluted, over the area of concern several times a day.

Any sort of skin inflammation can benefit from this oil being gently massaged into the area. Mix with Lavender and Peppermint for added support.

Dry/Itchy Eyes
Although no essential oil should ever be put IN the eye, you can still benefit from the oil by diffusing it or using on the temples.

Ear Infection/Ache
Place 1-2 drops on a cotton ball and place over the ear. Never place essential oils IN the ear. Also consider alternating Basil essential oil.

Dilute 1 drop with a tsp of in coconut oil and apply a small amount over the area. Also consider Lavender or Helichrysum.

Diffuse through the air, add a drop to the pillow, or gently massage into the feet to absorb the properties into the blood stream quickly.

Fungal Infections
Tea tree oil uses include topical application according to the type of infection. Check out other anti-fungal essential oils here.

Gum Disease
Create a mouthwash with purified water, 1 drop of peppermint, and 1 drop of tea tree oil.

Diffuse through the home daily, or massage into the soles of the feet.

Herpes Simplex
Apply a small amount to the outbreak, or massage into the feet daily to prevent future outbreaks.

Mix with coconut oil (which is naturally healing and soothing itself) and gently apply to the infected areas.

Immune System (Stimulates)
Diffuse through the air on a regular basis, massage into the soles of the feet to increase your immune response. Also consider an immune boosting blend.

Infected Wounds
You can try a steam tent, dilute 1 drop of melaleuca with 1 cup of water and rinse the infected area 1-2 times a day, or diffuse as needed.

Infections (General)
Topical uses are indicated for infections. Use your best judgment and the uses described throughout this article to choose which method is best for you.

Massage over the inflamed areas, gently and always toward the heart, or diffuse and inhale the melaleuca oil directly or indirectly.

Jock Itch
Apply topically to the affected area, diluted based on your needs.

Add several drops to purified water and soak hair and scalp in the solution. Use on combs, brushes and massage into the hair and scalp. Treat the home with it as well. Be sure to read this article on head lice home treatments as well.

Melaleuca's antibacterial properties can be utilized by massaging it directly into the skin for fast absorption to the blood stream. Also consider diffusing and research info on Oregano and MRSA, too.

Massage over the body and into the feet, and diffuse through the home.

Nail Infection
Mix 1 TB coconut oil and 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil, and massage into the nails and cuticles as indicated.

Piercings Apply after piercings to avoid infection. Use diluted with coconut oil or salt water, or as a spray with purified water.

Pink Eye
Although essential oils shouldn't have direct contact with the eye, I would recommend adding several drop to a steam tent and hold your head over the steam. You can also apply diluted to the temples, or to the hand and hold over the eye if neither are too strong for you.

Mix with coconut oil and massage over the affected areas.

Apply one drop directly to the area, or mix 1 drop with a drop of Lavender oil for added benefit.

Dilute as needed and massage into the affected areas, as well as onto the soles of the feet.

Melaleuca oil can both fight off the mites that cause scabies, as well as help the rash and prevention of infection. Massage 1-2 drops over the area in a small amount of coconut oil.

Add to a small amount of coconut oil and massage over the body. Massage into the soles of the feet for immune stimulation to prevent future outbreaks.

Massage 1-2 drops of melaleuca oil into the soles of the feet as needed.

Sore Throat
Rub over the throat, inhale diffused oil, or gargle with warm salt water and 1 drop of melaleuca.

Staph Infection
It's best used topically with 1-2 drops rubbed into the soles of the feet to increase the immune response and fight infection.

Mix 1 TB coconut oil with 1 drop of melaleuca and 1 drop of Lavender and gently apply to the sunburned areas. (I personally love lavender, aloe, and Helichrysum for my sunburns.)

Tattoos Apply 1-2 drops to a new tattoo to avoid infection. You might try using undiluted, diluted with coconut oil, or as a spray with purified water.

Gargle with sea salt, warm water, and 1 drop of melaleuca. Or dilute and massage into the soles of the feet.

Inhale from steaming water with tea tree, gargle, and massage into neck and soles of feet.

Vaginal Infection
It's recommended to use topically. I would personally dilute with coconut oil and add several drops to a sitz bath, or massage into the soles of feet.

Varicose Ulcer
Apply to reflex points of the feet and massage over the area of the ulcer.

Viral Infections
Diffuse melaleuca oil throughout the home or inhale from steaming water. Apply topically over the areas of concerns and to the soles of the feet.

Apply 1 drop directly to the wart, diluting if necessary for sensitive skin.

Soak wounded area in water with melaleuca oil, or spritz from a bottle of water with several drops of oil. Depending on the wound and your own sensitivity you may be able to apply directly.

Other possible melaleuca oil uses include treating mites and ticks, hysteria, digestion, skeletal and muscular systems, skin, immunity and the respiratory system.

In addition to melaleuca oil, also consider trying Lemon, Oregano, an immune blend, Arborvitae, or check out other essential oils here.

Share your favorite use of melaleuca oil in the comments below!

Interested in Essential Oils? Click here for free workshops, guides, and more, via OrganicHomeHealth.com

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