Tea Tree Essential Oil And Why It’s ‘Essential’ For Preppers


By Sara Tipton

Tea tree essential oil is one of the most well-known of all the essential oils, for its powerful antiseptic and healing properties.  Tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca, is a quick and easy addition to your prepper gear too since there are so many benefits to having the oil on hand in any situation.

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Although Melaleuca alternifolia is known as the “tea tree,” it should not be confused with the plant that produces leaves used to make black, green and oolong tea.

Tea tree oil has been used as a traditional medicine by Aborigines for centuries. The native Australians crush the tea tree leaves to extract the oil contained in them, which can then be inhaled to treat coughs and colds or applied directly to the skin for quicker healing. And it makes sense to use the oil for medicine! The oil itself contains a few compounds that aid in healing.

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Tea tree’s primary active ingredients include terpene hydrocarbons,  monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. It is these compounds that give tea tree its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. There are over 100 different chemical components of tea tree oil, with terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol being the most active.

The terpinen-4-ol contained in tea tree oil has been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Terpinen-4-ol also appears to increase the activity of your white blood cells, which help fight germs and other foreign invaders. These germ-fighting properties make tea tree oil a valued natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions. It could also aid in preventing infection and promoting healing of damaged skin.

In a SHTF situation, what are some uses for this all-around beneficial and medicinal oil?

Hand Sanitizer

Thanks to its antiseptic properties, tea tree oil can be just as effective as an alcohol-based skin sanitizer. Alcohol can be drying and irritating to some, especially those with sensitive skin, but tea tree can be an alternative.  Studies have shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, including E. coliS. pneumoniae and H. influenzae. Additionally, a study testing several types of hand wash shows that adding tea tree oil to the hand cleansers boosted their effectiveness against E. coli.

Related: Make your own hand sanitizer using three ingredients!

Soothe Skin Irritations

Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may make it a useful tool for soothing skin irritations and wounds. There is actually some evidence from a pilot study that after being treated with tea tree oil, patient wounds had begun to heal and reduced in size. Other evidence has shown that tea tree will help treat chronically infected wounds. Tea tree oil can help reduce inflammation by eliminating bacteria. It can also be used to soothe sunburns, sores, and insect bites.

Quick Tip: test the tea tree oil on your skin before using it to rule out any sensitivity that could occur.

Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Essential oils like tea tree oil are being used in replacement of or along with conventional medications because it can serve as a powerful and antibacterial agent, without the adverse side effects.  Research published in The Open Microbiology Journal indicates that some essential oils, like tea tree oil, have a positive synergistic effect when combined with conventional antibiotics. Researchers see this as a positive aspect, meaning essential oils may help prevent antibiotic resistance from developing. This is extremely important in modern medicine because antibiotic resistance may lead to treatment failure, increased healthcare costs and the spread of difficult to treat infections.

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Insect Repellent

Tea tree oil may also help keep those pesky insects away. One study found that 24 hours after being treated with tea tree oil, cows had 61% fewer flies than cows not treated with tea tree oil. Whats even more important is that a test-tube study revealed that tea tree oil has a greater ability to repel mosquitoes than DEET, the most common active ingredient in commercial insect repellents. Try this easy-to-make insect repellent using tea tree oil and other natural ingredients!

Treat Head Lice

Tea tree oil also has well-known insecticidal properties that can help treat head lice. Lice are incredibly small, parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Most often, children pass these parasites back and forth resulting in itchy and infested scalps. These annoying little parasites are also often difficult to get rid of with just medication. A lab study conducted in Italy investigated the efficacy of tea tree oil against lice and its eggs. Tea tree was used alone and in combination with nerolidol and tested at different ratios against 69 head lice and 187 eggs over a six-month period. Researchers found that tea tree oil alone was actually more effective against head lice, with treatment resulting in 100 percent mortality after 30 minutes of exposure. When tea tree oil was combined with nerolidol at a 1:2 ratio, the two substances caused the death of all head lice within 30 minutes and the abortive effect of lice eggs after 5 days of treatment.

Fight Toenail Fungus

Because of its ability to kill parasites and fungal infections, tea tree oil is a great choice to use on toenail fungus (onychomycosis) or athlete’s foot. It works too, is all natural, and doesn’t have any of the awkward side effects of chemical antifungal medications!  Put 2–5 drops of undiluted tea tree oil on the affected area using a clean cotton swab. And for stubborn fungi, consider mixing tea tree oil with another natural anti-fungal oil, like oregano.

As you can see, tea tree is a beneficial and natural medicine that should be a part of everyone’s medicine cabinet or prepper supply.  Its properties are not as widely studied as those of modern medicine, yet it still one of the easiest to get a hold of oils and one that has a multitude of uses, especially in a dire situation when modern medicines won’t be readily available. Grab some tea tree oil today and begin experiencing it!



This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 23rd, 2018

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