Tea Tree Oil - The natural wonder

Did you ever use a kind of oil that smelled like camphor and was yellow in colour? This oil is an antiseptic, an anti-microbial, an analgesic, and has various other properties. If you're into the beauty and cosmetics, you must be familiar with it. Even if you aren't, you must have used the oil at some point in your lifetime. The oil I'm talking about is called Tea Tree Oil which is a special kind of essential oil which is also known as melaleuca oil. It is derived from the leaves of the tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia. This is commonly found in southeast Queensland and the northeast coast of Australia. It is used as a topical medicine in low concentrations for the treatment of the skin. It benefits in many conditions such as dandruff, acne, lice, herpes, insect bites, bacterial and fungal infections. It is poisonous when consumed through the mouth and is unsafe on children.

Its origins and History

It is believed that it actually originated from Captain James Cook description of one of these shrubs that he used to make an infusion to drink in place of tea. Its commercial use began in the 1920s when an Australian man came to know about the antiseptic properties of the herb. It was then extracted and used as a treatment for cold and cough as an inhalant. It was also said to be used for insect bites, stings, minor wounds and cuts on the skin. Tea tree oil became a household remedy in many Australian homes. It was an essential part of every Australian soldier's kit during World War II, which is probably how the word was spread to the rest of the world on the properties and efficacy of the oil. In the 1950s and early 1960s, demand for the oil declined due both to the development of antibiotics and the waning image of natural products as the post-WWII boom took off. Interest in the oil was rekindled in the late 1960's early 1970's as part of the general renaissance of the public interest in natural products that accompanied the baby boomer generation as they searched for the meaning of life.

The Extraction Process

It the winter season, when the tea tree has enough oil on its leaves it is harvested. The leaves are cut into tiny pieces to get the best quantity of oil from it. These leaves are collected and dumped into a large distillation bin. This dump is called as the biomass. The biomass is then filled with low pressurized steam. When the steam passes through the leaves, the oil bubbles on the top of the leaves burst and the oil is vaporized. This vaporized steam consists of oil and water. The vapour is then condensed by passing cold water on the surface of the carrier. The cooled water and oil extract are collected and then separated. It is then passed through various filters to clean and clear any organic material left behind in the extraction process. The final extract is then collected, bottled and shipped.

The Benefits

Glows the skin:
Tea Tree oil is not harsh on the skin and reduces dryness, peeling of the skin and also any rashes. This helps it in giving the skin a glowing look. Adding tea tree oil in your daily regime will not only pave the way for healthier and glowing skin, but it can also help you alleviate issues like insect bites and warts.
Cleans the Skin:
Tea tree oil works as an anti-imperfection solution to achieving a clearer and healthy-looking skin. It helps in opening the pores, loosening up blocked oil and dirt that cause whiteheads, blackheads, painful red breakouts and blemishes.
Moisturizes the skin:
Tea Tree Oils helps in soothing the dry skin by reducing irritation and itching. In a special concentration of mixing it with glycerine, it forms the best product for dry and cracked skin. Mix one or two drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of almond oil or coconut oil. Massage gently into the affected areas, especially on your knees, elbows and heels for lasting relief from dry skin.
Burns and Insect Bites:
As it has anti-inflammatory property, tea tree oil mixed with coconut oil applied on the rash can soothe itching caused by mosquito bites. A mixture of honey with a little tea tree oil does wonders for easing the pain and aids the healing process and reduces scarring.
One of the most common and irritating problems is caused by acne, where the bacteria forms in the pores of the skin by using the oil( sebum) on the face. Tea Tree oil consists of anti-microbial properties which kill the acne-causing germs. It penetrates deep into the pores of the skin, loosens them up and removes all the toxins, preventing clogging. It also reduces inflammation and lightens scars.
Athletes Foot:
To help the burning, itching, inflammation, and scaling associated with athlete's foot, which is a fungal infection, turn to tea tree oil. Research has proven that using a strong 35-50 % solution is used to treat the infection. Application of 25% or 50% tea tree oil solution appears to both relieve symptoms and clear up the infection in about half of people who try it for 4 weeks. It's important to note that too much tea tree oil may cause skin irritations in some people. Instead, add just a drop or two to a carrier oil such as olive oil or rosehip oil—or to a lotion—and apply to the area after washing and thoroughly drying.
Helps the Hair:
Tea tree oil helps open the clogged follicles and acts as a cleanser and conditioner. It can soothe dry scalp and even treat lice. Mixing it with coconut oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil produces tremendous results for cleaning the hair. Tea tree oil is a strong antiseptic and works on removing dandruff. You can mix it with your usual shampoo to reap the benefits.

The Final Verdict:

Tea Tree Oil has many benefits and helps the skin in various ways. It is important to note that this Tea Tree Oil should not be used recklessly and precautions must be taken. Oil shouldn't be applied directly onto the skin. Always dilute the oil with a mixture of other oils such as carrier oils, almond oils etc. The concentration of the oils in the mixtures should be about 5% of the total mix. It shouldn't be used around the eyes as it can lead to partial blindness too. Always make a patch test (where you apply it on a small part of the skin) so that it doesn't have any adverse effects on the skin. IF THE PRODUCT STARTS ITCHING, STOP USING IT AND IF THE PROBLEM PERSISTS, CONSULT A DERMATOLOGIST.

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