Long have people used a variety of natural remedies to treat their ailments, with one of the most popular being tea tree oil. It is especially beneficial for treating skin problems and a great alternative to a lot of more conventional medicines that often come with their own side effects. An oil with many uses, some of its most powerful are when being used topically. If you haven’t used tea tree oil before, use this article as a brief introduction to the benefits it can provide.
The Basics About Tea Tree Oil
Found in the leaves of a small tree native to Australia called the Melaleuca alternifolia, also known as the tea tree, it has been used as a traditional medicine by the Aboriginal people for centuries. The most common way they use the leaves is to crush them up to extract the oil, which they then inhale to treat coughs and colds, or applied directly to the skin for healing purposes.
Widely available for purchase in varieties that range from undiluted to 5% – 50% dilutions, it can be found in most natural or health food stores and with many manufacturer options. It’s important to note that tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol that has properties known to kill certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It has also been shown to increase the activity of white blood cells, helping fight germs or other infectious invaders .
Types of Tea Tree Oil
Like most natural remedies, it’s a good idea to purchase products that are 100% pure with no synthetic ingredients added. Organic tea tree oil is the best when available, and with any luck, the origin of the tea tree oil will be printed on the packaging. One of the most important components of tea tree oil is the antiseptic terpinen, so any oil that has 10% – 40% concentration terpinen is an excellent option.
For the Skin
Tea tree oil is powerful and as such, pure tea tree oil should not be applied directly to the skin. It should be diluted with some other type of carrier oil, be it olive, coconut, almond, or hemp. As with most topical treatments, it’s also a good idea for users to try a patch test before wide application of the oil.
After treatment has begun, most people can expect to see results within a few days if not sooner. The entire healing process may take longer, but relief should be almost instantaneous when tea tree oil is involved. It is also an effective preventative treatment and many people choose to continue use long-term to ensure the treated condition doesn’t return.
Dry Skin Conditions
Tea tree oil is excellent for dry skin. It offers fast and effective relief from itchiness and irritation. It has even been shown to work better than some steroid creams in treating conditions like eczema .
You would think that adding oil to oily skin would exacerbate the issue, but in fact tea tree oil has been found effective in helping combat oily skin issues, helping to regulate and maintain healthy oil production in the skin .
Tea tree oil is a strong anti-inflammatory agent making it especially useful in treating and relieving itchy skin conditions. Not only does it soothe the itch, it also helps heal infections and prevent itchy skin from returning .
Just as it can help ease itchiness, the anti-inflammation properties of tea tree oil help it work effectively to calm painful, irritated skin and reduce redness and swelling. Research has shown tea tree oil to be effective in helping heal skin inflamed due to allergic sensitivities .
Infections and Cuts
The terpenes in tea tree oil help make it a powerful healing treatment for wounds. A recent study proved that tea tree oil applied to wounds helped heal them faster, decreasing the overall healing time when compared to conventional treatment .
Hair and Scalp
Tea tree oil is a potent treatment for dandruff. It works to remove chemicals and dead skin cells from the scalp, resulting in refreshed skin and fewer flakes. It also encourages healthy and moisturized hair, helping it grow longer and stronger .
Because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is an effective treatment for acne issues. It helps ease redness and swelling, and may even help and prevent acne scars .
Tea Tree Oil and CBD
Because tea tree oil contains terpenes just as cannabis oil does, it’s easy for these two substances to work cohesively together. One of the biggest benefits of combining CBD and tea tree oil is their unified effect on the body by way of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Since both are able to activate the ECS, they work to enhance each other’s impact on the healing process.
The Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is the system in control of homeostasis within the body. It’s where the body senses and corrects any type of disturbance that may occur internally. The endocannabinoid system functions using three primary elements called endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
The endocannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds found within the human body. These compounds are very similar to the chemical compounds found in cannabis, otherwise known as cannabinoids. Since the two compounds are so molecularly similar, cannabinoids can easily attach themselves to endocannabinoid receptors.
The receptors within the endocannabinoid system are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. When endocannabinoid or cannabinoid compounds attach themselves to the receptors, it allows them to communicate between and within the different systems, helping the ECS maintain homeostasis. The receptors and compounds stay attached to each other until enzymes are introduced to break the connection, thereby stopping the chemical process.
Enzymes within the ECS are introduced after the receptor and endocannabinoid have worked together to achieve the desired level of stabilization in a specific system. Once the change in homeostasis has been corrected, the enzymes attach to the endocannabinoids and break them down.
Because the body’s natural endocannabinoids and the cannabinoids from a cannabis plant are so similar, CBD and other cannabinoids have an opportunity to interact with the human body in a special way. CBD can attach itself to the ECS receptors, effectively dampening or blocking some signals they are sending, or even using itself as a barrier between the receptor and the enzyme, protecting the endocannabinoid attached to it. When tea tree oil is moving along with the powerful cannabinoids of CBD, it has easier access to more quickly affect the system it’s being directed to.
Research has shown tea tree oil to be safe overall, but as with any new treatments, users should be cautious when adding a new supplement to their daily routine. Since tea tree oil is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, it should always be purchased from a reputable company.
- One common safety issue with tea tree oil is its toxicity when consumed. Tea tree oil is meant for topical treatments only and should not be consumed. Tea tree oil should always be stored out of reach of children. If consumed it can cause severe rashes, blood cell abnormalities, stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, hallucinations, confusion, or even coma.
- Tea tree oil should always be used in a dilution with another carrier oil and should never be applied to the skin in its pure form. If not diluted, it could cause contact dermatitis, male prepubertal gynecomastia, or bacteria resistance.
- Skin allergies can be painful and dangerous, so a skin patch test should always be used prior to the first application of tea tree on larger areas of the body. Apply a small drop of the tea tree oil dilution on a small area of the skin, watching it for 24 hours to make sure there is no allergic reaction noticed.
- Research has shown that using tea tree oil on pets may not be safe, so it should be avoided. Some dogs and cats experienced tremors or other nervous system issues after receiving even a small dose of tea tree oil applied to their skin .
Tea tree oil is a fast-acting natural remedy for an assortment of skin conditions. On its own, it’s a powerful remedy for a number of concerns people may have with their skin, but combined with CBD it has the potential to really amp up its effects, making it a force to be reckoned with in terms of healing and relief of skin and pain issues.