A few years ago when selling a friend an intro essential oils kit when his husband referred to them as “snake oils”. I was a little offended as I believe in the efficacy of essential oils, but it turns out there was a bit of truth in his statement.
Who thought to use this Plant for the Oil: The indigenous Bundjalung people of Australia have been using Melaleuca Alternifolia for years medicinally. They use a poultice on wounds, inhale the oils from the crushed leaves for respiratory support and infusions were made to treat skin irritations. These people really paved the way for us today to understand how the difference between a common name and a latin name is quite important. In the case of this particular plant where there are several plants that fall under the “teatree” label, many of which can be poisonous when taken internally. The specific variety Melaleuca Alternifolia seems to be much less controversial. As always, consult with your health care professional and when we are using essential oils When in doubt, Take the Safest Route Be smart, know your body and follow all the safety protocols and dilution rates.
What is Melaleuca: Melaleuca Alternifolia is a variety of TeaTree oil which has been used across the world for centuries, and guess what, according to this website, it is the original “Snake Oil”… who knew? It has over 92 different compounds and what some believe are limitless uses, although, If I was challenged, I’m pretty sure I could find a limit, like probably not a great ice cream topping. Back in the day Pre 1920, Captain James Cook (is anyone else thinking about star trek right now?) used the plant leaves as an infusion tea which is probably where the common name “teatree” came from.
What type of plant is it?: Melaleuca grows all over the world, but is Native to Queensland and New South Whales. The oil is distilled from the leaves of the plant, which is grown to the appropriate height then chopped off for harvest, and then just starts growing again making it a farmers delight. It sure doesn’t seem as finicky as other plants, but in as much it is sure a powerhouse.
When and Where: Teatree in general “is commonly acceptable as an antimicrobial agent to calm and fungal issues of the scalp and feet.” (Schnaubelt, Kurt, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, 2011, p 18) Although wikipedia says this is absolutely not true. Go Figure, there’s a dispute about how to use essential oils. Schnaubelt goes on to say that 1-3 drops of Teatree in a glass of water when drunk multiple times a day can affect cystitis or an inflamed unrinary bladder. (p134) Although wikipedia says it is poisonous when taken internally. I personally base my decision about where to use this oil on the purity of the oils I use and knowing my body well enough to feel when something doesn’t agree with it. But I also believe that the safest option is the best option. Don’t forget to dilute it in a carrier oil. Even if your skin is fine with it today, it might not be fine with it a year from now as skin sensitivities can build up over extended amounts of time increasing from not noticeable initially to extremely painful after multiple exposures. Dilute Dilute Dilute.
One of the things that I absolutely loooovvvveeee to do is put 2 drops of melaleuca in my facial cleanser along with 2 drops of peppermint and give my face, neck and decollate a little massage in the shower. After I rinse it off my face, it is left tingly and great.
Because I am a geek about how things work, but am not a science geek I have read how essential oils can affect a virus, but I just couldn’t picture it in my head. Until, I found this gem of a video, Voila… I now get it. It shows how Oregano and Melaleuca can work together to get inside a virus and kill it.
Which I Found interesting because I recently also came across a study done by Johns Hopkins that was published in the Journal of Infectious Disease and preventative Medicine that outlines how essential oils both in combination with existing antibiotics and without could be the answer to defense against the rise in “super bugs” or antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is proving effective because of essential oils ability to penetrate the walls of a cell and get to the virus. BAM… Take that all you “snake oil” naysayers!!!
Why: I love my melaleuca, here are the top 5 reasons I will reach for it.
- To put in my facial wash
- to zap a blemish on my skin Just roll a little on
- I mix it in a little water and spray the inside of my husbands shoes to get rid of the smell.
- I roll it on the front of my throat the minute it starts to tickle (you know not a good tickle, but the kind when your about to go down and your voice is gone so you can’t even shout about it.)
- I add Melaleuca and lemon to my household surface cleaner. They’re both antibacterial.
How: do I use this lovely oil you ask. Well my favorite thing when I am looking to apply it topically is to use the melaleuca touch which is pre-diluted with a carrier oil in a roller bottle so that it comes safely ready for everyone in your house to use. But because I’m a freak I also have the 15ml bottle of oil that I can use to put drops in my cleaning solutions. Here’s 2 of my favorites.
Throw out Your Comet and use this instead: Super Scrub
- Put 1 cup of baking soda in a mason jar with a flip lid
- Add 10 drops Lemon
- Add 10 drops Melaleuca
- Shake it up and sprinkle wherever you need a little gentle scrubbing action.
Here is the link to the mason jar tops that turn your mason jars into a shaker bottle, They’re freaking awesome. I love that ball and other jar companies are finding ways to make re-useable things for us so that we aren’t creating so much trash. Here’s what it looks like.
Multi Surface Cleaner
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 15 drops Melaleuca
- 15 drops Lemon
Shake and spray on any surface to clean and disinfect.
And here is a link to the glass jars I use for my multi surface spray cleaner they come with chalk labels on them. Otherwise you can get the bottles and labels separately on amazon.
For more power first sprinkle on the baking soda then put the vinegar mixture over the top and it will foam up a bit. Love doing this for the super hard places to get clean. (like dog crates…uggghhh)
Let me know in the comments what your favorite use for Melaleuca Oil is, or what future blog posts you would like to see.
Contraindications of Melaleuca: Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.
That’s it for now, I hope you enjoy