Tea Tree Essential Oil Part 1
Recently, I attended the first part of a webinar about Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). It was presented by Robert Tisserand who I like to refer to as the “modern father of aromatherapy.” According to his website, he is “recognized as a…world expert” in the field; his career includes massage therapy, writing, teaching, and product development. But, it is his “track[ing] of all the published research relevant to essential oils…” that I appreciate most about any information I get from Robert. I know that what I learn will be based on scientific data without hype or bias, and with occasional humor! I feel empowered by the current information I learn from him that, in turn, helps me improve my services to others.
Following are a few points (of several discussed so far) about Tea Tree essential oil (eo) that, I think, are interesting:
1. Tea Tree is native to Australia and is cultivated there along the eastern coast line of New South Wales. Approximately 500 tons of Tea Tree eo is produced here through steam distillation. It is also cultivated in China, but this eo has a different chemical composition from the Australian.
2. Tea Tree eo is prone to oxidation. The oxidized essential oil is more likely to cause any allergic reaction; the percentage of people who are allergic to Tea Tree is less than zero.
3. Tea Tree eo is particularly effective against methacillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA) and Candida albicans. The combination of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Tea Tree eos work synergistically against MRSA as well.
4. The antibiotic, Erythromycin, is needed at 256x the minimum concentration of Tea Tree essential oil to be effective against MRSA.
5. Tea Tree eo and the antibiotic, Tobramycin, when used together against MRSA, worked 3x better than Tea Tree eo alone.
I know: pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Tea Tree Essential Oil Part II
I had the opportunity to listen to the rest of Robert Tisserand’s series on Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and I can’t express how much new found amazement I have for this essential oil! This week’s webinar focused on the use of Tea Tree eo to treat issues of oral and skin health, wounds, respiratory infections, and how to deal with difficult-to-treat microscopic pests like mites and lice. The examples of wound-healing were quite impressive! An Australian surgeon named Eugene Sherry has developed a blend of Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Lemon, Clove, and Thyme essential oils that work synergistically to kill bacteria. He used this blend on a patient where infection had set in and traditional antibiotics were not working in order to get it under control. I think it is really exciting to see essential oils being used in this environment with such success. Below are some further points I found important.
1. Tea Tree eo is effective against all 4 of the bacteria that cause Athlete’s Foot.
2. Doctors are also using Tea Tree eo to successfully treat respiratory illnesses such as tuberculosis and acute bronchitis.
3. Tea Tree eo is very useful in oral hygiene; it is effective at relieving bad breath and killing Candida in the mouth.
4. A blend of Tea Tree and Lavender eos was more effective at killing head lice than the chemical alternative, Pyrethrin, which the lice have become resistant to.
5. Exposing dust mites to Tea Tree eo (or even better a combination of Tea Tree, Lemon and Lavender eos) has been shown to kill them. Using this eo blend in cleaning products is a consistent means of reducing their presence in your home every time you clean.
If you’d like to learn more, visit www.roberttisserand.com.
Speaking of Rose…
This is an article I originally wrote for the website www.entwinedcommunity.blogspot.com.
We have a beautiful Rose bush growing outside our family room window. I’ve been watching as first, the buds appeared and then, those beautiful, full flowers bloomed, taking in the sight of each perfect layer of petals and enjoying them every time I walk past. As an aromatherapist and an amateur nature photographer, I am drawn to the Rose like a bee and cannot get enough of it! I find it’s aroma to be like a big hug -soothing and warm- and it’s appearance so pleasing to the eye that I could photograph it all day and never get bored. As the Rose’s place in cultural history attests, I am not alone in my adoration of what Greek poet Sappho called “the Queen of Flowers.” Although it is difficult to grow and vulnerable to pests, 150 million rose plants are purchased each year worldwide. Roughly 85% of Americans say the Rose is their favorite flower.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for their benefits to physical and emotional health. Many, but not all, plants contain essential oils that invite pollinating insects and protect them from pests and disease. We humans also benefit from essential oils’ ability to promote well-being and to fight a wide range of bacterial and fungal species. In Aromatherapy, we use Rose Absolute (a solvent-extraction of the oil) or Rose otto (a steam distillation of the flower’s petals). In either case, it takes pounds of plant material to obtain even the smallest amount of oil: 25-30 roses for one single drop! Due to the amount of work that goes into producing it and the low oil content in the blooms, Rose essential oil commands a high price. It is also highly concentrated: a little oil will go a long way. When I use it in my aromatherapy products, too much of the beautiful scent can quickly become overpowering, and I have found it best to use Rose essential oil in small quantities. It’s high Monoterpenol content makes it, among other things, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and an immune system stimulant. Emotionally, Rose is balancing, it eases feelings of depression or profound sadness, is soothing to the heart, and encourages feelings of love…something it is most commonly associated with.
Rose is a wonderful essential oil for use in skin care products, especially for mature skin, due to its cooling and healing properties. Two to three drops of Rose’s rich, floral aroma in one ounce of an all-natural, unscented lotion make a pampering face or hand lotion. A more affordable option is Rose hydrosol, also known as flower water. This is the water that is collected after distilling Rose otto and it has all of the therapeutic properties of Rose without the high cost. The hydrosol makes a luxurious facial toner to be used after cleansing, to calm the hot flashes of menopause, or any time your skin or mood needs a boost. Add one ounce Rose hydrosol and half an ounce of aloe vera gel to a 2 ounce spray bottle. Fill the bottle with filtered water and shake to combine, making sure to close your eyes while using. Both your skin and your spirit will feel nourished! Nature has given us such a gift in both the beauty of the rose as well as the exquisite essential oil contained within!
I recommend buying essential oils that are distilled from organic or pesticide-free plant material from a supplier that tests their oils and has some training in Aromatherapy. It’s a good idea to seek the expertise of a certified aromatherapist with any questions you may have. If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me through my website or Facebook page.
Essential Oil Profile: Lemon
Lemon is one of my favorite “go to” essential oils. It is a major player in my cleaning products as well as a support to my family’s overall health. It’s bright, clean aroma is a welcome addition to any product.
Lemon’s Latin name is Citrus limon and it belongs to the plant family Rutaceae. Other members of this plant family include oranges, limes, and grapefruits. It is believed that the first lemons were grown in China and India where one of its uses was as an antidote to poison! Lemons were brought to the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and, in the 18thcentury, their Vitamin C content was found to help combat scurvy among sailors. The essential oil of the Lemon (and other citrus fruits) is obtained by cold-pressing the rind. As the essential oils do come from the rind, it’s important to purchase those oils derived from only organic or unsprayed fruit to ensure no pesticides are present.
Lemon essential oil is high in two chemical components: d-limonene and beta-pinene. Limonene has been shown to possess both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, is an expectorant, supports the health of the liver, and has the ability to stop the initiation, and slow the growth of, tumors. Beta-pinene is calming to the respiratory system and supports the immune system when inflammation is present. Additionally, Lemon is effective at relieving nausea, is anti-fungal, an air purifier, and by increasing circulation, can relieve muscle pain. For household cleaning, it can be used as a wood cleaner and polish; I apply 3-5 drops to a dry paper or cloth towel for dusting all surfaces. Lemon oil is also a fabulous degreaser. I love to tell the story of how, while our house was for sale, I spilled red spaghetti sauce on white carpet. Instinctively, I grabbed my bottle of Lemon oil, applied it liberally to the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. All of the sauce came up easily and, afterward, there was no sign anything had been there. Amazing!
On an energetic level, Lemon is uplifting and sunny, reducing tension or depression, and promoting an open energy. It can be added to any essential oil blend you are making that is too heavy with another aroma in order to balance it. A citrus essential oil usually has a shelf life of about 1 to 2 years, if kept in a cool, dark place like a refrigerator. After this period, it can be used in cleaning products, but should not be used on skin as it can cause a rash or other skin irritation. Always remember to avoid the sun for about 12 hours after applying Lemon essential oil to your skin due to the risk of photosensitization.
As you can see, Lemon has many uses and is an important staple of any essential oil collection!
References: Aromahead Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies ACP Manual