Tea tree is a small tree with needle-like leaves and small yellow or purple flowers, native to Australia but now also grown commercially in China. It has been used traditionally by aboriginal peoples in Australia for thousands of years, for its powerful anti-microbial effects. Tea tree essential oil from China is the most economical but somewhat harsher than Australian which has a wider antimicrobial profile, higher levels of active ingredients and is generally considered best quality. The sharp, medicinal aroma does not appeal to everyone and a good alternative is Manuka Essential Oil which is just as effective but has a warmer, sweeter aroma. Botanical Family: Myrtaceae. Tea Tree essential oil is best known for its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. It is often found added to commercial products for various skin conditions such as fungal nail infections, spots and dandruff. It is a useful tool for battling foot odour in shoes, cause by microbial activity. It is best suited to oily skin types with open and blocked pores. Some websites will suggest that tea tree oil can be used neat on the skin. Please do not do this as it may cause irritation or sensitisation. Essential oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin, no matter how pure they are.
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