Essential oils are the super concentrated extractions of plants. They might come from the leaves, stems, ﬂowers or seeds. Different plants give different amounts of oil, so expect authentic oils to cover a broad price range. It takes one ton of rose petals to produce a single ounce of rose oil, so expect it to cost hundreds of dollars per bottle; however, lavender oil is very inexpensive by comparison for the exact same amount of oil. Most plants do not yield essential oils that are safe for use; however, of the few dozen that do, tea tree oil is amongst the most versatile, and is also one of the most affordable.
Tea tree oil has an aroma resembling a combination of eucalyptus and menthol. As with all essential oils, tea tree oil should be used in trace amounts and usually diluted in carrier oils (e.g. almond, avocado, jojoba, etc.) or large quantities of water. Because tea tree oil and other essential oils are so concentrated, you will need only a few drops to enjoy their beneﬁts.
Tea tree oil has powerful antimicrobial properties. It is also very soothing. Before reaching for over-the-counter products that might be contributing to the superbug phenomenon, experiment to see if natural products can work for you.
For mosquito bites, dab a single drop of tea tree oil on your ﬁnger and gently massage the affected area. If you have a mild sunburn, put ﬁve drops of tea tree oil into a gallon of tap water. Using a hand towel or sponge, softly pat the liquid over the area and allow it to evaporate off the skin. In the instance of athlete’s foot or jock itch, wash the areas and then dry them thoroughly. Rub three to ﬁve drops of tee tree oil into the palms of your hands, and then lightly pat the oil onto the affected areas. Paul Mitchell makes a hair and body moisturizing lotion that is also helpful. Be sure to wash the area frequently and to change socks and undergarments after each bathing. It can also help to change out your bedsheets and to mist the bedsheets with a solution of tea tree oil. Place 10 drops of tea tree oil into a water bottle with a spritzing handle. Mist the bed sheets and allow them to air dry. This can also keep the bedding smelling fresh.
Tea tree oil is also good for oral hygiene and sore throats. It won’t taste pleasant at all, so fair warning. Put ﬁve drops of tea tree oil into eight ounces of water. Swish the full glass, one mouthful at a time, to rinse teeth after brushing. Conversely, you could gargle the water to help sooth a sore throat. As a side note, peppermint essential oil is helpful for cold sores.
If you have dandruff or an itchy scalp, rub several drops of tea tree oil into your palms and massage your scalp. Do not get essential oils in or around the eyes! Leave it in for a few minutes, and then wash and rinse your hair. Do this at each shower until your symptoms go away. You might also consider trying Paul Mitchell’s tea tree oil hair products.
Essential oils, when used properly, are an eco-friendly and affordable way to improve or maintain your comfort and well being. They don’t replace medicine, but when you can use them, consider the beneﬁts of natural aromatherapy.
info: Jack Kirven completed the MFA in Dance at UCLA, and earned certification as a personal trainer through NASM. His wellness philosophy is founded upon integrated lifestyles as opposed to isolated workouts. Visit him at jackkirven.com and integre8twellness.com. He is also a former staff writer for qnotes.