The next time you head to the drugstore, be sure to add tea tree oil to the top of your list. With its ability to cure everything from poison ivy rashes to acne, this oil is up there with magic when it comes to natural remedies. An Australian plant extract, tea tree oil acts as both a topical antibacterial and an antimicrobial agent. While we even use it to clean our yoga mats, here are the three reasons why this powerful oil is the star of our medicine cabinet.
- Heals cuts and burns: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, meaning it can be used to help treat wounds and burns. Although large clinical studies are lacking, a study done by the National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) found that tea tree oil can be used for the treatment or wounds and bacterial infections; something the aboriginal people of Australia have believed for years. Try using a small amount of tea tree oil to heal razor burns, small cuts, and even sunburns. You can even dilute it a bit with water, since the oil can be quite potent!
- Clears blemishes: Tea tree oil is famed for its skin-clearing abilities. In fact, one study found that a tea tree oil gel offers similar results to a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide. Although it probably won't clear severe acne, it's an alternative solution to harsh chemicals and alcohol for the occasional blemish or two.
- Relieves athlete's foot: Tree tree can be known to cure all your flip flop woes. Because it's an antifungal, it's known to relieve symptoms of athlete's foot, including scaling, inflammation, itching, and burning. To completely rid the infection naturally, a stronger tea tree oil solution (25 percent or 50 percent) is likely to work best. You can also use it to fight nail infections. It will take time, but applying a tea tree oil solution, twice daily for six months, can cure fungal toenail infection and improve the appearance of nails.