Common Name: Tea tree
Scientific Name: Melaleuca alternifolia
Synonyms: Narrow-leaved paperbark tea tree, ti-tree, ti-trol and/or melasol
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Tea tree essential oil is a pale-yellowish green to almost clear mobile liquid with a warm spicy, aromatic odour.
Origin and History
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a shrub or small tree which grows up to 5-7m, usually with a single trunk but may have multiple stems originating from a common rootstock. Melaleuca alternifolia is confined to the warmer, wetter, east coast of Australia. It naturally prefers swampy areas, drainage lines and river banks.
The name Melaleuca is derived from the Greek word melos (dark, black) and leukon (white). This name was apparently given to the first species described, M. Leucadendron, which had white papery bark on the higher stems and branches and a black lower trunk. The common name of paperbark refers to the paper-like bark which can often be peeled from the larger trees in broad strips.
Method of Extraction
Tea tree essential oil is water or steam distilled from Melaleuca alternifolia.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Tea tree essential oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and possibly sensitising to some individuals. Tea tree essential oil should always be stored in a dark bottle to prevent the development of para-cymene, known to be a potent skin irritant.
Tea Tree essential oil is a wonderful antiseptic essential oil which can help maintain a healthy and balanced immune system.
Tea Tree essential oil is a deeply cleansing and antibacterial and is useful in inhalations to clear the head and in body skincare blends for problem skin. Tea tree essential oil has a warm, fresh and spicy aroma
Source: Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003, ISBN 0-6464-2896-9 and Lawless, J. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, ISBN 0-00-714518-7.