Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree found in Australia and has been traditionally used as an antiseptic and antifungal treatment.

What are the health benefits of tea tree oil?

Research has shown that tea tree oil is effective in assisting in the management of the following three conditions:

  • Athlete’s foot (when used in high doses). At lower doses, it may assist in the relief of symptoms of this condition including inflammation, itching, burning, and scaling.
  • Fungal toe nail infections
  • Mild to moderate acne

Tea tree oil may also have a number of other uses, and is believed to be effective in assisting in the management of burns, lice, sore throats, ear infections, and scabies.

Tea tree oil is sometimes added to bath water to assist in the relief of coughs, congestion, and respiratory inflammation.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

Tea tree oil is usually applied to the skin, and not ingested. It is thus not part of the diet.

The following dosages should be applied to the skin in order to effectively treat the respective conditions:

  • Athlete’s foot: Apply a 10%, 25% or 50% solution of tea tree oil twice a day for a month
  • Toe nail fungus: A solution of 100% tea tree oil should be applied twice a day for a period of six months
  • Mild acne: A 5% tea tree oil gel should be applied daily

Consult with your Clicks pharmacist regarding correct dosages.

Warnings

Tea tree oil is not safe to be taken orally.

Those with acne may experience dry skin, redness, burning, itching, and stinging when using tea tree oil.

In prepubescent boys, applying products that combine tea tree oil and lavender oil may have disruptive hormonal effects that can result in abnormal breast growth.

Tea tree oil used on the skin is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but not when ingested by mouth.

Possible side effects

Tea tree oil is generally safe and without major side effects, however, some people might experience allergic reactions like skin irritation and swelling, especially when applied for the first time.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

This medicine has not been evaluated by the Medicines Control Council. This medicine is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in September 2015