In 2006, the world con­sumed more than 3.5 bil­lion gal­lons of oil per day. A lot of that oil has caused envi­ron­men­tal dam­age and con­flicts between nations. But there is one type of oil that’s green, sus­tain­able, healthy, and–as far as I know–has nev­er been the ratio­nale behind a major mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion: tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil, explains the UWA Tea Tree Oil Research Group, is the essen­tial oil steam dis­tilled from the Aus­tralian plant Melaleu­ca alterni­fo­lia (unique to Aus­tralia and native to North­ern New South Wales). Tea tree oil is usu­al­ly clear to very pale gold­en in col­or and it exudes a fresh, cam­phor-like scent.

Kathi Keville of says this oil is often called a “med­i­cine cab­i­net in a bot­tle” and is “effec­tive against bac­te­ria, fun­gi, and virus­es and stim­u­lates the immune sys­tem.” Here are 20 ways to use this mag­i­cal for­mu­la for health and for the home.

But first, two impor­tant notes, cour­tesy of Sheila Shaigany:
*Make sure it comes in a dark glass bot­tle with a drop­per. This will pre­vent light from shin­ing in and reduc­ing the oil’s poten­cy.
*Do NOT ingest it oral­ly.
*Editor’s Note: This arti­cle does not replace med­ical advise.

20 Great Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil

For Health

1. Use a dab to treat acne.
2. An anti-fun­gal for treat­ing Athlete’s Foot, eczema, var­i­ous yeast infec­tions, etc.
3. An anti­sep­tic to be used on cuts and burns.
4. An anti-viral: it may lessen the symp­toms of colds and flu. Try using a few drops in the bath.
5. Add to a vapor­iz­er to loosen chest con­ges­tion.
6. Add a small amount to sham­poo to destroy head lice.
7. A small amount added to your bath can help with per­sis­tent body odor.
8. Treat­ing sinus infec­tion.
9. For dan­druff and dry scalp.
10. In the form of aro­mather­a­py, tea tree oil is used to treat colds, per­sis­tent coughs, acne, toothaches, and sun­burn.

For Clean­ing

11. To cre­ate an all-pur­pose clean­er, com­bine 2 tea­spoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bot­tle.
12. Anoth­er ver­sion would be 14 ounces of water with 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
13. Mix the above solu­tion with kosher salt to scrub bath­tub and bath­room tiles.
14. Add a few drops to dish­wash­er dis­penser, then fill with a green dish­wash­ing soap.
15. A few drops added to each load of laun­dry leave your clothes smelling clean­er.
16. Con­trol mold with a tea tree oil/water spray.
17. Remove musti­ness with that same tea tree oil/water spray.
18. To keep germs at bay, spray it on high chairs, car seats, and oth­er high traf­fic spots.
19. 15 drops in a quart of water can be an effec­tive insect repel­lent.
20. Be sure to take some with you when hik­ing and camp­ing to put direct­ly on insect bites or blis­ters.

Plan­et Green is the mul­ti-plat­form media des­ti­na­tion devot­ed to the envi­ron­ment and ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing peo­ple under­stand how humans impact the plan­et and how to live a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able lifestyle. Its two robust web­sites, and, offer orig­i­nal, inspir­ing, and enter­tain­ing con­tent relat­ed to how we can evolve to live a bet­ter, brighter future. Plan­et Green is a divi­sion of Dis­cov­ery Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

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