An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Tea Tree, Australian - Melaleuca alternifolia - family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family).
This is a small evergreen tree that grows to about fifteen feet high. It has a papery bark. It has pointed oval-shaped leaves and produces cream-colored flowers in the spring and summer. The flowers are followed by woody capsules which contain its seeds. Aborigines of Australia traditionally used a tea of Melaleuca leaves for treatment of general sickness, infections and for colds and coughs. They also used the crushed leaves as a poultice for abrasions, boils, cuts and sores. Sometimes the leaves are also used in a poultice or a lotion for acne. Tea Tree oil is made from a distillation of the tree's leaves. Essential oil is used in aromatherapy. The Tea Tree oil is being marketed in America in medicated lotions to alleviate a variety of ailments including acne, arthritis, chapped hands, dandruff, diabetic foot ulcers, fungal infections, gum disease, head lice, insect bites, rashes, sore throat, sunburn, psoriasis, ringworm, vaginal infections and warts. Note: use oil internally with caution due to potential toxicity. Native to Australia. Cultivated in Australia for its essential oil.
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Web page last updated on 25 May 2003.