Tea tree oil is another one of those multi-purpose, non-toxic remedies that should be in every medicine cabinet and first-aid kit. It's extracted from the leaves of an Australian tree called Melaleuca alternifolia. The oil was nicknamed "tea tree" by Captain James Cook, who used the leaves to make tea during his sailing expedition into the area in the 1770s. There are probably a thousand uses for it.
Here are a few:
- Remarkable antiseptic properties make tea tree oil good for any type of cut, abrasion, rash, or lesion. It can also cure boils, bug bites, nail fungus, cold sores, and blisters.
- Diluted with water (1–2 drops per ounce), it makes an effective facial cleanser or mouthwash.
- Australian researchers concluded that tea tree oil was a valuable alternative to conventional acne therapy. In the U.S., doctors have also used a 15 percent topical solution of tea tree oil mixed with mineral oil for acne.
- For eczema, psoriasis, shingles, sunburn, and muscle aches and pains, mix one part tea tree oil to 10 parts of a high-quality cold-pressed oil, like almond or avocado.
You can find Australian tea tree oil in most health food stores.