Obtained from the leaves of the tea tree plant (Malaleuca alternifolia), tea tree oil is a popular ingredient in body lotions, shampoos, soaps and other beauty products. However, its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties have been used to treat dental problems and cleaning post-surgery wounds since the 1920s. Surgeons believed that it was more effective than carbolic acid, the most commonly used antiseptic of that time.[2,3]
Tea tree oil was named by British explorer Lieutenant James Cook in the 1770s when he saw native Australians prepare tea that smelled like nutmeg from the leaves of trees growing along the swampy southeast Australian coast.
A study showed that tea tree oil can significantly reduce acne and though it takes longer to show results, it causes fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide.
Tea Tree Oil For Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an organism called Trichomonas vaginalis. An estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in men and women. Women are most often affected by this disease. Men can also become infected and pass the infection to their partners through sexual contact.
Tea tree oil has antiprotozoal activity. The compound terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil significantly contributes to this activity. A study found that 300mg/ml of tea tree oil killed all the cells of Trichomonas vaginalis. Animal studies also show that tea tree oil may be effective in treating Trichomonas vaginalis infections.
In another study, tea tree oil was found to cause a 50 percent reduction in growth (compared to controls) of the protozoa Leishmania major and Trypanosoma brucei at concentrations of 403 mg/ml and 0.5 mg/ml, respectively.
How To Use It
- Mix 1tbsp of warm olive oil with eight to 10 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl. Put two to three drops of this mixture on the affected area using a sterile dropper. Use it twice a day to clear the infection.
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1. Tea Tree Oil. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; September 2010.
2. Fetrow CW, Avila JR. Professional’s Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.
3. Gruenwald J. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 3rd ed. Montvale, NJ: Thomson PDR; 2004.
4. Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL, Barnetson RS. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8. PubMed PMID: 2145499.
5. Viollon, C., D. Mandin, and J. P. Chaumont. 1996. Activités antagonistes, in vitro, de quelques huiles essentielles et de composés naturels volatils vis á vis de la croissance de Trichomonas vaginalis. Fitoterapia 67:279-281.
6. PENA EF. Melaleuca alternifolia oil. Its use for trichomonal vaginitis and other vaginal infections. Obstet Gynecol. 1962 Jun;19:793-5. PubMed PMID: 14485044.
7. Mikus J, Harkenthal M, Steverding D, Reichling J. In vitro effect of essential oils and isolated mono- and sesquiterpenes on Leishmania major and Trypanosoma brucei. Planta Med. 2000 May;66(4):366-8. PubMed PMID: 10865458.