The Wonder from Down Under

Scott holstein

It seems the gods have left behind one piece of evidence to support the truth of their existence: tea tree oil. Practically a panacea, the liquid commonly used in bath salts and body mist also can clear acne, relieve burns, moisten hair and skin, and heal ear infections. The natural substance is an antifungal, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infection oil with the ability to permeate the lower skin layers, mollifying a variety of maladies with its analgesic (pain-killing) and cicatrizant (wound-healing) elements.

The tea tree, Melaleuca altemifolia, is found in New South Wales, Australia, and produces needle-like leaves and fluorescent flowers. The oil is dispensed when the tree is cut down. Extracted by steam distillation, the pale yellow liquid has the consistency of water tied with a strongly pungent evergreen aroma.

For hundreds of years, Australian aborigines have used the leaves of the Malaleuca tree to treat cuts, wounds and skin infections. Adding 60 drops of tea tree oil to your facial wash can help clear acne significantly when used twice daily. Of course, like any medicinal substance, tea tree oil is limited in its uses, and should not be used on deep cuts and wounds, body piercings and tattoos. Recipes for tea tree oil treatments are available online at The variety of health and beauty products shown here can be found at New Leaf Market.

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