Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Like Tweet

Tea Tree Oil Can Do What?!

Like many other cloth diapering mamas out there, I like to look for natural solutions to common issues that come up in our family. Iʼve tried to limit my sonʼs exposure to chemicals by feeding him organic food, using all-natural baby wash, trying to avoid antibiotics, and of course - using cloth diapers! On the spectrum of "granola crunchiness" I would say weʼre probably somewhere in the middle. We do a lot of things that some people think are weird (rain barrel, composting, etc), but I draw the line at going too far ("Family Cloth" anyone? No thanks, I like toilet paper just fine!). I never really got into a lot of the essential oils stuff simply because I didnʼt really have a pressing need to learn about them. Until my son struggled through a yeast infection last year and I did some research on natural cures. Tea tree oil kept popping up and I decided to give it a shot at our problem.

I was surprised to read that using tea tree oil antiseptically dates all the way back to traditional aboriginal folk medicine. Its widespread recognition as an antimicrobial agent came about through use in the Australian army. The history of tea tree oil is interesting and worth a little googling if you find yourself with time to kill on the internet. (Or you could watch puppies on a live webcam which is apparently a popular enough pastime to make it onto the NBC Nightly News. Who knew!)

Anyways, after reading about how effective tea tree oil could be in fighting our yeast scenario, I put it to the test and was pleased to find that it worked! It took a combination of things to kick the main yeast explosion to the curb (you can read about that here: http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/search/label/Yeast), but ever since then, if I see a hint of red dots, just a swipe of tea tree oil on a fingertip clears it right up!

Ever since that first exposure to this little wonder, I have found it to have several other very helpful uses that might be interesting to you all!

* Bye-bye triple antibiotic ointment! Little cuts, scrapes and abrasions could all benefit from a good wash with soap, followed by a few drops of tea tree oil!
* Acne blaster! I wish I had grown out of this embarrassment, but Iʼm pregnant again and this lovely little condition has revisited me. After washing my face, I put 2ish drops of tea tree oil in my palm, 1 drop of vitamin E oil, a few sprinkles of water (to make it more spreadable), then rub palms together and spread on face. In the morning I just splash a bit of water on my face to freshen up and donʼt need any moisturizer! (warning - thereʼs no SPF.) Iʼve also put a bit right on a particularly troublesome spot. Tea tree oil has a tingly, somewhat drying feel on the skin (sort of menthol-ish) and kills the bacteria causing the pore infection. A good scrub preceding the treatment helps clear gunk out of pores too.
* Baby bum freshener! When my son gets a little red in the nooks in crannies, I rub a drop or two into the cracks to freshen them up. It also makes his bum not smell so...like a bum...
* Diaper wash sanitizer! If you want to de-germ-ify your diaper wash but donʼt want to use bleach, a little bit of tea tree oil can be just the thing. Make sure you donʼt go overboard because it is still an oil, even though it has a "drier" feel than most oils. Just a few drops in a load will freshen it up nicely!
* Wipes solution funk fighter! If you make a big batch of wipes solution at a time, after a few days the container might start to smell musty, if you keep it closed up tight. This is especially true if you use a wipes warmer - funk likes to grow in that warm, moist environment! Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your solution will keep things antifunk-ified and fresh!

There are many other household uses that could be listed for tea tree oil! These are the ones that I use most often. How have you used tea tree oil? Post a comment and let us know!

- by Stephanie Gossett

14 comments:

Jenica said...

When I was younger and had piercings, I used tea tree oil to clean them! Since it's an antiseptic I never got infections.

Knit Wit said...

I need to try this stuff out! Sounds like one of those wonder all natural products, thanks for posting about this.

Anonymous said...

Tee Tree oil is great! It is good for athletes foot and as an antiseptic. But recently I found the article linked below about the dangers of using tee tree oil diluted in diaper wash....
http://everythingbirth.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/the-truth-about-tea-tree-oil-and-cloth-diapers/

"Let me explain to you the science behind tea tree oil as an antiseptic. TTO will kill most normal bacteria at even 1 percent dilution. However, thanks to western medicine, most bacteria is no longer “normal bacteria.” These days our every day run of the mill bacteria is the super strong and resistant to nearly everything. Unfortunately, tea tree kills most staph it touches, but not all of the staph that it touches when it’s diluted. This is the same recipe for disaster that antibiotics have caused. If a weapon against bacteria touches it, but only maims it, that bacterium rebuilds itself and then goes and tells all its bacteria friends how to defeat that weapon. (If anyone watches Star Trek, bacteria is like The Borg.)"

KPS...

Gretchen said...

Tea tree oil is wonderful stuff! I have been using a mixture of tea tree oil and baking soda, with a few drops of lavendar, as diaper pail freshener. Works great for us!

chariswolfbaine said...

You should NEVER use TTO undiluted on the skin!

allieb said...

I think our little girl is going to start crawling soon so I scrubbed our wood floors with a water tea tree oil mix to make sure they are extra clean!

Sarah Schulz said...

We routinely use tea tree oil for pimples. It dramatically reduces the life span of a pimple!

But I will admit to using tea tree oil on my OWN yeast infections. Yes, it's that bad and I'm that desperate. Soak a tampon in TTO and there you go!

Kelly said...

So Tea Tree Oil is okay to use with CD's? I would think an oil would create a barrier and cause the water to repel. If not I'm hoping on and ordering me some tea tree oil now.

swarlop40 said...

I have found that putting Tea Tree Oil on after you shave your bikini line gets rid of the horrible razor burn. I have always gotten razor burn really bad after shaving but not anymore. I do use the oil from Melaleuca though and it is a higher concentrate then most too! Let me know if you want to try it out!

One Sassy Mama said...

You're comment on "family cloth" made me laugh. I am so there as well & the idea really trashes me out for some reason.

Aside from that, this post on the benefits of tea tree oil was really interesting. I definitely want to incorporate some of your suggestions now.

Myn and Lu said...

Thanks for this! I've used it for acne as well, and I have another use for it..I put it in my homemade deodorant (how's that for granola?!). I mix baking soda, coconut oil, and a few drops of TTO together to form a pliable solid, and that's it. I live in the deep south, and it works for me. It's a good way to cut down on cost and get rid of one more chemical laden item in your house. :)

Tiffany Law said...

Thank you for doing so much research! I just began adding some to my wipes solution and making smaller batches.

Natural Momma said...

My girls are allergic to TTO but if there is just a bit in some diaper balm it is okay (they'll still get a bit red). I cannot use this as a form of treatment for yeast and my baby is the QUEEN of yeast. We have to use Lotrimin Ultra & Cortisone to kick it, nothing else works for her.

Tawnya said...

Great tip for the wipes. I have a bottle because my niece came down with head lice and I was told it would be helpful in treating it. (It's been awhile back and I don't remember how well it worked, but worth trying if you're at your wits end in battling those insidious pests).