Melaleuca Tea Tree Uses – How To Care For Tea Trees In The Garden

Melaleuca Tea Tree Uses – How To Care For Tea Trees In The Garden


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The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small evergreen that likes warm climes. For more information on melaleuca tea trees, including tips on growing a tea tree, read on.

About Melaleuca Tea Trees

Tea trees are native to the warmer regions of Australia where they grow wild in tropical and subtropical swampy areas. You’ll find many different types of tea trees, each with its own dramatic variations in needle and blossom shades.

Melaleuca tea trees attract attention in your garden. Tea tree information suggests that one of the most attractive features is the trunk, with its gorgeous, papery bark.

If you are thinking of growing a tea tree, note that the tree can get 20 feet (6 m.) tall. It spreads out too, to 10 or 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m.) wide. Be sure to site it with enough room to grow, or else keep the pruners handy.

Growing a Tea Tree

If you live where the weather is warm, you can plant melaleuca tea trees in your garden. Otherwise, growing a tea tree in a container is a valid alternative. You can position it in outdoor sun during summer, then move it inside for winter.

When you are growing a tea tree, you may be surprised by how fast your tree develops. Tea tree information tells us that Melaleuca tea trees in warm locations can grow several feet (1 to 2 m.) a season. Tea trees in cooler regions won’t grow as fast.

Your tea tree won’t flower until it has been around for a few years. But when it does, you’ll notice. The blossoms are frothy, and you’ll find a variety of colors available.

How to Care for Tea Trees

When you are learning how to care for tea trees, think warmth. Don’t plant Melaleuca tea trees outside in your garden unless you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8 or above. The trees need sun to thrive, whether they are planted indoors or out. They will not be happy in shade.

As far as soil goes, make sure it drains easily. The plants just won’t thrive if drainage is limited. Grow them in acidic or neutral soil that is moist. Speaking of… don’t forget irrigation. Even outdoor plants need watering during dry spells. For those growing a tea tree in a container, regular irrigation is essential. Tea trees are not one of those potted plants that like drying out between drinks. Keep that soil a bit moist at all times.

Melaleuca Tea Tree Uses

Melaleuca tea tree uses run from ornamental to medicinal. The small trees are lovely additions to a warm-climate garden and also make a lovely potted plant.

The trees also have medicinal uses. Melaleuca tea tree uses center around the essential oil obtained from the leaves and twigs. Herbalists consider tea tree oil an important natural antiseptic.

The oil can be used for treating stings, burns, wounds, and skin infections. It is said to stimulate the immune system and serves as an effective treatment against both bacterial and fungal infections. The essential oil is also used in aromatherapy.


Melaleuca

Melaleuca ( / ˌ m ɛ l ə ˈ lj uː k ə / ) is a genus of nearly 300 species of plants in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, commonly known as paperbarks, honey-myrtles or tea-trees (although the last name is also applied to species of Leptospermum). [2] : 19 They range in size from small shrubs that rarely grow to more than 16 m (52 ft) high, to trees up to 35 m (115 ft). Their flowers generally occur in groups, forming a "head" or "spike" resembling a brush used for cleaning bottles, containing up to 80 individual flowers.

  • BaudiniaLesch. ex DC.
  • BeaufortiaR.Br. in W.T.Aiton
  • BillottiaColla
  • CallistemonR.Br.
  • CalothamnusLabill.
  • ConothamnusLindl.
  • EremaeaLindl.
  • EremaeopsisKuntze
  • GymnagathisSchauer
  • KajuputiAdans.nom. rej.
  • LamarkeaRchb.orth. var.
  • LamarcheaGaudich.
  • ManglesiaLindl.
  • MeladendronSt.-Lag.
  • MelaleuconSt.-Lag. orth. var.
  • MelanoleuceSt.-Lag. orth. var.
  • OzandraRaf.
  • PetraeomyrtusCraven
  • PhymatocarpusF.Muell.
  • RegeliaSchauer
  • SchizopleuraEndl.
  • TrichobasisTurcz.nom. illeg.

Melaleucas are an important food source for nectarivorous insects, birds, and mammals. Many are popular garden plants, either for their attractive flowers or as dense screens and a few have economic value for producing fencing and oils such as "tea tree" oil. Most melaleucas are endemic to Australia, with a few also occurring in Malesia. Seven are endemic to New Caledonia, and one is found only on (Australia's) Lord Howe Island. Melaleucas are found in a wide variety of habitats. Many are adapted for life in swamps and boggy places, while others thrive in the poorest of sandy soils or on the edge of saltpans. Some have a wide distribution and are common, whilst others are rare and endangered. Land clearing, exotic myrtle rust, and especially draining and clearing of swamps threaten many species.


How to Grow Melaleuca Alternifolia Indoors

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The tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia) is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to Australia. Considered easy to grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, this tropical plant can be grown indoors as well with a bit of extra effort. Tea trees typically produce wispy white blooms in the spring and summer, but may not do so when grown indoors. The plants are sometimes capable of self-pollination, but rely on insect pollinators as well. Your plant may not flower unless you set it outdoors during warm weather, so insects can access it. When working with this plant, remember that, although it has many health benefits when properly processed, raw tea tree oil is toxic, and the plant should be grown well out of the reach of children.

Plant the tea tree in a container of well-drained potting soil that is slightly larger than what you think it needs. Tea trees grown indoors need lots of water, and the bigger the container, the more forgiving the tree will be if you forget a watering.

Locate the plant in front of a large, sunny window where it will receive several hours of direct sunlight every day. Cold drafts can cause needle drop, and blasts of warm air will dry the plant, so avoid placing the container too close to both heating and cooling vents whenever possible. If you must place the plant in front of one or the other, choose the heating vent over the air conditioning one.

Place a large but shallow tray filled with small pebbles underneath the tea tree’s container. This tray will serve to catch the drainage when the plant is watered and will increase the humidity level around this tropical plant as that water evaporates. This is especially important if the tree is next to a heat register that may dry it out during cold weather. Make sure that the container is sitting on the rocks and above the waterline at all times to avoid soggy soil and root rot.

Water the tea tree plant as often as needed to keep the soil in the container moist. The specific watering needs of each plant will vary depending upon temperature, soil mixture and other elements of the growing environment, so check your plant daily until you learn its exact watering needs. Never allow the soil around the plant to become dry to the touch. Tea tree plants need lots of water when grown indoors and are not good choices for container gardeners who forget to water regularly.

Fertilize regularly with your favorite liquid organic fertilizer to avoid salt build-up. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s recommended instructions when establishing the feeding routine. Because the tea tree is an evergreen, there is no need to reduce or stop feeding during the winter.

Inspect the trunk and large branches of the plant periodically for mealybugs. If you find any, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the bugs. The bugs will turn pink and die. Spray the tree with neem oil after killing the existing bugs to eliminate further problems.

Prune the tea tree periodically as needed to remove dead or damaged limbs, to shape the plant, and to prevent it from outgrowing its indoor living space.


Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil

Melaleuca oil (Melaleuca alternifolia, or more commonly known as tea tree) has been used for centuries by cultures around the world to soothe. The oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of certain myrtle shrubs and trees, and said to be 12x the purifying strength of phenol. The aroma is pretty distinct, kinda like a cleaner, and herbaceous. It's not my favorite aroma, to be honest, but I suffer through it because it's a really great oil for immune support and cleaning.

Primary Benefits:

Renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin

Promotes healthy immune function

Protects against environmental and seasonal threats

Emotional Benefits

Energetically, Melaleuca oil is said to promote healthy boundaries, specifically in unhealthy or toxic relationships. It not only helps us to step out of codependency (stepping into our own strength and individuality), but also release those connections that have become unbalanced, draining, or stop us from growing. (I know WAY too many people who could use that!)

Of course, it can't do so without helping us to do our own inner work around the patterns we create, encourage, or accept in our relationships and why. In this way it helps us to love ourselves, trust our own abilities, enjoy our own presence, say no when we need to, and honor our needs for respect or love from the right people in our lives.

Complimentary Oils

Melaleuca essential oil blends well with all citrus oils, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Rosemary, and Thyme. In addition to Melaleuca oil, also consider trying Lemon, Oregano, and Arborvitae.

Precautions of Melaleuca Essential Oil

There is more "tea tree oil" on the market than there is plant material to have produced it. This means a large amount of what is called tea tree is either synthetic or adulterated to include synthetics. In addition to this issue, much of the "real stuff" is actually distilled with a chemical distillation process, making it much more precarious to use. Due to this, not all melaleuca oil can be used in the same way as mentioned here. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.

Popular Uses of Melaleuca Essential Oil

For occasional skin irritations, apply 1–2 drops of Melaleuca essential oil onto affected area.

Add 1 drop to a veggie cap to enhance immunity.

Combine 1–2 drops with your facial cleanser or moisturizer for added cleansing properties, or apply to skin after shaving to prevent razor burn.

Apply to fingernails and toenails after showering to purify and strengthen nails.

Add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and use on surfaces to protect against environmental concerns.

Can be used to manage oily skin when applied directly or sprayed on with water.

Inspiration for Using Melaleuca Essential Oil

Natural Deodorant: Combine 1/4 cup of coconut oil, shea butter, and baking soda. Heat until combined. While hot mix in 20 drops Melaleuca and 15 drops Lavender.

Shampoo for Oily Hair: Combine 1/4 cup of coconut oil and liquid castile soap and vegetable glycerin. Once combined stir in 10 drops Melaleuca essential oil.

Foaming Face Wash: Combine the castile soap, Argan oil, and Melaleuca Essential Oil, then place in foamer bottle. To use, wet face and scrub with foaming face wash.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON QUALITY

Not all oils are created equal. Because of a lack of industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is NOT a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants or adulterants (way more common than you'd think).

A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. A good brand should follow these guidelines:

Each plant grown indigenously for the healthiest plant

Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc

Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties

Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules

Third-party testing of every batch

Stand behind the internal use of their oils


How tea tree oil works

It is thought that tea tree oil’s effectiveness comes from two main components terpinene-4-ol and linalool. These compounds are called terpenes and have a variety of therapeutic effect, you can read more on linalool here.

These constituents have been shown to affect the structure of the bacterial cell wall, compromise the cytoplasmic membrane and interrupt transcription of proteins, which stops the bacteria from growing and reproducing, and induces their death (1, 16).

43.8% of the essential oil of Melaleuca contains caryophyllene oxide, a terpene commonly found in lemon balm and Cannabis. (19) In the plant, it serves as an insecticidal/anti-feedant, shielding from herbivores and insects, as well as a broad-spectrum
antifungal to further defend the plant. (20,21) Analogously, caryophyllene oxide demonstrated antifungal efficacy in a model
of clinical onychomycosis (tinea) comparable to ciclopiroxalamine and sulconazole, with an 8% concentration affecting eradication in only 15 days. (22)

The effects of tea tree oil on skin issues are very consistent. It has also been shown in human and mouse studies to be an effective anti-inflammatory to treat histamine induced skin inflammation (1).

Possibly one of the most interesting pieces of information to have been discovered about tea tree oil is its ability to kill strains of the staphylococcus aureus bacteria that are either sensitive or resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. Infections of this type can be extremely difficult to treat, as methicillin is a particularly strong antibiotic.

Two separate studies found that, in the lab, the minimum concentrations of tea tree oil needed to inhibit 90% of s. aureus growth are 0.32% and 0.5% respectively. At these concentrations the tea tree oil solutions were not strong enough to kill the beneficial bacteria that already inhabits our skin, which may help to maintain normal skin flora during treatment (1).
It has been reiterated in several studies from varying disciplines that tea tree oil could be a useful addition to bacterial infection treatment regimens. There are documented accounts of addition of tea tree oil assisting in clearing up chronic infections in human patients effectively, with and without antibiotics, and in less time than anticipated. Much more research is needed, though, before tea tree oil can be used to its full potential (1).

There are difficulties in performing more clinical research on tea tree oil, as the concentrations of compounds within the natural products can vary greatly, the individual ingredients are often complicated and difficult to isolate in a lab setting, and determining any synergistic behaviour can be a mammoth task depending on the number of compounds within the plant. Another big hindrance is the lack of patent control over natural products, which may be a research deterrent to big pharmaceutical companies. However, it can clearly be seen that this wonderful plant could be the hero of the antibiotic resistance crisis that we’ve been looking for, and deserves our attention.


Melaleuca

Melaleuca trichostachya

Melaleuca plants are commonly known as ‘Tea Tree’, ‘Paper Bark Tree’ and ‘Honey Myrtles’ and with a range in the species of nearly 200 they come in forms from low growing (1m) to small to medium sized trees (30m).

Many are garden worthy plants with good green foliage year round and some tall growing with masses of colorful flowers in summer. Others are suited as ground cover plants, M. incana nana being one such variety. It reaches around 1m in height and features small yellow flowers from spring into summer depending on the climate.

Some species are grown commercially for the essential oils, Melaleuca alternifolia is the plant that tea tree oil comes from. Others are grown as windbreaks, hedges and as ornamental plants. Some such as Melaleuca flugens have attractive colourful flowers.

With over 200 species they are related to Callistemon, however they naturally occur in low lying damp areas, often along slow moving streams in coastal situations.

With such a wide ranging natural habitat from tropical Queensland to the Dry areas of Western Australia it is surprising that so many of these plants are adaptable to a range of conditions.

Generally speaking a moist soil and a sunny position are best for Melaleuca. They are a plant that can be pruned to shape. If pruning is carried out from an early stage garden plants can be trained to a nice bushy shape or a hedge. Many species respond to hard pruning as well and will recover from being cut right back.

Although they generally require little fertilizer, Melaleuca plants can cope with a little slow release fertiliser once a years and seem to respond well.

Having attractive foliage and nice flowers as well as being attractive to native birds Melaleuca are popular in native gardens.

Melaleuca flugens

Melaleuca Species

  • M. alternifolia– used for its essential oils, known as Tea Tree, and Narrow Leafed Paper Bark.
  • M. diosmatifolia– also known as the ‘Rosey Paperbark’, purple flowers and from 2 -3 meters, a good garden plant that responds to light pruning from a young age.
  • M. diosmifolia –the green honey myrtle
  • M. ericifolia
  • M fulgens– low growing and known as the ‘Scarlet Honey Myrtle’, used in hybridisation so purple to red flowers are also found. A good garden plant
  • M. incana– from Western Australia 3m with creamy white flowers
  • M. trichostachya
  • M. nodosa– 2 – 3m with bright yellow flowers, a good garden plant
  • M. quinquenervia– a large tree to 25m
Melaleuca styphelioides Prickly Paperbark
  • M. nesophila– from Western Australia also known as the ‘Showy Honey Myrtle’, 3 – 5 metres with purple to red globe shaped flowers from spring through summer. Can be pruned from young to make a good garden shrub
  • M. thymifolia – small shrub to 1m with pink flowers
  • M. halmaturorumalso known as the ‘salt paper bark’,
  • M. hypericifoliaor ‘Red Flowering Paper Bark’ has a slight weeping habit
  • M. styphelioidesor ‘Prickly-Paperbark’ is pictured right.
  • M.viridifolia– A small tree with red flowers.

Risks and Side Effects

Tea tree is generally considered safe when used aromatically and topically and doesn’t cause side effects in most cases. However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s possible that you might experience a reaction. Keep tea tree oil away from your eyes, contact lenses, inner nose and sensitive parts of your skin. This essential oil possesses a sharp camphoraceous odor followed by a menthol-like cooling sensation, which can make your skin feel like it’s slightly burning if you apply too much. Remember that tea tree oil should not be consumed and if you are using it for oral health, it needs to be spit out so that none is swallowed.

When used in topical products at a concentration of 5–10 percent, it normally doesn’t cause allergies or skin rashes, but stronger concentration have been reported to cause dermatitis reactions. In 1999, tea tree oil was added to the North American Contact Dermatitis Group screening panel and test results showed that about 1.4 percent of patients referred for patch testing had a positive reaction to tea tree oil. It’s always a good idea to do a small skin patch test first on your arm or leg to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction before using larger amounts or applying it to your face, chest or neck.

When you are buying tea tree oil, always look for 100 percent pure essential oil. Ideally look for oil that’s therapeutic grade and organic, which ensures it’s been tested and meets all criteria, plus it will be free from chemical toxins, fillers or solvents. You can buy tea tree oil online or in your local health food store.

Light, heat, exposure to air, and moisture all affect oil stability of essential oils, so keep your tree oil stored in dark, cool, dry conditions preferably in a glass container.

Final Thoughts

  • Tea tree oil is a volatile essential oil derived from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It is commonly used in household and beauty products because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The top 8 benefits of tea tree oil include its ability to:
    • fight acne and other skin conditions
    • improve dry scalp
    • soothe skin irritations
    • fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections
    • help prevent antibiotic resistance
    • relieve congestion and respiratory tract infections
    • help treat head lice
    • help treat scabies
    • improve bad breath
  • The top 14 tea tree oil uses include:
    • natural acne fighter
    • improve psoriasis and eczema
    • boost hair health
    • natural treatment for lice
    • natural household cleaner
    • laundry freshener
    • fight toenail fungus and ringworm
    • improve foot odor
    • kill mold
    • natural deodorant
    • protect wounds and cuts
    • natural toothpaste for oral health
    • natural insect repellant
    • cough reliever


Watch the video: Essential oil distillation home made, rosemary - Huile essentielle distillation maison, romarin


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