From bath oil, to incense, to folk medicine traditions, Tea Tree is found in many homes across the world. It’s sold as both a natural remedy and as a simple scent to add to oil burners or incense. It even has some additional uses such as mixing with water to create a cleaning agent. But what is it and how is Tea Tree oil made?
Here we’re going to investigate not only what tea tree oil is and how it’s commonly used, but also go one step further and explain the process in which it’s harvested. So that you can know exactly what Tea Tree oil is and decide for yourself if it’s something you want to use.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Most people assume that because of it’s name it’s derived from the same plant that’s used to make common teas but that actually isn’t the case. Tea Tree Oil is made from the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca Alternifolia which is common in places like Queensland and New South Wales. Numerous different things are made with oils, including fragrances, cleaning products, and so, so much more.
The oil itself is toxic if ingested orally in large amounts although it’s often used to treat skin conditions or irritants with no perceived side effects. However, even though it’s known to be an antiseptic, it’s effectiveness as legitimate medicine is unproven.
Pure Tea Tree oil is rare to find as there’s usually some concentration of water mixed in to keep the solution a bit more manageable.
How Is Tea Tree Oil Made?
This oil is harvested from the Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia plant) through a process known as steam distillation. Basically, the leaves are blasted with steam to release oil then the oil evaporates with the steam and they are separated in vats.
First the leaves of the plant are harvested and put into distillation bins. From there they are sealed and met with a low-pressure steam.
This causes the oil glands within the Tea Tree leaves to burst, causing the oil to mix with the vapors. The vapors are then condensed with cold water until the tea tree oil and water mixture become liquid again.
From there the oil and water mixture is put into a large vat. Naturally these two things don’t mix so the oil floats to the top of the vat, separate from the water, and is ready for collection.
Once this process is completed the oil is filtered and cooled and ready for every day use!
When dealing with Tea Tree oil directly you are going to want to wear gloves to avoid accidental ingestion. If you are planning on distilling it yourself you might also want to wear a pear of goggles as the vapor can become an irritant as well.
Why Use Tea Tree Oil?
Tea Tree Oil has been hailed for a very long time as a powerful antiseptic, commonly used to treat skin conditions such as rashes or dandruff. Although the oil itself is not acknowledged to be a medical product.
It also simply smells great. Another common household use is applying small amounts of it to candles or oil burners to release a pleasant and relaxing scent.
There’s many other alleged uses for this product such as mixing it with water to create a more natural cleaning solution or even to make a mosquito repellant.
Now that you know how is tea tree oil made or what it is, you can go ahead and enjoy it. It’s often praised for it’s natural properties and for good reason. From the leaves it grows on to the common water-based process of extracting it, you’re bound to be left feeling good.