Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) comes from the evergreen leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It can be found in many products, including creams and essential oil.
Some people use tea tree oil for insect bites and conditions like acne, athlete's foot, or nail fungus. But so far there isn't clear proof from science that using tea tree oil is helpful with these or other health problems.
Tea tree oil applied to the skin is thought to be safe for most people. But some people develop an allergic rash.
Tea tree oil is not safe to take by mouth. It is not recommended for use in the ears, because it may cause damage to the inner ear.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate tea tree oil in the same way it regulates medicines. It can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative product or if you are thinking about combining one with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative product.
Current as of: September 8, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine