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Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, a recent Australian import, is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a native tree of New South Wales. Aborigines chewed the leaves for colds and drank a tea of them for general sickness. The oil is a powerful disinfectant and most useful herbal remedy. It is a clear liquid, strongly aromatic, with an odor similar to that of eucalyptus. Tea tree oil is a good treatment for fungal infections of the skin (athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch). It will also clear up fungal infections of the toenails or fingernails, a condition notoriously resistant to treatment, even by strong systemic antibiotics. You just paint the oil on affected areas two or three times a day. Tea tree oil is nontoxic. Apply it full strength to boils and other localized infections. A ten percent solution (about one and a half tablespoons to a cup of warm water) can be used to rinse and clean infected wounds with good results. The same solution makes an effective vaginal douche for treatment of both yeast and Trichomonas infections, but some women may find it irritating. Tea tree oil is available in most health-food and herb stores. Make sure that the label says it is pure.