Tea Tree Oil News

August 18, 2013 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The hair and skin care aisles of most health food stores are stocked with multiple creams, ointments and shampoos containing tea tree oil (TTO). In fact, the popularity of this native Australian export has even made its way into many mass market products. The crossover appeal of TTO is largely due to its documented antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. In terms of practical applications, you’re likely to find TTO in remedies intended for acne prone skin, flakey scalps, gingivitis, toe nail infections and much, much more. But, just because tea tree oil is already well established in the beauty and health care sectors, doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to learn about it.

The research I’m focusing on today is exclusively based on peer reviewed studies published in 2012 and 2013 involving human subjects. The latest findings reveal that tea tree oil: a) is an effective treatment for ocular demodicidosis, an irritating mite infestation affecting the eyelids; b) may hasten wound healing when combined with conventional treatment; c) promotes “earlier response” in the treatment of androgenic alopecia or “male pattern baldness” – although, this condition is also apparent in some women; d) conversely decreases idiopathic hirsutism, abnormal hair growth in young women; e) reduces hemorrhoid severity and symptoms when applied as part of a combination gel (Proctoial), also containing hyaluronic acid and methyl-sulfonyl-methane or MSM. Along with all of the positive news was at least one recent failure involving tea tree oil. A group of Irish researchers reported that a 5% TTO body wash failed to significantly curtail methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in a hospital setting. While disappointing, the poor result may be, in part, due to the low concentration of TTO used in the test product. Other studies have employed TTO products that contain 50% or higher concentrations as an active ingredient.

As promising as the current batch of research is, I suspect the near future will yield even brighter data on tea tree oil. There’s a considerable amount of emerging data about incorporating technologies such as liposomes and nanoparticles to improve the delivery of TTO oil while, at the same time, requiring lower dosages be used. This is of interest for two reasons. Firstly, TTO has a rather strong smell which isn’t familiar and/or pleasant according to many users. Secondly, using the smallest effective dosage minimizes the chance of adverse reactions. This is true of medications and natural remedies alike. So, keep an eye out for new and improved tea tree oil products in the coming years. And, in the meantime, consider this valuable essential oil if you have any issue that requires an all-natural antimicrobial agent.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – A Review of Applications of Tea Tree Oil in Dermatology (link)

Study 2 – Ocular Demodicidosis as a Risk Factor of Adult Recurrent Chalazion(link)

Study 3 – Treatment of Ocular Itching Associated w/ Ocular Demodicosis by 5% (link)

Study 4 – The Effect of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia) on Wound Healing (link)

Study 5 – Preparation & Evaluation of a Multimodal Minoxidil Microemulsion (link)

Study 6 – Possible Efficacy of Lavender & Tea tree Oils in the Treatment of Young (link)

Study 7 – Efficacy and Tolerability of Hyaluronic Acid, Tea Tree Oil & MSM (link)

Study 8 – Tea Tree Oil (5%) Body Wash Versus Standard Care (Johnson’s Baby (link)

Study 9 – Antimicrobial Efficacy of Liposome-Encapsulated Silver Ions & Tea Tree (link)

Study 10 – Antifungal Activity of Nanocapsule Suspensions Containing Tea Tree Oil (link)

Tea Tree Oil Treatment Ameliorates Ocular Demodicidosis

Source:  J Korean Med Sci. 2012 Dec;27(12):1574-9. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Men's Health, Women's Health

6 Comments & Updates to “Tea Tree Oil News”

  1. JP Says:

    Update 05/31/15:


    Indian J Dent. 2014 Oct;5(4):183-9.

    Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of garlic, tea tree oil, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, and ultraviolet sanitizing device in the decontamination of toothbrush.

    OBJECTIVE: To assess and compare the efficacy of 3% garlic extract, 0.2% tea tree oil, 0.2% chlorhexidine, 0.05% cetylpyridinium chloride, and ultravoilet (UV) toothbrush sanitizing device as toothbrush disinfectants against Streptococcus mutans.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A double blind randomized controlled parallel study was done on 210 dental students. The subjects were divided into one control group using distilled water and five study groups representing 0.2% tea tree oil, 3% garlic extract, 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate, 0.05% cetylpyridinium chloride and UV toothbrush sanitizing device. Participants were provided with new toothbrushes and toothpastes for both baseline and intervention phases. The toothbrushes were collected after two weeks for microbial analysis in both phases. The data were analysed and compared using appropriate statistical analysis.

    RESULTS: On comparing pre- and post-intervention, S. mutans colony counts, a highly significant (P < 0.001) difference was observed in all the groups. Differences of 77.74 colony forming units (CFU) in tea tree oil group, 102.87 CFU in garlic group, 68.13 CFU in chlorhexidine group, 82.47 CFU in cetylpyridinium group and 42.67 CFU in UV toothbrush sanitizer group were observed. Garlic group showed the highest reduction (100%) whereas UV toothbrush sanitizer group showed the least reduction (47.4%) in S. mutans colonies. CONCLUSIONS: The antimicrobial agents used in this study effectively reduced the S. mutans counts and hence can be considered as toothbrush disinfectants to prevent dental caries. The 3% garlic was the most effective among the antimicrobial agents. Be well! JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update 05/31/15:


    Contemp Clin Dent. 2014 Oct;5(4):466-70.

    Comparative antiplaque and antigingivitis effectiveness of tea tree oil mouthwash and a cetylpyridinium chloride mouthwash: A randomized controlled crossover study.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the antiplaque and antigingivitis effects of a mouthwash containing tea tree oil (TTO) with a cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) mouthwash.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a randomized 4 × 4, controlled, cross-over, involving 20 healthy volunteers in a 5-day plaque re-growth model. Test mouthwashes were TTO (Tebodont(®)) and a mouthwash containing CPC 0.05% (Aquafresh(®)). A 0.12% chlorhexidine (CHX) mouthwash (Oro-Clense(®)) was used as positive and colored water (placebo [PLB]) as negative controls. Gingival bleeding index (GBI) and plaque index (PI) scores were recorded before and after each test period. Test periods were separated with 2 weeks washout period.

    RESULTS: All four mouthwashes significantly (P < 0.001) reduced the GBI scores when compared to the baseline GBI scores. There was no significant difference between PLB and active mouthwashes in the GBI scores. CHX and CPC mouthwashes were found more effective in reducing the PI scores than TTO and PLB mouthwashes. There was no significant difference in PI scores of CHX and CPC mouthwashes. CONCLUSION: 0.05% CPC mouthwash can be an alternative to CHX mouthwash since it is alcohol free and found as efficient as CHX in dental plaque reduction with lesser side effects. More studies are needed to test antigingivitis effects of the mouthwashes used in this study, preferably without initial scaling and polishing. Be well! JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update 05/31/15:


    J Indian Soc Periodontol. 2014 May;18(3):316-20.

    A comparative study of antiplaque and antigingivitis effects of herbal mouthrinse containing tea tree oil, clove, and basil with commercially available essential oil mouthrinse.

    BACKGROUND: The relatively safe nature and cost-effectiveness of herbal extracts have led to a resurgent interest in their utility as therapeutic agents. Therefore, this prospective, double-blind, randomly controlled clinical trial was designed to compare the antiplaque and antigingivitis effects of newly formulated mouthrinse containing tea tree oil (TTO), clove, and basil with those of commercially available essential oil (EO) mouthrinse.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty patients were selected for a 21-day study period and randomly divided into two groups. The test group patients were given newly formulated herbal mouthrinse and the control group patients were given commercially available EO mouthrinse. The Plaque Index (PI), Gingival Index (GI), and Papillary Marginal Attachment (PMA) Index were recorded at baseline, 14 days, and 21 days. The microbial colony forming units (CFU) were assessed at baseline and 21 days.

    RESULTS: Test group patients using herbal mouthrinse showed significant improvement in GI (0.16), PI (0.57), and PMA (0.02) scores. These improvements were comparable to those achieved with commercially available EO mouthrinse. However, the aerobic and anaerobic CFU of microbiota were reduced with the herbal mouthrinse (P = 0.0000).

    CONCLUSION: The newly formulated herbal mouthrinse and commercially available mouthrinse were beneficial clinically as antiplaque and antigingivitis agents. Newly formulated mouthrinses showed significant reduction in microbial CFU at 21 days. So, our findings support the regular use of herbal mouthrinse as an antiplaque, antigingivitis, and antimicrobial rinse for better efficacy.

    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/15:


    Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jun 2;12(6):6319-32.

    An evaluation of antifungal agents for the treatment of fungal contamination in indoor air environments.

    Fungal contamination in indoor environments has been associated with adverse health effects for the inhabitants. Remediation of fungal contamination requires removal of the fungi present and modifying the indoor environment to become less favourable to growth. This may include treatment of indoor environments with an antifungal agent to prevent future growth. However there are limited published data or advice on chemical agents suitable for indoor fungal remediation. The aim of this study was to assess the relative efficacies of five commercially available cleaning agents with published or anecdotal use for indoor fungal remediation. The five agents included two common multi-purpose industrial disinfectants (Cavicide® and Virkon®), 70% ethanol, vinegar (4.0%-4.2% acetic acid), and a plant-derived compound (tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil) tested in both a liquid and vapour form. Tea tree oil has recently generated interest for its antimicrobial efficacy in clinical settings, but has not been widely employed for fungal remediation. Each antifungal agent was assessed for fungal growth inhibition using a disc diffusion method against a representative species from two common fungal genera, (Aspergillus fumigatus and Penicillium chrysogenum), which were isolated from air samples and are commonly found in indoor air. Tea tree oil demonstrated the greatest inhibitory effect on the growth of both fungi, applied in either a liquid or vapour form. Cavicide® and Virkon® demonstrated similar, although less, growth inhibition of both genera. Vinegar (4.0%-4.2% acetic acid) was found to only inhibit the growth of P. chrysogenum, while 70% ethanol was found to have no inhibitory effect on the growth of either fungi. There was a notable inhibition in sporulation, distinct from growth inhibition after exposure to tea tree oil, Virkon®, Cavicide® and vinegar. Results demonstrate that common cleaning and antifungal agents differ in their capacity to inhibit the growth of fungal genera found in the indoor air environment. The results indicate that tea tree oil was the most effective antifungal agent tested, and may have industrial application for the remediation of fungal contamination in residential and occupational buildings.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/15:


    Clin Lab. 2015;61(1-2):61-8.

    Antimicrobial effect of Australian antibacterial essential oils as alternative to common antiseptic solutions against clinically relevant oral pathogens.

    BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to examine the in vitro antibacterial activity of different oils in comparison to antiseptics against oral microorganisms.

    METHODS: The antimicrobial effect of tea tree oil (TTO), eucalyptus oil (EO), lemon grass oil (LGO), and a eucalyptus-based oil mixture (MXT) were tested in comparison to chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX), povidone-iodine (BTA), and octenidine dihydrochloride (OCT). Oral bacterial strains and candida species using the agar diffusion test were used for the antimicrobial study.

    RESULTS: All tested oils showed antimicrobial potency against the tested biological indicators. In comparison of all tested substances the largest effective zones were measured for LGO, followed from MXT and CHX. TTO and EO were less effective against the tested microorganisms followed from BTA.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study show that some essential oils have better antimicrobial properties than standard oral antiseptics. In a follow-up step, the ideal concentrations, the composition of essential oils, and the mode of application will be evaluated. The antibacterial efficacy of essential oils might be promising for use in clinical and oral hygiene applications. The cost reduction and availability particularly in rural areas with easy access to the originating plants might be advantageous factors to be considered.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/17:


    Oral Implantol (Rome). 2017 Apr 10;10(1):59-70.

    A comparative study of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of mouthrinse containing tea tree oil.

    The study evaluated the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory efficacy, domiciliary oral hygiene, of a mouthrinse containing Tea Tree Oil (TTO) comparing it with two mouthrinses containing chlorhexidine 0,12% respectively and essential oils, and a placebo.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A pilot study, randomized 4 × 4, controlled, cross-over, double-blind. 16 subjects with gingivitis (7 males and 9 females) aged 21-37 years, were randomly divided into four groups based on mouthwash that had to be used for domiciliary oral hygiene: mouthwash with essential oils, mouthwash with chlorhexidine 0,12 %, mouthwash containig tea tree oil and mouthwash placebo. Clinical evaluation was performed by: Full Mouth Plaque Score (FMPS), Full Mouth Bleeding Score (FMBS), Gingival Index (GI), discolorations, language examination and alteration of taste. The data were recorded before and 2 weeks after treatment.

    RESULTS: Statistical analysis shows that treatments with tea tree oil, essential oils and chlorhexidine are effective. Comparing treatments should be noted that the tea tree oil gives a greater improvement in the GI and FMBS, while it is the least effective in the control of bacterial plaque.

    CONCLUSION: Although further studies are needed, the anti-inflammatory properties of the mouthwash made from TTO would seem to be a valuable non-toxic adjunct in the management of gingivitis.

    Be well!


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