Tea tree oil is an essential oil that can be identified with its light-yellow color and a fragrance quite similar to that of nutmeg. It is obtained from Melaleuca alternifolia plant, which is native to Australia. The leaves of this plant are subjected to steam distillation in order to extract the oil. The healing properties of the oil are well-known to the aborigines of Australia for thousands of years. Now, scientific evidence suggests that the antiseptic qualities of the oil is due to the presence of components named 'terpenoids'. They enable the essential oil to fight off skin infections caused by all types of microbes: fungus, bacteria, or virus. In fact, it can heal many such infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics.
What is Yeast infection?
Yeast infection is caused by a fungus named Candida albicans. This infection is also referred to as 'candidiasis'. Even though women are more prone to this infection, men can also get affected by it. This fungus thrives well in warm and dark areas of the body like genital area, underarms, under the breasts, various skin folds, areas between the toes, nail beds, inside the mouth, etc. The infection has some annoying symptoms like severe itching and burning sensation of the skin and skin rash. This fungal infection can be effectively treated with the help of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil should never be consumed, rather it should be used topically. When you apply the oil on the infected part, it attacks the cell membrane first. This helps the antifungal agents to reach out to the fungus present in the skin cells and destroy them. The oil should never be applied in its undiluted form since it can cause skin irritation and reddening of the skin. Following are different ways of using tea tree oil as a remedy for fungal infection:
To cure yeast infection that has affected the vaginal area, prepare a solution by mixing equal quantities of tea tree oil and isopropyl alcohol. Put 8-10 drops of this milky white colored solution in a pint of water and use it to wash the infected area. This should be done on a daily basis for a week to obtain best results.
Another excellent technique to treat vaginal infection is making use of a tampon. Here, the tampon is first coated with K-Y jelly so that it acts as a lubricant and prevents the oil from getting absorbed by the tampon. Moreover, the K-Y jelly will dilute the oil. Then pour a few drops of oil on the tampon and insert it into the infected area, and keep it there for an hour.
For treating diaper rashes in infants, dilute the tea tree oil with another base oil. Olive oil is most preferred base oil for this purpose. Take one part of the tea tree oil and mix it with 3 parts of olive oil. Apply this resultant oil on the affected skin to help relieve the candidiasis symptoms.
To treat oral infection, the tea tree oil can be used as a mouth wash. For this, add a few drops of the oil in a glass of plain water and gargle thoroughly with it every day for faster cure of oral thrush. Make sure that you do not swallow the solution.
Although the tea tree oil does not have any adverse side effects, pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid its use. Also, if the infection persists or worsens, then it is better to consult a dermatologist.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.