Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca oil) is the first oil that we’re looking at in this short series of essential oils that I keep on hand for use in my family. In addition to being the most useful in our family, it’s also inexpensive as far as essential oils go. A $10 bottle lasts for years. (This is the kind I usually buy)
Three years ago I moved to Arizona. In July. From Montana. Crazy, right?! Well, you can guess what we did every day. Every afternoon, after an early lunch we headed out to the pool to get cooled off, get the wiggles out, and then come back and have naptime (YAY!). I love taking my kids swimming. I was on the swim team all the way from elementary school up through high school. I’m comfortable in the water and I love showing my kids how to get more brave by jumping, how to float, and how to start to swim.
This particular day I had gone to Valvista Lakes with some neighbors. Valvista Lakes is a gorgeous resort-type outdoor area. There are volleyball courts, a huge shallow sandy bottomed kiddie pool, waterfalls with koi down below, and a beautiful lap pool that’s deep enough to jump in.
After letting the kids play around in the sandy kiddie area, we went over to the big pool (which was deeper, so also cooler – this is a plus when it’s solidly in the triple digits) to let the kids practice jumping in. We all jumped in a few times – mostly me holding onto my kids hands and us all jumping together. For some reason I jumped in on my own for a jump, and I had just pushed off the 6-foot bottom to propel myself back to the surface when my 5-year-old daughter jumps… right on top of me. Her eye tooth caught right under MY eye. I didn’t even notice at first – the water is pretty disorienting and I thought she just bumped me with her chin.
No, it left a big gash (I still have the scar) right under my eye. I saw that I wan’t going to be able to stop the bleeding enough to continue swimming, so we all went home. I called a doctor-friend, who came over and patched me up with steri-strips (those are awesome! Keep those in your medicine cabinet for sure) and told me to keep a watch out for infection, especially because it was her mouth that made the cut, and mouths harbor all types of bacteria.
I watched, and sure enough, 3 days later he came over and informed me that all the excess redness and puffiness wasn’t from healing, it was becoming infected. He knew my thoughts on antibiotics (I really try to avoid them at all costs) but he let me know that in all his experience, when it was as red and oozy as he was seeing, it didn’t clear up without antibiotics. I said we could see how it was doing tomorrow. He asked me what I was planning on doing.
“tea tree oil’, I replied.
He shook his head, but he’s used to, and really very tolerant of, my hippie tendencies. So he said we’d see, but he would write me a script for antibiotics if I needed one.
Well, sure enough, with applications of straight tea tree oil (now I would dilute it with coconut oil, but I didn’t know better then), the infection started clearing up within hours.
We now have a running joke that, ‘it’s okay, Cara can just fix that with tea tree oil’. But it worked!
Tea Tree Oil Uses
This is my go-to for anything that is hinting it might become an infection or needs to be de-germed. Mastitis? tea tree oil. A scab that isn’t healing? tea tree oil. A bug bite that’s been itched too much? tea tree oil. Laundry after the stomach flu? dish sponge? cleaning the toilet? tea tree oil. This is one of the three oils that I keep with me when we’re on a trip. (the others are lavender and peppermint)
Essential Oil Common Sense Disclaimer
Essential oils are great fun, and have tons of uses that are even backed up by peer-reviewed studies in medical journals (I can’t wait to dig into those and get some blog posts out for you!) Be careful with the literature you get from any essential oil company, though, just like the car dealership down the road that is convinced a new SUV (and a sports car too, while you’re at it!) would solve all of your problems, essential oil companies ARE going to promote their own oils as cure-alls. Don’t skip out on needed diet changes, lifestyle changes, and reducing toxins in your home.
Remember! I’m not giving medical advice at all. I’m not even remotely qualified to! I’m just a mom doing what I can to try to keep my family healthy, and sharing our results with you. To read more about my ethics in promoting essential oils, click here.