Tea Tree Oil: Magic Potion or Poison?

tea tree oil

So the other day we noticed that we have in our home tea-tree oil infused goodies. Our shampoo, our conditioner and we use tea tree oil for unwanted, unhappy pimples. And it really does work! I had heard this little essential oil had many purposes, but who would have known it was crazy useful for everything! From pimples, to cleaning to Woohoo! Everything… Maybe I should ditch everything in my medicine cabinet and buy a lifetime supply of tea-tree oil!

So where does it come from? Australia. From the plant Melaleuca alternifolia.

tea tree oil

What can it be used for? A MILLION THINGS!

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Decongestant
  • Digestive
  • Expectorant
  • Immune stimulant
  • Insecticidal
  • Neurotonic
  • Stimulant
  • Tissue regenerative

tea tree oil

Got Acne? dilute with water and use for an overall treatment, or dab a very small amount on acne breakouts.

Got Allergies? You can massage it into the chest, abdomen or “the reflex points of the feet”

Stinky Feet? A couple of drops and soak your feet in, or massage directly.

Canker soar? Apply a dab!

Clean Freak? Add a couple of drops  to your home-made everyday cleaner.

Stuffed nose and congestion? Boil some water and inhale steam infused with some oil. Minty smell will clear you up!

Cuts, Scrapes or Burns? Disinfect it with a slight diluted solution and cleanse infected areas with a one drop to one cup of water mixture.

Getting Pierced or a Tattoo? Use it undiluted to avoid infections.

Anything else? Yes! Also vaginal infections, warts, wounds, nail infections, dandruff sunburns and rashes!

BUT…I ran into this article that says that tea-tree oil might be potentially toxic for your cats and its bad bad bad…so I decided to look into it a bit more.


Yes, if you swallow and ingest a slight amount of this oil, it could harm you.  The National Capital Poison Center says they get twice as many calls regarding tea-tree oil poisoning than any other oil. Yet, they are not specific about their statistics so its hard to compare.

There are two statements that they make that I think are significant and should be taken as precaution when using this mighty oil.


“Tea tree oil and pets: Veterinary toxicologists have reported that large amounts of tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused poisoning. Symptoms have included muscle tremors, weakness, difficulty in walking, low body temperature, and excessive salivation. With pets, as with people, following label instructions is essential.”


“Non-medicinal uses: …  “natural” does not necessarily mean “non-toxic” or “non-poisonous”; tea tree oil is irritating to some people and is poisonous to swallow….There is some scientific evidence that tea tree oil can be effective for certain skin conditions. It is poisonous if swallowed and so should not be used in or around the mouth at all.”

The second point should be taken with more consideration because when I did my research I ran into information regarding its use as a mouthwash, canker sore, cold sore and cavity prevention oil. Many people have used it around and within the mouth and promote such uses, so I don’t think that the likelihood that you will turn up dead will be high….BUT I would use it with precaution if you are allergic to any other oils, if you are pregnant and if you have other conditions which you already need to take extra care for.

So is it a super oil with multiple amazing uses? I’d say so!

Am I going to party hard with my cat and take shots like it’s peppermint schnapps?  Probably not….

fashionable cat

Does it smell very very good and is better than buying fifteen different products to cure many things? YES!

If you would like, you can check out some sources below to get more descriptive and detailed uses for this mighty essential oil as well as people’s concern with it.

Sustainable Baby Steps, Medicine Net, General Info, Toxic to Cats

What!? What!?



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