There are some essential oils that are so useful beyond smelling good that they are an essential (har har) part of any travel kit. Tea tree oil is a powerful antibacterial, anti septic, and anti fungal oil that can help you out in many ways – all from a tiny bottle!
Tea tree oil comes from the tea tree plant in Australia – Melaleuca alternifolia – which has been used effectively by the Aboriginal peoples for centuries for the same things we use it for today!
One of the best parts of this do-it-all oil is that it can eliminate many other products in your travel kit, thus allowing you to only bring along one tiny bottle! Here are 10 ways it can help you out on your next adventure.
- Mosquito prevention. Add a few drops to a 2 oz spray bottle and fill the rest with vodka. Spritz yourself anytime mosquitoes are around!
- Mosquito (and other) bite treatment. Tea tree is great at healing mosquito bites! If you’re in a tropical country and suffering from bites, add a few drops to a carrier oil (jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil, or even olive oil) and apply to the wound multiple times a day to disinfect, heal, and prevent itch.
- Mouthwash. Add a couple drops to a small glass of water and swirl around. (Don’t swallow!)
- Cuts. Clean your cut with soap and water first, then dry. Add a drop of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil (also antibacterial!) and dab a bit on your cut and bandage it up. WARNING: This will sting enough to make you swear like a sailor.
- Fungus – toenail, athlete’s foot, you name it. Fungus, meet tea tree oil. Apply directly to the affected area and watch as your infection goes bye bye.
- Acne. Apply to your zits and watch them disappear. To prevent them, add 5 drops to two teaspoons of honey, rub on your face, leave for a minute, then wash it off. The honey will also make your skin super soft and has antibacterial properties as well!
- Sore throat. Tea tree oil can be inhaled as a steam to treat a sore throat. This remedy, which is also great for cleaning out your pores, involves adding a couple (and I mean not more than two! This is powerful stuff, people!) drops to a bowl of steaming water. Put your head over the steam, set a timer for 5 – 10 minutes, and cover the back of your head and the sides of the bowl with a towel. Breathe deeply and let it soothe your throat. Alternatively, you can add a couple drops to a glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Deodorant. Got the stink? Add a drop of tea tree oil to your hands and rub them in your pits to kill it. For bonus points, add some baking soda as well.
- Cold sores. Augh! Nothing like a cold sore to ruin your travel selfies. When you feel that first tingle, add 3 drops of tea tree oil to water or a carrier oil and dab on the spot 2 x daily.
- Decongestion. If you’ve got the sniffles, add a couple drops of tea tree oil to the shower or use the bowl steam method in #7. When steaming, you’ll feel the mucus start to dislodge and come out. It’s gross, but it works! If you’ve got your own pillow, you can also add a couple drops to it before bed so you breathe in the decongestant while you sleep.
When you get home, you can also use tea tree oil as a disinfectant cleaner! Nature provides!