Tea Tree Oil Purity Impacts Safety

Posted by: Penny | 20 Jul, 2021

Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil 

Tea Tree Oil is the steam distilled essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae), a tree native to the East Coast of Australia. There are a number of other plants in the Myrtaceae family ambiguously called “tea tree” or Melaleuca.  These include Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), known in New Zealand as Tea Tree; Niaouli (M. quinquenervia), known as broad leafed tea tree; and Cajuput (M. cajuputi), common to Northern Australia and parts of Indonesia.

To make matters more confusing, there are 6 common "chemotypes" of M. alternifolia. These chemotypes are described and detailed in numerous published data (Brophy et al., 1989; Southwell et al., 1992; Butcher et al., 1994).

More recently, the Terpinen-4-ol chemotype becoming the dominant and only chemotype suitable for commercial production of Tea Tree Oil.  Consequently, the ISO standard (4730:2017) has been formed around this chemotype, as specified in its title, "Oil of Melaleuca, terpinen-4-ol type (Tea Tree Oil)".

The ISO 4730:2017 standard for Tea Tree Oil (M. alternifolia) helps to control the specifications for Tea Tree Oil (TTO) as a high-quality product.

Australian Tea Tree Oil Is Safe

  • TTO is one of only two essential oils considered safe to be applied directly to the skin (@ 100%)
  • Low dermal irritancy (0.0016% incidence)
  • 0% skin irritation in formulations < 10% Tea Tree Oil concentration at 48 hours exposure
  • Low toxicity
    • Undiluted Tea Tree Oil should not be taken orally
    • Undiluted Tea Tree Oil is not toxic when applied topically
  • Microbial resistance to TTO has never been demonstrated. This is likely due to TTO's inherent complexity. “Bacteria appear to be overwhelmed by tea tree oil and its many active components”, Dr C Carson UWA

Australian Tea Tree Oil Works When It Is Pure

Case study: TTO to treat a poisonous spider bite

  • Relieves inflammation and infection
  • Spider bite treated with Tea Tree Oil (1 week later) shows wound healing, reduced inflammation

Adulterated Tea Tree Oil Can Cause Harm

Be Sure of Your Tea Tree Oil Purity

The purity of TTO has a significant impact on its safety of use in human applications. Adulteration of TTO - unfortunately - can and does occur. The best way to be sure of the purity is to source only ATTIA Code of Practice certified Tea Tree Oil (LEARN MORE).

Companies adulterating TTO are doing this for pure greed reasons. As demonstrated above (blistering foot, burned skin tag) they certainly do not care about the consumer, or even their direct customer, who is exposed to major product liability issues.

What constitutes adulterated TTO is often a mystery, and is rarely the same batch to batch. These adulterating companies use various industrial wastes, often residuals from fractionations of pine and turpentine oils. Sometimes even carcinogenic components are found in retail-level testing conducted globally by ATTIA.

Beyond burns and blisters, other complications of adulterated TTO can include increased skin irritation and sensitivity levels.  When pure TTO is used, there is only a very slight incidence of these conditions. This is what consumers expect when they purchase TTO.

100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil. Purity has a big impact on Safety.

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