I was at the Ontario Early Years Centre this week (a play place for children ages 0-6) and after changing a diaper I went to use a no-water hand sanitizer. Instead of the traditional alcohol-based one they had tea tree oil with hand lotion in a pump. When I inquired they told me it was as good or better than the "Purell" they had previously used and because there were small children, if they ingested it the product was non-toxic. I was most interested. I was further informed that if you put a few drops (that is all you need!) in a spray bottle filled with water that it is a natural antiseptic. Apparently there are a ton of other uses for it too which I am just finding out. Of course on the way home I popped into our local health food store and purchased some. I really like the scent too.
I did some quick research on Wikipedia and found the following information ....
Tea tree oil has been recognized as a potent antiseptic in Australia anecdotally for much longer than there has been scientific evidence. However, recent studies support a role for tea tree oil in skin care and treatment of various ailments.
Tea tree oil is a known antifungal agent used to treat dandruff, acne topical application of 5% tea tree oil has shown an effect comparable to 5% benzoyl peroxide).
Tea tree oil is also effective for treating insect bites, boils and minor wounds. It has also been known to help soothe sunburn, poison ivy, ear infections, and bee stings
Toothpastes and mouthwashes containing tea tree oil are shown to be effective for a number of oral problems. Some of these include bad breath, gum disease, and canker sores.
There is some limited research that has shown that tea tree oil may have anti-viral activity, especially with the Herpes virus (cold sores, chicken pox and shingles blisters, warts, etc.).