Tea tree leaves are used to make tea tree oil. The tea tree has been known for its medicinal properties since ancient times in eastern Australia. The Australian aborigines are known to have been using the crushed leaves to heal cuts, burns, sores, and infections for hundreds of years. They inhaled the oils from the crushed leaves to relieve coughs and colds. They sprinkled this oil on wounds and applied a poultice on it. They infused the leaves and made tea to soothe sore throats. It was between 1920 and 1930 that the essential oil of this tree began to be known and used for its antimicrobial properties in Europe. In early times, it seems the leaves of this tree were infused to make tea, which is how the name came into being. Tea tree essential oil is the concentrated liquid compounds steam distilled from the leaves of the tree Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. The oil is claimed to have valuable antiseptic and anti-fungal properties due to constituents called terpenoids, and is used in many personal care products and medicines today. Tea tree oil is said to be good for relieving congestion, cold, cough and flu. It has been used to heal acne, fungal infections, dandruff, vaginal infections, haemorrhoids, athlete’s foot, and is believed to soothe aching muscles and joint injuries. When added to bath water it helps control bacteria. Tea tree oil is not to be taken internally. It is usually used only on adults and must be kept away from children and pets. Don’t use it if you’re pregnant or lactating.