Melaleuca alternifolia, « Tea tree » in English and « Arbre à thé » in French, belongs to the Myrtaceae botanical family.
Native to Australia, it is a shrub or small tree that can reach a height of 6-7 m and grows along streams and coastal swamps.
Melaceula trees leaves were used by indigenous Australians against colds, cough and fever.
The essential oil of Melaceula alternifolia is strongly antiseptic, diaphoretic and expectorant and is used in the treatment of chronic and some acute infections, notably cystitis, glandular fever and chronic fatigue syndrome. Externally, its leaves were traditionally used to help healing wounds and are used today to treat thrush, vaginal infections, acne, athlete's foot, verrucae, warts, insect bites, cold sores and nits.
The major constituents of Tea tree oil are terpinen-4-ol, γ-terpinene, 1,8-cineole, α-terpinene, α-terpineol, p-cymene, α-pinene, aromadrendrene …