Tea Tree oil is inarguably one of the most useful essential oils around. It also has one of the most confusing names in all of the English language.
Also known as the Narrow-leaved Paperbark, the Tea Tree is a shrub native to Australia, with the scientific name, Melaleuca Alternifolia.
Here's the tricky part. The Melaleuca Alternifolia is not at all related to the tree, Camellia Sinensis, which produces the five main types of tea that we drink. We'll be happy to tell you all about the benefits of that plant some other time. In the meantime, we'll stick to the subject at hand.
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia), which are steam distilled. The resulting oils contain compounds that are widely believed to exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties, making them a favorite ingredient in products meant to improve the complexion or fight off bacteria. The fragrance of Tea Tree Oil is bracing, with herbal notes that border on medicinal. On its own, the smell of Tea Tree isn't remarkable, but in combination with other essential oils, such as Eucalyptus or Sage, it's lovely.