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Tea tree oil (generic name)

treats Genital herpes, Thrush, Eye infections, Vaginal infections, Allergic skin reactions, Bad breath, Lice, Acne vulgaris, Dental plaque/ging...
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Interactions with Drugs

Skin products containing tea tree oil may dry the skin, and may worsen the dryness caused by skin treatments such as tretinoin (Retin-A®), benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or isotretinoin (Accutane®, taken by mouth).

Tea tree oil may interact with anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-cancer drugs.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Tea tree oil may interact with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer herbs or supplements as well as insect repellants.


This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ( Ethan Basch, MD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Paul Hammerness, MD (Harvard Medical School); Sadaf Hashmi, MD, MPH (Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health); Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Beth Kerbel, PharmD (Northeastern University); Michael Smith, MRPharmS., ND (Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine); David Sollars, MAc, HMC (New England School of Acupuncture); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).


DISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

Arweiler NB, Donos N, Netuschil L, et al. Clinical and antibacterial effect of tea tree oil--a pilot study. Clin Oral Investig 2000;4(2):70-73.

Bagg J, Jackson MS, Petrina Sweeney M, et al. Susceptibility to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil of yeasts isolated from the mouths of patients with advanced cancer. Oral Oncol. 2006;42(5):487-92.

Calcabrini A, Stringaro A, Toccacieli L, et al. Terpinen-4-ol, the main component of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil inhibits the in vitro growth of human melanoma cells. J Invest Dermatol 2004;122(2):349-360.

Caldefie-Chezet F, Guerry M, Chalchat JC, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil on human polymorphonuclear neutrophils and monocytes. Free Radic Res 2004;38(8):805-811.

Canyon DV, Speare R. A comparison of botanical and synthetic substances commonly used to prevent head lice (Pediculus humanus var. capitis) infestation. Int J Dermatol 2007;46(4):422-6.

Carson CF, Ashton L, Dry L, et al. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil gel (6%) for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis. J Antimicrob Chemother 2001;48(3):450-451.

Christoph F, Kaulfers PM, Stahl-Biskup E. A comparative study of the in vitro antimicrobial activity of tea tree oils s.l. with special reference to the activity of beta-triketones. Planta Med. 2000;66(6):556-560.

Dryden MS, Dailly S, Crouch M. A randomized, controlled trial of tea tree topical preparations versus a standard topical regimen for the clearance of MRSA colonization. J Hosp Infect 2004;56(4):283-286.

Enshaieh S, Jooya A, Siadat AH, et al. The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2007;73(1):22-5.

Hur MH, Park J, Maddock-Jennings W, et al. Reduction of mouth malodour and volatile sulphur compounds in intensive care patients using an essential oil mouthwash. Phytother Res 2007;21(7):641-3.

Koh KJ, Marshman G, Hart PH. Tea tree oil reduces histamine-induced skin inflammation. Br J Dermatol 2002;147(6):1212-1217.

Martin KW, Ernst E. Herbal medicines for treatment of fungal infections: a systematic review of controlled clinical trials. Mycoses 2004;47(3-4):87-92.

Mozelsio NB, Harris KE, McGrath KG, et al. Immediate systemic hypersensitivity reaction associated with topical application of Australian tea tree oil. Allergy Asthma Proc 2003;24(1):73-75.

Satchell AC, Saurajen A, Bell C, et al. Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: A randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study. Australas J Dermatol 2002;43(3):175-178.

Soukoulis S, Hirsch R. The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis. Aust Dent J 2004;49(2):78-83.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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