Essential oils have been used for healing and medicinal purposes for centuries and most certainly long before we had pills, capsules and big pharma to take care of our medical woes. And while there is a place for manufactured pharmaceuticals in our survival medicine kit, there exists the possibility that none will be available or that they will be in such scarce supply that they should be reserved for only the most dire of circumstances.
For that reason, many preppers and individuals seeking self-reliance are learning to use essential oils to manage the both routine and not-so-routine maladies that occur in daily life. There are about a dozen or so essential oils that belong in every survival kit including Melaleuca (tea tree), peppermint, lavender, clove, rosemary and lemon among others. All of these essential oils have healing properties but today I would like to focus on just one, tea tree oil.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TEA TREE OIL
It is believed that the Aborigines of Australia have been using the leaves of the indigenous Malaleuca Tree (whose leaves are used to make tea tree oil) in their medications for centuries. They inhaled the oils from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds, sprinkled crushed leaves on their wounds and used an infusion of soaked leaves to treat sore throats or skin ailments.
Use of the oil itself, as opposed to the un-extracted plant material, did not become common practice until researcher Arthur Penfold published the first reports of its antimicrobial activity in a series of papers in the 1920s and 1930s. In evaluating the antimicrobial activity, he found that tea tree oil was 11 times more active than phenol.
The commercial tea tree oil industry was born shortly thereafter although interest in tea tree oil ebbed after World War II, presumably due to the development of effective antibiotics and the waning image of natural products. Interest was rekindled in the 1970s as part of the general renaissance of interest in natural products.
80 USES OF TEA TREE OIL FOR SURVIVAL
For thousands of years, the derivatives of the Malaleuca Tree have been effective in treating a wide variety of ailments. Here are 80 reasons why you should use it, too!
Abrasions & Minor Cuts: After cleaning the area well, apply a few drops of the oil directly. If a bandage is needed, allow a few drops of the oil to penetrate a cotton ball, then lay it face down on the wound with a bandage on top.
Acne: Add a drop to your normal cleansing routine or dab a very small amount on acne breakouts. You can also add 20 – 40 drops of the oil to your regular face wash.
Air Freshener: Keep a supply of cotton balls soaked in tea tree oil packed away in a plastic bag or tin. When confronted with foul smells from cooking, musty orders from dampness or even the medicinal smell in a sick room, take a few out the freshen the air and remove the nasty smell
Allergies: Use topically by massaging into the chest, abdomen or the reflex points of the feet.
Arthritis: To help reduce pain associated with the swelling of arthritis, add 20 drops of tea tree oil to 2 ounces of grapeseed or other carrier oil. Massage into affected area 2-3 times a day.
Asthma: Add a few drops of oil to a pan of water and heat on stove. When cooling, drape a towel over head and breath in for a few minutes.
Athletes Foot: Clean feet thoroughly, especially between toes. Add oil directly to feet for two weeks, dusting with corn starch after. Or add 10 drops oil to 1 tbsp of grapeseed or other carrier oil and massage on feet and between toes daily.
Baby Care: Keep your diaper pail clean and fresh with a spray of tea tree oil mixed with water.
Bacterial Infections: Use topically, either massaging into the reflex points of the feet, adding several drops to a bath or cautiously applying over an infected site.
Bad Breath: Rinse with 1 ounce water and 1 drop oil. Do not swallow!
Bladder Infection: In a shallow bath, add 10 – 15 drops of oil. Sit and wash area carefully.
Blisters: Wash area carefully, then apply as for cuts and wounds.
Boils: Apply a warm washcloth for a few minutes. Then apply a drop or two of oil to the area – the infection should rise to surface and eventually be released.
Bronchial Congestion: Use as directed for Asthma. Add 5 – 10 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil, and massage into chest and throat 2 – 3 times daily.
Bronchitis: Add 1-2 drops to a pan of hot water and breath in the steam, or massage the oil over the chest.
Bruises: After icing, apply oil as directed for Arthritis.
Bunions: Massage area with 5 drops oil to 1 tbsp. of carrier oil.
Burns: Run icy cold water on area. After a few minutes, add a mix of 5 drops oil with 1 tsp. raw honey. Repeat 3 – 5 times daily.
Calluses & Corns: Massage area with 5 drops oil to 1 tbsp. of carrier oil. Repeat 2 times daily. Once the corn or calluses have become soft use tweezers to remove, and apply a few drops of tea tree oil and cover with bandage.
Canker Sores: Apply a drop or two of oil directly to infected area with a cotton swab, 2 times daily. Also, rinse as directed for bad breath.
Carbuncles: Add a drop or two of oil to cotton swab and apply directly to carbuncle. Repeat twice daily.
Chapped Lips: Add 1 or 2 drops of oil to lip balm. Apply to lips as necessary.
Chicken Pox: Apply a drop of oil directly to blisters. Allow to dry, then dust with corn starch. Repeat every few hours or until blisters disappear.
Chigger Bites: Apply a drop of oil directly to bites.
Cold Sores: Apply a drop or two of oil directly to the sore with a cotton swab. Re-apply 2 – 3 times daily.
Coughs: Use as directed for bronchial infections. For a vaporizer, add 10 drops to steamer and leave on 5 – 10 minutes.
Dandruff: Add 20 – 30 drops oil to any shampoo. Apply a few drops to scalp and massage after washing.
Dermatitis: Add 10 drops oil to 1 tbsp of grapeseed or other oil and massage into affected areas. Repeat 2-3 times daily.
Dry Skin: Add 5 drops oil to 1 tbsp sweet almond oil. Massage into skin.
Earache and Infection: Add 2 – 3 drops of oil to 2 tbsp warm olive oil. With a dropper, drop a small amount into aching ear, tilting head to one side for a moment. Use cotton swab to absorb oil. Repeat 2 – 3 times daily.
Eczema: Add 10 drops oil to 1 tbsp grapeseed oil or coconut oil and massage into affected areas. Repeat 2-3 times daily. Also can be applied undiluted.
Emphysema: Use as directed for bronchial infections. For a vaporizer, add 10 drops to steamer and leave on 5 – 10 minutes.
Flea Bites: Apply a drop of oil directly to bites.
Gout: Add 10 drops of oil to 2 tbsp of carrier oil; massage into affected area 2-3 times a day.
Gum Disease: Create a mouthwash with purified water, 1 drop of peppermint and 1 drop of tea tree oil.
Head Lice: Add 20 drops of oil to 2 tbsp shampoo. Massage into scalp and hair, leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse. Repeat 3 – 4 times daily, until eggs are gone.
Hives: Add 10 drops of oil to 4 tbsp of witch hazel. Apply with cotton ball. Or, mix with coconut oil (which is naturally healing and soothing itself) and gently apply to the infected areas.
Homemade Mouthwash: Make a simple homemade mouthwash with purified water and tea tree oil.