Health Guide

Tea tree oil

What is it?

Tea Tree Oil is an herbal medicine used to treat fungal infections, such as athletes foot and toenail fungus. It is also used to treat acne.

Other names for Tea Tree Oil include: Melaleuca alternifolia, Melaleuca Oil, Teebaum, and Ti Tree.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Tea Tree Oil you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Tea Tree Oil. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Before using Tea Tree Oil, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not use if you have an allergy to Tea Tree oil or turpentine (3)
  • Do not eat or drink Tea Tree oil. It is only for external use (4).

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Dryness, itching, stinging, burning, and redness of the skin (1,6)
  • Rash or skin irritation after putting it on your skin (5)


1. Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL & Barnetson RStC: A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med. J. Austral. 1990; 153:455-458.

2. Buck DS, Nidorf DM & Addino JG: Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. J. Fam. Pract. 1994; 38:601-605.

3. DeGroot AC: Airborne allergic contact dermatitis from tea tree oil. Contact Dermatitis 1996; 35:304-305.

4. Lininger S, Wright J et al: The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Health, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998.

5. Moss A: Tea tree oil poisoning. Med. J. Australia. 1994; 160:236.

6. Anon: Tea Tree Oil- Skin reactions. SADRAC Bulletin 1996; 66:4.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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