Tea tree oil reactions

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Tea Tree Topical

Tea tree oil (topical) is derived from the leaves of the tea tree and it is also known as Aceite del Árbol de Té, Australian Tea Tree Oil, Huile de Melaleuca, Huile de Théier, Huile de Théier Australien, Huile Essentielle de Théier, Melaleuca alternifolia, Melaleuca Oil, Oil of Melaleuca, Oleum Melaleucae, and other names. It should not be confused with the common tea plant used to make black and green teas.

Tea tree topical has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), fungus infections of the nails, and mild to moderate acne.

Other uses not proven with research have included bad breath, cold sores, dandruff, dental plaque, gingivitis, hemorrhoids, lice, allergies, and various yeast and bacterial infections.

It is not certain whether tea tree topical is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Tea tree topical should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Tea tree topical is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Tea tree topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before using tea tree topical, talk to your healthcare provider. You may not be able to use tea tree topical if you have certain medical conditions.

Tea tree topical is considered possibly safe to use during pregnancy when applied to the skin. It is likely unsafe when taken by mouth and it can be toxic. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

Tea tree topical is considered possibly safe to use if you are nursing a baby when applied to the skin. It is likely unsafe when taken by mouth and it can be toxic. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice. Tree tea topical products might not be safe especially for boys who have not reached puberty.

Benefits and Uses of Tea Tree Oil for Hair

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has been used for thousands of years but has gained increasing popularity only in recent years. Tea tree oil for hair is known to offer antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping with conditions like acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis, cradle cap, and more. The oil is also known for treating head lice and dandruff.

Read on to know more about tea tree oil and its many benefits for hair and scalp health.

1. What is tea tree oil for Hair?2. How is tea tree oil useful for scalp and hair?3. How to use tea tree oil for scalp and hair?4. FAQs For Tea Tree Oil for Hair

What is tea tree oil for Hair?

While the name ‘tea tree’ is used for several plants indigenous to Australia and New Zealand and belonging to the family Myrtaceae, related to the myrtle, tea tree oil is derived from the tea tree, Melaleuca alternifolia, that is native to Southeast Queensland and the Northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. Also known as melaleuca oil or ti tree oil, this essential oil is pale yellow to nearly colourless and clear and has a fresh camphoraceous odour.

The Melaleuca alternifolia species remains the most important commercially, but since the 1970s and 80s, other species like the Melaleuca quinquenervia in the United States; Melaleuca acuminata in Tunisia; Melaleuca ericifolia in Egypt; Melaleuca armillaris and Melaleuca styphelioides in Tunisia and Egypt; Melaleuca leucadendra in Egypt, Malaysia, and Vietnam have also been used to extract the essential oil. Melaleuca linariifolia and Melaleuca dissitiflora are other two species that can be used to produce similar oil through water distillation.

Check out this video on the different uses of tea tree oil:

Tip: Tea tree oil is derived from Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree native to Australia.

How is tea tree oil useful for scalp and hair?

Tea tree oil benefits scalp and hair health in following ways:

– Treats dry scalp

According to research, tea tree oil can improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin condition in which scaly patches appear on the scalp. Research also indicates improvement in itchiness and greasiness after using tea tree oil shampoo. Further to this, as tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful in soothing skin irritation and wounds. This essential oil acts as a natural conditioner for the scalp and eliminates agents that cause skin to flake.

– Treats dandruff

Dandruff is a condition in which the scalp develops dry, white flakes of dead skin, sometimes accompanied by itching. Dry scalp and hair aren’t the only causes for dandruff, it can also be the result of oily, irritated skin, poor hygiene, skin conditions like contact dermatitis, or infection by a fungus called malassezia.

Tea tree oil is known for its antifungal properties, meaning it can help treat dandruff. It is also a potent cleanser, so regular use can keep your scalp clean from grime and dead skin cells, keeping hair follicles free of build-up and dandruff. Tea tree oil can also help control excess oil production by the sebaceous glands, keeping the scalp moisturised and free of dandruff.

– Prevents hair loss

Dandruff is a common cause for hair loss as hair that grows on a dandruff-infected scalp suffers a great amount of cuticle and protein damage. Inflammation and scratching the scalp also leads to breakage and hair loss. As tea tree oil is effective in soothing the scalp and treating dandruff, it can also prevent excessive hair fall.

Dandruff and excess sebum can block hair follicles, making hair roots weak and resulting in hair fall. As tea tree oil addresses both these concerns and keeps the scalp clean, it is Effective in Preventing Hair Fall.

Here’s a video on the causes of hair fall:

– Boosts hair growth

Research shows that tea tree oil is conducive to faster hair growth. The essential oil nourishes hair follicles and roots, producing strong and thick hair. Apart from soothing an itchy scalp, reducing dandruff and flaking, and preventing excess oil production, tea tree oil improves blood flow and allows nutrients to reach hair follicles, balances the pH level of the scalp, and stimulates the hair growth cycle to give you a head full of strong healthy hair.

– Treats head lice

Tea tree oil also has insecticidal effects and as such, it can be used to treat head lice, parasitic insects that feed on blood. According to a study, it has been found that a 30-minute tea tree oil treatment results in 100 per cent mortality and that a treatment with higher concentration of tea tree oil can induce failure of 50 per cent of existing lice eggs to hatch.

Tip: Tea tree oil can promote overall health of scalp and hair!

How to use tea tree oil for scalp and hair?

Here’s how you can use this essential oil for complete scalp and hair health:

– To treat dry scalp and dandruff

Simply add tea tree oil to your shampoo; add around 8-10 drops for every 250 ml of shampoo. Massage the shampoo-oil mixture into your scalp and let it sit for 3-5 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly. You can also use a shampoo formulated with tea tree oil that’s effective against dandruff and keeps your scalp and hair moisturised.

You can also use an overnight treatment – take a mix of carrier oils like almond, olive, and jojoba in a small 250 ml bottle and add in 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Mix well and apply evenly onto scalp. Massage for several minutes and leave on overnight. Shampoo as normal in the morning.

For itchy scalp, mix 8-10 drops of tea tree oil with 1-2 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil. Apply onto scalp and massage well. Leave on for 30-60 minutes or overnight, and shampoo as normal. You can also mix a tablespoon of olive oil and three drops each of tea tree and peppermint oil to a cup of warm water. Massage this concoction into scalp after shampooing, allow to sit for 30-60 minutes, and rinse with water or shampoo as normal.

– To prevent hair loss and boost hair growth

Tea tree oil can help hair grow longer and thicker. The best way to use it is to massage it into the scalp along with a carrier oil. Take about 2-5 drops of tea tree oil for every teaspoon of carrier oil like olive, almond, or coconut oil. Mix well and massage into scalp. Wrap hair in a warm towel and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes before rinsing out. Use this treatment a couple of times a week.

For an extra-nourishing treatment, use hot oils. Simply warm the tea tree oil and carrier oil mixture a bit. Be cautious to not heat the oils too much as it can lead to nutrient loss and you could also end up scalding your skin. Massage into the scalp and wrap with a warm towel to open up hair follicles, enabling oils to penetrate. Rinse after 30 minutes.

Use tea tree oil diluted in water as a final hair rinse – take about 4-5 drops of the essential oil for every 30 ml of water. You can also fill this diluted mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your scalp in the morning to fight dandruff and boost hair growth.

– To treat lice

To treat head lice, mix three tablespoons of coconut oil with a teaspoon each of tea tree oil and ylang ylang oil. Alternatively, mix about 8-10 drops of tea tree oil in 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil. Apply the mixture all over your scalp and massage it in thoroughly. Comb hair using a fine-toothed comb or nit comb. Cover head with a shower cap and let sit for about two hours. Comb hair again using the nit comb and rinse.

Next, make a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in the ratio of 2:1 and fill it in a spray bottle. Spray onto scalp and hair, saturating completely. Comb through hair and rinse. You can also dip the nit comb in this mixture while combing through hair. Repeat this treatment every 5-10 days for 3-4 weeks.

Tip: Tea tree oil can be used with any carrier oil to improve scalp and hair health.

FAQs For Tea Tree Oil for Hair

Q. Does tea tree oil have any side-effects?

A. It is important to note that while tea tree oil is safe to be used topically, it can be toxic when ingested. Also, if you’re new to using tea tree oil, always test it out on a small patch of skin before using. This is because some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin, might experience irritation on using undiluted tea tree oil. Tea tree oil might also be unsafe for use on young children and pregnant women when used undiluted. If you’re unsure, dilute the essential oil in water or carrier oils before using.

Side-effects of using tea tree oil range from mild to serious health implications. Application of tea tree oil to dry or damaged skin can cause burning and irritation. The oil can cause allergic reactions that can manifest in the form of skin inflammation, diarrhoea, nausea, etc. Avoid using undiluted tea tree oil on the scalp as it can irritate the scalp, making follicles swell and leading to hair loss.

Q. What are some home remedies using tea tree oil for hair and scalp?

A. Use these easy home remedies:

– To spot treat dandruff or a scaly, itchy spot on your scalp, take a cotton ball and apply a little bit of tea tree oil to it. Dip the cotton ball in a carrier oil like olive or coconut. Apply onto affected area. Rinse the areas with warm water after 15-30 minutes. Use this remedy every day or a couple of times a week if you have sensitive skin.

– Take two tablespoons each of honey and olive oil, a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and five drops of tea tree oil in a bowl and mix well. Apply to the scalp and rinse after 30 minutes. Repeat twice a week to treat dandruff.

– Take a small glass dropper bottle and fill with about 30 ml of jojoba oil. Add 3-4 drops each of tea tree oil, lavender oil, and geranium oil. Cap the bottle and mix well. Spread 3-4 drops of this mixture on hair length evenly for shiny luscious locks.

– Take a tablespoon each of castor and olive oil and add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to it. Mix well and apply evenly to the scalp; rinse after 30 minutes. Use this remedy twice a week boost hair growth.

– Make a hair mask using one egg, two tablespoons of onion juice, and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil. Apply this mask from roots to tips of hair, put on a shower cap, and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with cool water.

– Take 4-5 onions, chop and boil in a litre of water for a while. Keep aside and allow to cool. Strain the water and add in a few drops of tea tree oil. Use this as a final rinse after you shampoo.

– Take a cup each of water and apple cider vinegar. Add in five drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Use this as a final rinse for shiny, healthy hair.

– Take half a cup each of water and aloe vera gel. Add in five drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Apply to scalp and rinse after 30-40 minutes. Use this remedy regularly to enhance hair growth and keep hair smooth and silky soft.

– Steep two chamomile tea bags in 250 ml of water and allow to cool. Add in a few drops of tea tree oil and mix well. Fill the concoction in a spray bottle, spray onto scalp and hair, and rinse after 10-15 minutes. Use this remedy twice a week to boost hair growth.

– Take a cup of yoghurt and mix in a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. In a jug, combine two cups of water and a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Apply the yoghurt mask evenly to the scalp and hair and rinse off after 20-30 minutes. Use the lemon juice-water mix as a final rinse. Use this treatment twice a week to keep hair healthy and conditioned.

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Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Topic Overview

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil can kill bacteria and fungi. It comes from the evergreen leaves of the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Tea tree oil has been used as complementary therapy in surgery, burn care, and dental care.

Numerous tea tree oil body care products are available, including soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lip balm, topical (used on the skin) cream, and essential oil.

What is tea tree oil used for?

People usually use tea tree oil to treat minor cuts, burns, acne, athlete’s foot, mild fungal nail infections, vaginal yeast infections, and lung problems (when they add the oil to a bath or vaporizer). Although there is little research on tea tree oil, some studies suggest that it is safe and often effective for the prevention and treatment of infections.footnote 1

Is tea tree oil safe?

Experts consider tea tree oil to be safe as a topical treatment, and you can apply it directly to the skin on a daily basis. When applied to the skin in its pure (100% oil) form, tea tree oil seldom causes irritation. But some people develop an allergic rash (contact dermatitis). If you are concerned that you might develop a rash, try the oil first on a small area of skin. You can also dilute tea tree oil with vegetable, olive, or almond oil.

Tea tree oil is not safe to take by mouth. It is not recommended for use in the ears, because it may cause damage to the inner ear.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate tea tree oil in the same way it regulates medicines. It can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative product or if you are thinking about combining one with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative product.

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca, is well-known for its powerful antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds, which is why it’s one of the top antibacterial essential oils. Tea tree is a volatile essential oil derived mainly from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It’s been widely used throughout Australia for at least the past 100 years and for over seven decades, it’s been documented in numerous medical studies for its ability to kill many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Tea tree oil uses are numerous — it can be used to make homemade cleaning products, diffused to kill toxic mold that’s growing in your home, and applied topically to heal skin issues and treat skin infections. I use this powerful essential oil in my tea tree oil for acne recipe and many other DIY recipes that have become part of my daily routine.

Tea tree oil becoming an increasingly popular active ingredient in a variety of household and cosmetic products, including disinfectant sprays, face washes, shampoos, massage oils, skin and nail creams and laundry detergents. Tea tree’s natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions make it one of the most beneficial essential oils that should included as part of your natural medicine cabinet. (1)

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil is a volatile essential oil derived from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. The Melaleuca genus belongs to the Myrtaceae family and contains approximately 230 plant species, almost all of which are native to Australia.

Tea tree oil (or TTO) is an ingredient in many topic formulations that are used to treat infections, and it’s marketed as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent in Australia, Europe and North America. You can also find tea tree in a variety of household and cosmetic products, like cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoos, massage oils, and skin and nail creams. So what is tea tree oil good for? Well, it’s one of the most popular essential oils because it works as a powerful disinfectant and is gentle enough to apply topically in order to fight skin infections and irritations. (2)

Tea tree’s primary active ingredients include terpene hydrocarbons, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. It is these compounds that give tea tree its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. There are actually over 100 different chemical components of tea tree oil — terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol are the most active — and various ranges of concentrations. The volatile hydrocarbons found in the oil are considered aromatic and capable of traveling through air, pores of the skin and mucus membranes. That’s why tea tree oil is commonly used aromatically and topically to kill germs, fight infections and soothe skin conditions. (3)

Related: Top 7 Benefits of Green Tea: The No. 1 Anti-Aging Beverage

9 Tea Tree Oil Benefits

1. Fight Acne and Other Skin Conditions

Due to tea tree oil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it has potential to work as a natural remedy for acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.

A 2017 pilot study conducted in Australia evaluated the efficacy of tea tree oil gel compared to a face wash without tea tree in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne. Participants in the tea tree group applied the oil to their faces twice a day for a 12-week period. Those using tea tree experienced significantly fewer facial acne lesions compared to those using the face wash. No serious adverse reactions occurred, but there were some minor side effects like peeling, dryness and scaling, all of which resolved without any intervention. (4)

2. Improve Dry Scalp

Research suggests that tea tree oil is able to improve symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, which is a common skin condition that causes scaly patches on the scalp and dandruff. It’s also reported to help alleviate contact dermatitis symptoms.

A 2002 human study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology investigated the efficacy of 5 percent tea tree oil shampoo and placebo in patients with mild to moderate dandruff. After a four-week treatment period, participants in the tea tree group showed a 41 percent improvement in the severity of dandruff, while only 11 percent of those in the placebo group showed improvements. Researchers also indicated an improvement in patient itchiness and greasiness after using tea tree oil shampoo. (5)

3. Soothe Skin Irritations

Although the research on this is limited, tea tree oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may make it a useful tool for soothing skin irritations and wounds. There is some evidence from a pilot study that after being treated with tea tree oil, patient wounds had begun to heal and reduced in size. (6) And there have been case studies that show tea tree oil’s ability to treat infected chronic wounds. (7)

Tea tree oil may be effective in reducing inflammation, fighting skin or wound infections and reducing wound size. It can be used to soothe sunburns, sores and insect bites, but only when it has been tested on a small patch of skin first to rule out a sensitivity to topical application.

4. Fight Bacterial, Fungal and Viral Infections

According to a scientific review on tea tree that’s published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews, data clearly shows the broad-spectrum activity of tea tree oil due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. This means, in theory, that tea tree oil can be used to fight a number of infections, from MRSA to athlete’s foot. Researchers are still evaluating these tea tree benefits, but they have been shown in some human studies, lab studies and anecdotal reports.

Lab studies have showed that tea tree oil can inhibit the growth of bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These bacteria cause serious infections, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, bloodstream infections, strep throat, sinus infections and impetigo. (8)

Because of tea tree oil’s antifungal properties, it may have the ability to fight or prevent fungal infections like candida, jock itch, athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. (9)

A randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study conducted in Australia tested the efficacy of tea tree oil in the treatment of athlete’s foot compared to placebo. Patients in the treatment group received either 25 percent tea tree oil solution, 50 percent tea tree oil solution or placebo. They were instructed to apply the solution twice daily to the affected areas for four weeks.

Researchers reported a clinical response in 68 percent of the 50 percent tea tree group, 72 percent of the 25 percent tea tree group, and 39 percent in the placebo group. Of the 158 patients that participated in the study, four experienced moderate to severe skin reactions to the treatment that improved quickly after they stopped using the solution. (10)

Lab studies show that tea tree oil has the ability to fight recurrent herpes virus (which causes cold sores) and influenza. The antiviral activity of tea tree oil has been attributed to the presence of terpinen-4-ol, one of the oil’s main active components. (11, 12, 13)

And if you’re wondering if tea tree oil can get rid of warts, you’re in luck. A 2008 case study found that when tea tree oil was applied topically once daily to a wart on a pediatric patient’s middle finger, the wart completely disappeared after 12 days of treatment. This is another example of tea tree’s antiviral activity. (14)

5. May Help Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

Essential oils like tea tree oil and oregano oil are being used in replacement of or along with conventional medications because they too serve as powerful antibacterial agents, without the adverse side effects. Research published in The Open Microbiology Journal indicates that some essential oils, like tea tree oil, have a positive synergistic effect when combined with conventional antibiotics.

Researchers are optimistic that this means essential oils may help prevent antibiotic resistance from developing. This is extremely important in modern medicine because antibiotic resistance may lead to treatment failure, increased healthcare costs and the spread of infection control problems. (15)

6. Relieve Congestion and Respiratory Tract Infections

Very early in its history, the leaves of the malaleuca plant were crushed and inhaled to treat coughs and colds. Traditionally, the leaves were also soaked to make an infusion that was used to treat sore throats.

Today, studies show that tea tree oil has antimicrobial activity, giving it the ability to fight bacteria that lead to nasty respiratory tract infections, and antiviral activity that’s helpful for fighting or even preventing congestion, coughs and the common cold. This is exactly why tea tree is one of the top essential oils for cough and respiratory issues. (16)

7. Help Treat Head Lice

Tea tree oil has insecticidal effects and can be used to get rid of head lice, which are small, parasitic insects that feed on human blood. A lab study conducted in Italy investigated the efficacy of tea tree oil against lice and its eggs. Tea tree was used alone and in combination with nerolidol and tested at different ratios against 69 head lice and 187 eggs over a six-month period.

Researchers found that tea tree oil alone was more effective against head lice, with treatment resulting in 100 percent mortality after 30 minutes of exposure. A higher concentration of tea tree oil was able to induce the failure of 50 percent of the eggs to hatch. When tea tree oil was combined with nerolidol at a 1:2 ratio, the two substances caused the death of all head lice within 30 minutes and the abortive effect of lice eggs after 5 days of treatment. (17)

8. Help Treat Scabies

A common question is “can tea tree oil get rid of scabies?” The answer, according to lab studies, is yes. A study conducted at Flinders University in Australia found that 5 percent tea tree oil and its active component terpinen-4-ol were highly effective in reducing the survival of scabies mites. Tea tree works as a natural treatment for scabies because it has powerful antimicrobial properties, giving it the ability to heal scabies on top of and beneath the skin. (18)

9. Improve Bad Breath

Bad breath comes from bacteria that is found in your mouth, especially the back of your tongue, throat and tonsils. Because tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties that can kill this bacteria, it works as a natural remedy for bad breath.

An in vitro study also shows that tea tree oil acts as an effective antiseptic agent against oral pathogens, including Candida albicans, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. This tea tree oil benefit can be extremely helpful after oral surgery, like a root canal, that increases your risk of developing a bacterial or fungal infection. (19)

But keep in mind that tea tree oil should not be used internally, so if you are using it as a mouthwash to kill oral germs, make sure to spit it out afterwards and rinse your mouth with water.

Top 14 Tea Tree Oil Uses

Tea tree oil can be used to make natural beauty, health and cleaning products that are free from dangerous chemicals. Tree tree oil can be used in the following ways:

  • Aromatically: Diffuse tea tree oil throughout your home using an oil diffuser. You can also directly inhale the oil by sniffing it right out of the bottle.
  • Topically: Tea tree oil can be applied to the skin topically, but you should always dilute it with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) in a 1:1 ratio before applying it.
  • NOT for Internal Use: According to the National Poison Center, tea tree oil is known to be poisonous if swallowed. Tea tree oil should NOT be taken by mouth for any reason. If you are using tea tree for bad breath or oral health, make sure you spit it out afterwards to prevent potential side effects like digestive issues, hives or dizziness. (20)

Here are some basic ways that you can use tea tree oil at home to transform your health.

1. Natural Acne Fighter

One of the most common uses for tea tree oil today is in skin care products, as it’s considered one of the most effective home remedies for acne. You can make a homemade gentle tea tree oil acne face wash by mixing five drops of pure tea tree essential oil with two teaspoons of raw honey. Simply rub the mixture on your face, leave it on for one minute, and then rinse it off with warm water.

2. Improve Psoriasis and Eczema

Tea tree oil may help relieve many types of skin inflammation, including being used as a natural eczema treatment and for reducing psoriasis. Simply mix one teaspoon of coconut oil, five drops of tea tree oil and five drops of lavender oil to make your own skin improving lotion or body soap.

3. Boost Hair Health

Tea tree oil has proven very beneficial for the health of your hair and scalp. Like coconut oil for hair, tea tree oil has the ability to soothe dry, flaking scalp and remove dandruff. To make homemade tea tree oil shampoo, mix several drops of tea tree essential oil with aloe vera gel, coconut milk and other essential oils like lavender oil.

4. Natural Treatment for Lice

To get rid of head lice naturally, combine 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 teaspoon each of ylang ylang and tea tree oils. Apply this mixture all over the scalp, massaging it in thoroughly. Then comb through the hair with a fine tooth comb, cover the head with a shower cap and let it sit for two hours. Then comb through the hair again and rinse out the oils.

Next, combine 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water, and apply the mixture with a spray bottle until the hair is completely saturated. Then rinse the hair and comb through it again. The last step is to apply a light application of coconut oil and leave it in. This process needs to be repeated every five to 10 days for a couple of weeks to ensure that all lice and eggs are killed. Continue to comb through hair with a fine tooth comb and using coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner.

5. Natural Household Cleaner

Another fantastic way to use tea tree oil is as a household cleaner. Tea tree oil presents powerful antimicrobial activity that can kill off bad bacteria in your home. To make a homemade tea tree oil cleanser, mix 5–10 drops of tea tree with water, vinegar and 5–10 drops of lemon essential oil. Then use it on your counter tops, kitchen appliances, shower, toilet and sinks.

You can also use my homemade bathroom cleaner recipe that’s made with a combination of natural cleaning products, like liquid castile soap, apple cider vinegar and baking soda.

6. Laundry Freshener

Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, so it works great as a natural laundry freshener, especially when your laundry is musty or even moldy. Simply add 5–10 drops of tea tree to your laundry detergent. You can also spot clean cloth, rugs or athletic equipment with a mixture of tea tree oil, vinegar and water.

7. Fight Toenail Fungus and Ringworm

Because of its ability to kill parasites and fungal infections, tea tree oil is a great choice to use on nail fungus (onychomycosis), athlete’s foot and ringworm. Put 2–5 drops of undiluted tea tree oil on the affected area using a clean cotton swab. And for stubborn fungi, consider mixing it with natural anti-fungal oil of oregano. Tea tree oil has also been proven beneficial for treating and removing warts, so simply put a few drops of tea tree oil directly on the area for 30 days once or twice daily.

8. Improve Foot Odor

Here’s another example of how tea tree oil’s antibacterial activity is super beneficial. If you’re dealing with stinky feet or you need to get a funky smell out of your shoes, tea tree oil is a great remedy. For foot odor, combine about half a teaspoon of coconut oil and 2–3 drops of tea tree oil and massage the mixture into your feet.

You can also try my exfoliating foot scrub recipe that will leave your feet smooth and odor-free. To remove shoe odor, add 5–10 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled half way with water and spray the inside of your shoes. This works for sports equipment too.

9. Kill Mold

A common problem many people experience in their homes is mold infestation, oftentimes without even being aware of it. Sometimes, people even begin to experience black mold symptoms when they are exposed to this toxin in their homes. Consider buying a diffuser and diffusing tea tree oil in the air around your home to kill mold and other bad bacteria. Also, you can spray tea tree oil all-purpose cleaner onto shower curtains, and into your laundry machine, dishwasher or toilet to kill off mold and other bacteria.

10. Natural DIY Deodorant

Another great reason to use tea tree oil is to eliminate body odor. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties that destroy the bacteria on your skin that cause body odor. You can make homemade tea tree oil deodorant by mixing a few drops with coconut oil and baking soda. (Yes, you can see that coconut oil uses and baking soda uses are many as well!)

11. Protect Wounds and Cuts

Tea tree oil is the perfect ingredient in a homemade wound ointment because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Just make sure to clean a cut first with water and hydrogen peroxide if necessary, then put on 1–3 drops of tea tree oil and cover it with a bandage to help fight off infections. You can also make my homemade drawing salve that will help to heal skin inflammation, insect bites, boils and splinters.

12. Natural Toothpaste for Oral Health

Because of tea tree oil’s ability to kill off bad bacteria and at the same time soothe inflamed skin, it’s a perfect ingredient in homemade toothpaste and mouthwash. It may help to reduce the bleeding of gums and tooth decay, too. To get rid of bad breath and improve your oral health, simply mix a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda for an amazing homemade toothpaste.

13. Natural Insect Repellent

Not only does tea tree oil work as a natural insect repellent, but it also helps to soothe bug bites. Because bug repellents typically contain toxic chemicals, using a natural option like tea tree oil is gentler on your skin.

Simply add 2–5 drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle filled half way with water and spray it on your skin, or combine 2–5 drops of tea tree with a teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it into your skin before going outside. If you do get a bug bite, add 2–3 drops of tea tree to a clean cotton ball and apply it to the affected area.

14. Cough Reliever

To relieve a cough that’s caused by the common cold or another respiratory condition, simply diffuse 5 drops at home, inhale tea tree oil directly from the bottle, or combine 1–2 drops of tea tree with a half-teaspoon of coconut oil and rub the mixture into your chest and back of your neck.

Precautions and Possible Tea Tree Oil Side Effects

Tea tree is generally considered safe when used aromatically and topically and doesn’t cause side effects in most cases. However, if you have sensitive skin, it’s possible that you might experience a reaction. Keep tea tree oil away from your eyes, contact lenses, inner nose and sensitive parts of your skin. This essential oil possesses a sharp camphoraceous odor followed by a menthol-like cooling sensation, which can make your skin feel like it’s slightly burning if you apply too much. Remember that tea tree oil should not be consumed and if you are using it for oral health, it needs to be spit out so that none is swallowed.

When used in topical products at a concentration of 5–10 percent, it normally doesn’t cause allergies or skin rashes, but stronger concentration have been reported to cause dermatitis reactions. In 1999, tea tree oil was added to the North American Contact Dermatitis Group screening panel and test results showed that about 1.4 percent of patients referred for patch testing had a positive reaction to tea tree oil. It’s always a good idea to do a small skin patch test first on your arm or leg to make sure you don’t have a negative reaction before using larger amounts or applying it to your face, chest or neck.

When you are buying tea tree oil, always look for 100 percent pure essential oil and check that the correct species name is listed on the bottle’s label (Melaleuca alternifolia). Ideally look for oil that’s therapeutic grade and organic, which ensures it’s been tested and meets all criteria, plus it will be free from chemical toxins, fillers or solvents. You can buy tea tree oil online or in your local health food store.

Light, heat, exposure to air, and moisture all affect oil stability of essential oils, so keep your tree oil stored in dark, cool, dry conditions preferably in a glass container.

A BBC News piece released in early 2018 was a cause for concern for many over the possible estrogenic effects of tea tree and lavender essential oils. Journalists reviewed case studies of a total of six young boys diagnosed with a condition known as gynecomastia, a condition in young men who develop breast tissue.

While gynecomastia during puberty is considered normal and usually idiopathic (without a known cause) and clears up on its own, these six case children developed extra breast tissue before entering puberty, which is a cause for concern, and all had been exposed to lavender oil alone or with tea tree essential oil. In the first review of three cases, the authors confirmed that removing the substance from the boys’ exposure resulted in a reversal of their condition. The second grouping of studies was unclear whether or not the substance was removed or if the condition was reversed. (21, 22)

Another review on these two oils demonstrated that they do seem to act like estrogens in lab settings (in vitro studies). (23)

This may seem like a convincing piece of evidence to prove that lavender and/or tea tree oil could cause estrogen-like activity in men. However, don’t throw away your oils just yet — these case studies and lab results aren’t enough to give scientific proof. Other evidence points the opposite direction.

For instance, a risk assessment on tea tree oil found that while certain compounds in the oil do have in vitro estrogen qualities, those aren’t the compounds that are “bioavailable,” meaning absorbed into the skin. (24) Tea tree oil isn’t safe to ingest, so skin absorption is the only way the active compounds enter your body. No human studies have recorded estrogenic side effects of tea tree oil. (25)

The only (very mild) instance of lavender and tea tree oils definitively acting in an estrogenic way in humans is in a study in women with mild idiopathic hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), in which the oils did seem to be somewhat effective in reducing this hair growth. No other reactions were reported. (26)

However, other attempts to replicate lavender oil’s supposed estrogen-like actions have failed in animals. (27)

Multiple accounts have reviewed these findings and come to the conclusion that these case studies (and their portrayal in the media) are reporting something that simply cannot be proven. (28, 29) The close relations of the boys in each of the separate case study reports suggest there may be another underlying cause in the products that seemed to cause gynecomastia in these subjects. At least one author has suggested a potential toxic response to pesticides or other hormone-disrupting chemicals, as none of the essential oils in question were organic, and the products considered responsible were not tested for other potential toxins such as these. (30)

Basically, it seems unlikely that these isolated incidents were the result of essential oils that have been used safely for decades, but rather just that: isolated, and possibly the result of other factors. However, if you notice any estrogen-like reactions in young boys, you should always consult your doctor in case this points to something more serious.

Final Thoughts

  • Tea tree oil is a volatile essential oil derived from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It is commonly used in household and beauty products because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The top 8 benefits of tea tree oil include its ability to:
    • fight acne and other skin conditions
    • improve dry scalp
    • soothe skin irritations
    • fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections
    • help prevent antibiotic resistance
    • relieve congestion and respiratory tract infections
    • help treat head lice
    • help treat scabies
    • improve bad breath
  • The top 14 tea tree oil uses include:
    • natural acne fighter
    • improve psoriasis and eczema
    • boost hair health
    • natural treatment for lice
    • natural household cleaner
    • laundry freshener
    • fight toenail fungus and ringworm
    • improve foot odor
    • kill mold
    • natural deodorant
    • protect wounds and cuts
    • natural toothpaste for oral health
    • natural insect repellant
    • cough reliever

Read Next: 20 Coconut Oil Benefits for Your Brain, Heart, Joints and More!

Tea Tree Oil

Background

  • Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the tea tree and has been used as a traditional medicine for cuts and wounds by the aboriginal people of Australia.
  • Today, tea tree oil is often used externally for various conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus, cuts, and insect bites.
  • Tea tree oil is obtained by steam distillation of tea tree leaves. It is used topically (applied to the skin), and is an ingredient in a variety of skin products.

How Much Do We Know?

  • Only a small amount of research has been done on the topical use of tea tree oil for health conditions in people.

What Have We Learned?

  • A limited amount of research indicates that tea tree oil might be helpful for acne, nail fungus, and athlete’s foot.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • Tea tree oil should not be swallowed. Taking it orally can cause serious symptoms such as confusion and ataxia (loss of muscle coordination).
  • Most people can use topical products containing tea tree oil without problems, but some people may develop contact dermatitis (an allergic skin rash) or skin irritation on the parts of the body where the product was used.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Tea Tree Oil

Bacterial resistance: It has been proposed that the habitual use of tea tree oil in products applied to the skin at sub-bactericidal concentrations might encourage resistant strains to develop (McMahon et al 2007, 2008). However, studies in bacteria and yeasts suggest that any resistance to tea tree oil is transient and/or negligible (Mondello et al 2006; Ferrini et al 2006). This holds true even in bacteria subcultured up to 22 times (Hammer et al 2008, 2012). In cases where they have an effect on resistance, essential oils in general tend to reduce or eliminate it, rather than increasing it. The effect of personal care products containing essential oil mixtures, with or without tea tree oil, is unknowable, since there are thousands of such products. However, the great variety of these mixtures will make it very difficult for resistance to develop.

Ingestion: There are insufficient data to establish a safe maximum oral human dose, which has led some to suggest that the oil is not safe to ingest at all. When taken orally in doses of 0.8 mL/kg or more, equivalent to over 50 mL in an adult, tea tree oil has notable CNS effects, as cited above under Acute toxicity, human. However, an oral dose of ~ 2.5 mL elicited no CNS toxicity in an adult male (Elliott 1993) and this is above the normal oral dose range of 0.3–1.3 mL for essential oils (Table 4.7). No neurotoxicity has been reported following the dermal application of tea tree oil in humans, even when used undiluted. Severe neurotoxic effects have occurred in cats following dermal administration, in amounts equivalent to 280 – 462 mL being applied to an adult human. Since a dermal dose of 2 g/kg elicited no apparent toxicity in rabbits, cats are probably more susceptible to tea tree toxicity than other species. In our opinion, the human toxicity data are more or less consistent with the rat oral LD50 of 1.9 g/kg, which is within the ‘slightly toxic’ range of 1–5 g/kg, since doses about half of this amount elicited clear signs of neurotoxicity.

Dermal application: Undiluted tea tree oil was irritating to rabbits and mice, but its irritancy to healthy human skin is negligible. In six clinical trials using tea tree oil at either 5% or 10%, there were no allergic reactions among 295 patients, 67 of them with an inflammatory skin condition (Table 13.4B). Mild reactions were not significantly greater than in placebo groups, and in some cases were less. In skin sensitization, both the concentration and the degree of oxidation need to be considered (Table 13.4A). For example, unoxidized tea tree oil at 5% produced one positive reaction in 725 dermatitis patients (Lisi et al 2000), while oxidized tea tree oil at 5% produced a seven times greater response: 36 reactions in 3,375 patients (Pirker et al 2003). Using the same patient group of 725, when 100% unoxidized tea tree oil was used, there were five reactions, an increase of five times over the 5% dilution (Lisi et al 2000). However, 100% oxidized tea tree oil produced 13/550 reactions, an increase of 3.5 times compared to the 100% unoxidized oil (Coutts et al 2002).

The oil used in the Coutts et al (2002) report was allowed to photo-oxidize in a clear glass bottle over 12 months, during which time 550 dermatitis patients were patch tested. No increase in sensitization rate was noted as the oil aged, but no assessement of peroxide value was made at any point. Of the 13 patients who reacted to 100% tea tree oil, nine were later re-tested with 5% tea tree oil. Four of these reacted, the other five did not (Clayton & Orton 2005). It is important to note that the way tea tree oil was oxidized for these tests does not reflect the quality of tea tree oil found in the marketplace, so these data do not represent real world risk. There were 614 reported adverse events from the sale of 37,135,48 products containing tea tree oil over a 10 year period in four countries, 0.0016% of products sold (Wabner et al 2006).

Unoxidized tea tree oil presents a very low risk, even in patients with compromised skin, when used at concentrations up to 10%. Undiluted tea tree oil naturally presents a greater risk than diluted oil, but there is little information on the use of concentrations between 10% and 100%. Satchell et al (2002a) reported 3.8% of tinea pedis patients with adverse reactions to 25% or 50% tea tree oil. As an experimental treatment for contact dermatitis, 50% unoxidized tea tree oil was applied to 15 patients with nickel allergy. Since this concentration produced “some redness” in several patients, a 20% dilution was used on the remaining six patients, and there were no adverse reactions (Wallengren 2011).

According to the SCCP: “The sparse data available suggest that the use of undiluted tea tree oil as a commercial product is not safe” (SCCP 2004a). However, there is no definition of what constitutes safe or unsafe. According to Wabner et al (2006) there were 16 reported adverse events from the sale of 12,205,539 bottles of undiluted tea tree oil by an Australian company. This represents 0.00013% of bottles sold.

Misinformation: Much nonsense has been written about tea tree oil safety. About.com, for example, states that the three reported cases of breast enlargement in boys caused by tea tree oil (there was only one, with no causal link) demonstrate that the oil ‘may alter hormone levels’ and that therefore ‘people with hormone-sensitive cancers or pregnant or nursing women should avoid tea tree oil.’ The same website goes on to warn that tea tree oil ‘can cause impaired immune function.’ No literature is cited, but this may be in reference to research showing that the anti-inflammatory action of inhaled tea tree oil acts by inhibiting the (inflammatory) immune response in mice following induced inflammation, while having no effect on mice with no inflammation (Golab et al 2005; Golab & Skwarlo-Sonta 2007). Either that, or it is a very odd way to describe allergic reactions. To refer to either as ‘impaired immune function’ makes no sense.

The Consultant360 site carries a report published on July 1 2007, by Stonehouse and Studdiford, who make the claim that ‘allergic contact dermatitis has been reported in about 5% of those who use tea tree oil’ (http://consultant360.com/content/allergic-contact-dermatitis-tea-tree-oil, accessed August 8th 2011). However no substantive evidence is, nor could be, given to support this misleading statement.

Species: The ISO standard allows that tea tree oil may be obtained from Melaleuca species other than M. alternifolia, “provided that the oil obtained conforms to the requirements given in this International Standard”. The composition of M. dissitiflora and M. linariifolia may be very similar to that of M. alternifolia (Cornwell et al 1999). However, the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association is not aware of any commercial oil production from these species, and there is no safety information on these oils, such as methyleugenol content. We therefore do not consider them viable sources of tea tree oil. Six chemotypes exist for M. alternifolia, although only the terpinen-4-ol chemotype is cultivated on a commercial scale. Of the other five, one is dominated by terpinolene, and the others are all cineole-rich, with varying concentrations of other constituents (Homer et al 2000).

Allergic Contact Dermatitis From Tea Tree Oil

Allergic contact dermatitis has been reported in about 5% of those who use tea tree oil.1-3 The cutaneous reactions range from a mild contact dermatitis to a severe blistering rash. Patients with a history of allergy to benzoin should not use tea tree oil because of cross- reactions.2 There is one report of severe subepidermal blistering in a patient with linear IgA disease who had contact with tea tree oil.2

Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, an Australian tree. It is traditionally known for its antiseptic properties, although few published randomized, controlled trials support this use. In one clinical trial, a 4-week course of 5% tea tree oil shampoo was found to be better than placebo in clearing seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, generally caused by Malassezia furfur.4 Results of another study of patients with tinea versicolor caused by the same species suggested that tea tree oil may serve as a reasonable alternative to traditional antifungal agents.5 It currently has a grade C recommendation for the treatment of tinea pedis, seborrheic dermatitis, onychomycosis, genital herpes, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, gingivitis, and candidal infections.6

Tea tree oil has gained popularity as a topical antibiotic and antifungal agent. Thus, physicians need to be aware of the potential allergic reactions to tea tree oil and advise patients to discontinue use at the first signs of sensitivity.

This patient was told to apply hydrocortisone 1% cream to reduce the inflammation and pruritus and use cool compresses as needed. The rash completely resolved within a week after the tea tree oil was discontinued.

11 benefits of tea tree oil

There is some evidence to show that tea tree oil may have several uses.

1. Antibacterial

Share on PinterestTea tree oils have been used in Australia as an ointment for close to 100 years.

The oil has been used for almost 100 years as a healing treatment in Australia, particularly for skin conditions. Today it is used for a number of conditions.

Tea tree oil is probably best known for its antibacterial activity.

Some research suggests that the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity associated with the oil comes from its ability to damage the cell walls of bacteria. More research is needed to understand how it might work.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Tea tree oil may help quell inflammation, possibly due to its high concentration of terpinen-4-ol, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.

In animal tests, terpinen-4-ol was found to suppress inflammatory activity in cases of mouth infection. In humans, topically applied tea tree oil reduced swelling in histamine-induced skin inflammation more effectively than paraffin oil.

3. Antifungal

A review of the effectiveness of tea tree oil highlights its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi. The majority of the studies reviewed focus on Candida albicans, a type of yeast which commonly affects the skin, genitals, throat, and mouth.

Other research suggests suggests that terpinen-4-ol enhances the activity of fluconazole, a common antifungal drug, in cases of resistant strains of Candida albicans.

4. Antiviral

Some studies show that tea tree oil can help treat certain viruses, but research is limited in this area.

5. Acne

Share on PinterestTea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advise that research into the effects of topically applied tea tree oil in people is limited.
However, the oil may be useful for a number of skin complaints.

Acne is the most common skin condition. It affects up to 50 million Americans at any one time.

One study found a significant difference between tea tree oil gel and a placebo in treating acne.

Participants treated with tea tree oil experienced improvement in both total acne count and the severity of the acne.

This builds on earlier research which compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion in treating cases of mild to moderate acne.

Both treatments significantly reduced the number of acne lesions, although the tea tree oil worked more slowly. Those using the tea tree oil experienced fewer side effects.

6. Athlete’s foot

Symptoms of athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, were reduced through topical application of a tea tree oil cream, according to one study.

A 10 percent tea tree oil cream appeared to reduce the symptoms as effectively as 1 percent tolnaftate, an antifungal medication. However, the tea tree oil was no more effective than a placebo in achieving a total cure.

More recent research compared higher concentrations of tea tree oil on athlete’s foot with a placebo.

A marked improvement in symptoms was seen in 68 percent of people who used a 50 percent tea tree oil application, with 64 percent achieving total cure. This was over double the improvement seen in the placebo group.

7. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema caused by contact with an irritant or allergen. Several treatments for contact dermatitis were compared, including tea tree oil, zinc oxide, and clobetasone butyrate.

Results suggest that tea tree oil was more effective in suppressing allergic contact dermatitis than other treatments. However, it did not have an effect on irritant contact dermatitis.

Keep in mind that tea tree oil itself may induce allergic contact dermatitis in some people.

8. Dandruff and Cradle Cap

Share on PinterestTree tree oil can be used to soothe cradle cap on an infant’s scalp.

Mild to moderate dandruff related to the yeast Pityrosporum ovale may be treated with 5 percent tea tree oil, according to one study.

People with dandruff who used a 5 percent tea tree oil shampoo daily for 4 weeks showed significant improvements in overall severity, as well as in the levels of itchiness and greasiness, when compared with a placebo.

Participants experienced no negative effects.

Another study found tea tree oil shampoo effective for treating children with cradle cap.

It is possible to be allergic to tea tree oil. To check for a reaction, put a little shampoo on the infant’s forearm, and rinse. If no reaction occurs in 24 to 48 hours it should be safe to use.

9. Head lice

Head lice are becoming more resistant to medical treatments, so experts are increasingly considering essential oils as alternatives.

Research compared tea tree oil and nerolidol – a natural compound found in some essential oils – in the treatment of head lice. The tea tree oil was more effective at killing the lice, eradicating 100 percent after 30 minutes. On the other hand, nerolidol was more effective at killing the eggs.

A combination of both substances, at a ratio of 1 part to 2, worked best to destroy both the lice and the eggs.

Other research has found that a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil was effective at “suffocating.”

10. Nail fungus

Fungal infections are a common cause of nail abnormalities. They can be difficult to cure.

One study compared the effects of a cream comprising both 5 percent tea tree oil and 2 percent butenafine hydrochloride (a synthetic antifungal) with a placebo.

After 16 weeks, the nail fungus was cured in 80 percent of people. None of the cases in the placebo group was cured.

Another study showed tea tree oil effective in eliminating nail fungus in the laboratory.

However, this research does not definitely show that the tea tree oil component of the cream is responsible for the improvements experienced, so further research is needed.

11. Oral health

A gel containing tea tree oil may be beneficial for those with chronic gingivitis, an inflammatory gum condition.

Study participants who used tea tree oil gel experienced a significant reduction in bleeding and inflammation when compared with a placebo or a chlorhexidine antiseptic gel.

Other research indicates that a type of bacteria associated with bad breath may be treated with tea tree oil and alpha-bisabolol, the active component in chamomile.

Dose

The amount and timing of tea tree oil dosage depend on several factors, including the condition requiring treatment, its severity, and the concentration of the tea tree oil.

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