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What is melaleuca oil?

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Quick Answer

Melaleuca oil, more commonly known as tea tree oil, is a yellow essential oil that comes from a plant native to Australia, according to Medical News Today. Applied topically, melaleuca oil is supposed to bring medical benefits to the skin.

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Full Answer

Melaleuca oil has a number of different medical applications. Mixing it with silver creates an effective treatment for infected cuts on the skin, states Medical News Today. Using a 5 percent melaleuca oil solution improves acne significantly. The oil also treats athlete's foot when placed in a cream, and 80 percent of patients suffering from fungus on the toenails find that melaleuca oil-based cream resolves the issue. However, there is still not enough evidence that melaleuca oil successfully treats lice, thrush, gingivitis, genital herpes or cough.

Using melaleuca oil brings some risks, reports Medical News Today. Users should never swallow the oil, as this can lead to blood cell anomalies, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and severe rashes. Hallucinations, loss of balance, drowsiness, confusion and even coma can also result. Some people develop contact dermatitis after touching melaleuca oil. People with allergies to the oil should not use it at all. Even without experiencing an allergic reaction, some people still get a rash from melaleuca oil.

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