Melaleuca alternifolia, commonly known as Narrow-leaved Paperbark, Narrow-leaved Tea-tree, Narrow-leaved Ti-tree, or Snow-in-summer, is a species of tree or tall shrub in the plant genus Melaleuca. Native to Australia, it occurs in Southeast Queensland and the north coast and adjacent ranges of New South Wales. It grows along streams and on swampy flats, and is often the dominant species where it occurs.
Leaves are linear, 10–35 mm long and 1 mm wide. White flowers occur in spikes 3–5 cm long. Small woody, cup-shaped fruit are 2–3 mm in diameter.
essential oil in clear glass vial
Characteristic of the myrtle family Myrtaceae, it is used to distill essential oil. It is the primary species for commercial production of Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil), a topical antibacterial and antifungal used in a range of herbal medicine products including antiseptics, deodorants, shampoos, soaps, and lotions. It is also effective against aphthous ulcers, more commonly known as canker sores.
Tea tree oil is toxic if ingested in large amounts and if used topically in high concentrations may cause skin irritation. No deaths have been reported.
- ^ "Melaleuca alternifolia information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- ^ Harden, G.J., (ed), Flora of New South Wales, Vol. 2, 1991, ISBN 0-86840-172-2
- ^ Carson, C. F.; Hammer, K. A.; Riley, T. V. (2006). "Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties". Clinical Microbiology Reviews 19 (1): 50–62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006. PMC 1360273. PMID 16418522.
- ^ a b Hammer, K; Carson, C; Riley, T; Nielsen, J (2006). "A review of the toxicity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil". Food and Chemical Toxicology 44 (5): 616–25. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2005.09.001. PMID 16243420.