Talk:Tea tree oil

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Page Hyper-Biased against TTO[edit]

  1. Look at the intro for example. " toxic when taken orally" -- makes it sound like everyone is going around chugging the stuff. It is mostly used topically.
  2. Every single section is "TTO is has no proven efficacy for...." Yet there are many studies to the contrary. The NIH NCCIH fact sheet on it says "A limited amount of research indicates that tea tree oil might be helpful for acne, nail fungus, and athlete’s foot." [1]

When I introduced edits in an aim for NPOV, they were quickly reverted. Afartrip (talk) 11:47, 14 August 2018 (UTC)afartrip[]

So far as I can see we have good sources and are reflecting them faithfully. Even the NCCIH source has the toxicity warning in bold type. Are there some WP:MEDRS we missing? Ripping all criticism out of the lede is really not a good way to proceed here. Alexbrn (talk) 12:14, 14 August 2018 (UTC)[]
We don't need to rip ALL criticism out of the lead, but it is written in a ridiculously negative and poor way. I shall have a go at tidying it up. Be aware that it WAS used by Australian Aboriginal people for millennia. They had no written language, which fits poorly with our demands for written sources. It is quite popular among other modern Australians for various purposes. Modern western medicine might just still be catching up. HiLo48 (talk) 00:35, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
Reliable sources seem to be saying its supposed benefits in fact turned out to be an illusion. We reflect that. What would be welcome is some more content on the non-health aspects of TTO. Alexbrn (talk) 06:30, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
I get the feeling you just ignored everything I wrote in my comment. HiLo48 (talk) 07:46, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
Go with the sources. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 07:50, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
Why are you ignoring what I wrote about sourcing? HiLo48 (talk) 08:07, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
@HiLo48: It's hard to react to your (unupported) assertion that this "WAS" (capitals) used "for millennia", by "Australian Aboriginal people". Primitive peoples all over the globe used to use loads of useless treatments, and human health was in a rough state accordingly – that's a truism. What text and what source are you proposing? this is WP:NOTAFORUM. Alexbrn (talk) 08:02, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
There is no evidence the Australian Aboriginal people were either primitive or in poor health when European contact occurred. In fact, European contact had a massively negative effect on their health. I don't want to turn this into a forum, but I feel I am reading uninformed nonsense and prejudice from closed minds here. HiLo48 (talk) 08:07, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
Once again is any actual text on TTO proposed based on any source? This is getting disruptive. Alexbrn (talk) 08:20, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
Yes. Editors "responding" to my comments with no regard to what I have actually said is very disruptive. This page is for discussion, not for absolute statements, and total dependence on selected policies. And despite the implication in the notice you stuck on my Talk page that I am somehow promoting alternative medicine, that could not be further from the truth. I have no barrow to push here. I just agreed with another editor that the article was ridiculously negative about this stuff, for less than perfect reasons. I tried to help make it better. The article is now better, but still a long way from ideal. But if you're going to play dirty, I will walk away. (Which is presumably what you want.) HiLo48 (talk) 09:14, 15 August 2018 (UTC)[]
I found this page overly negative as well. This citation clearly states its benefits-, and yet it seems that only the negative sources have been picked. 16 January 2019 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:645:8302:5449:31AF:8989:D41:1E27 (talk)
Yeah well, an industry advocacy group is going to say positive things, isn't it? It is not a reliable source. There are a bunch of vested interests trying to promote this stuff as useful; high-quality independent assessments find it's hardly useful for anything. The problem you have is not with the article, it's with reality (which the article accurately reflects). Alexbrn (talk) 09:24, 16 January 2019 (UTC)[]
I agree it appear hyper-bias against TTO. We used to have a very good discussion on the positive and negative aspects of Tea Tree Oil. The positive aspects that previously appeared in the article (e.g. effective against MRSA) have been edited out. This is particularly concerning. Wikipedia is suppose to be both informative and neutral POV. Gsonnenf (talk) 09:05, 3 December 2019 (UTC)[]

I have been on Wikipedia since almost the beginning and this is about the most biased page I have read on Wikipedia. Wikipedia used to be a source of unbiased information but a very small number of people biased against TTO, most probably because of a personal incident, are using Wikipedia to further their unnatural biases. Sad. Skapur (talk) 16:20, 14 December 2019 (UTC)[]

NPOV dispute - Impartial tone[edit]

The article does not appear to be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), but instead from a point of view against the possibility of beneficial uses for the oil.

Previous comments here in Talk suggest citing studies that might support medical use of the oil. The most active comment thread explicitly mentions a desire to "aim for NPOV". These discussions seem to have focused on the article's potential sources. The present comment primarily brings up a different NPOV concern, regarding the article's tone. Also, one section includes citations that may not meet sourcing requirements. Concerns about the tone in each section are detailed below, as are concerns about the noted citations. Suggestions for improvement are made throughout, closing with some additional thoughts about potential improvements.


Tone throughout most of the article suggests the against point of view, rather than using an impartial tone. With the exception of two sections (Composition and characteristics and History and extraction), "The text and manner of writing can insinuate that one viewpoint is more correct than another" (quoted from here).

Tone is contentious throughout the four sections discussed below. Delivery of this tone is in the form of a pattern repeated many times: a topic is raised, and a negative aspect is given focus as a rebuttal. It may appear to the reader that each topic is mentioned only to show the negative aspect. Constructive information is consistently absent, about topics raised. To avoid this tone, each topic raised should either be given constructive purpose, or not be mentioned. Negative aspects should be mentioned on their own merit, rather than as rebuttal. Negative aspects are also repeated several times, and sometimes may be used for shock value. Unnecessary repetitions should be avoided. Statements intended to shock the reader should be rephrased or omitted.


The second paragraph begins the trends noted above. Its first sentence begins with a negative about folk medicine, before the topic itself of folk medicine is yet introduced. This pattern is repeated when positives about various treatments are raised in the second sentence, but focus is given to a negation in the third sentence.

The fourth sentence similarly focuses on a negative, regarding a lack of patent. It may not at this point evident to the reader why patents are mentioned, or that the oil should require a patent. Oils of naturally-occurring plants are not typically patentable. Again in the fourth sentence, it is noted that the oil has not gained approval as a drug. The wording may suggests that the oil is a drug, which may have unintended negative connotations. Likewise, it may be suggested that the oil should require approval.

The final sentence notes that the oil is poisonous if ingested, without note that it typically is not ingested. That last sentence also notes that it is unsafe for children. Without context of what kind of use is being considered, the reader may interpret this as a claim that any use is unsafe. The study could not address every possible use. Also, considered unsafe may be a more suitable wording.

There is no narrative or descriptive connection between these six negative aspects. This may leave the reader with the impression that after describing what the oil is, the most important topic is that this oil is intended to be considered a bad thing. The escalating rate of raising topics, coupled with the negativity of the topics, may be intended to shock the reader.


This section does not describe normal use of the oil, though the section is titled "Uses". Here, it may be informational to note that diluted forms of the oil are typically used externally. Examples of typical products would be illustrative.

Three ailments are mentioned with potential treatments, and negative aspects of four treatments gain focus - notably one more than were originally mentioned. The last sentence also covers what appear to be topics of safety, which may be more appropriately discussed in the Safety section.


The first paragraph of this section breaks from the pattern of raising topics only to rebut them, and instead simply lists negatives with no apparent connection to the rest of the article. The entirety of this first paragraph is potentially irrelevant, given that external use is typical. Omitting a description of normal use exaggerates any value this paragraph would have. This exaggeration suggests that this paragraph as a whole may be intended to shock the reader.

The first sentence reiterates the claim of being poisonous, from the introduction. With its prominence as the first sentence, the sentence itself may be intended to shock the reader. The second sentence lists negative effects of ingestion. The inclusion of more than one line's worth of negative medical conditions may be intended to draw attention and shock the reader. The remaining two sentences also cover aspects of internal use.

The rebuttal pattern is resumed with the second paragraph: the first sentence noting acceptability for diluted use, but ends in the rebuttal of oxidation. The second sentence and remaining sentences of this paragraph then detail negative aspects of either not diluting, or of oxidation.

Notably, this is the article's first mention of external use. This information is somewhat obscured by three factors: absence from the relevant Uses section, presence in the irrelevant Safety section, and position in the middle of a sentence regarding a toxicity study. This obscuring and the negativity present in the remainder of the paragraph together suggests that the paragraph as a whole is intended to shock the reader. This impression is additionally supported by the concluding sentence of the Safety section ending with the phrase "should not be used".

Other animals[edit]

"Death" is the fifth word in this section, which visually is drawn out by the preceding comma and two references that follow. There is only one sentence in the section. This design suggests the section is intended to shock the reader. The sentence does not flow with the rest of the article. On its own, it does not mention enough about the referenced studies to know how the results may be relevant.


The first sentence quotes a study with a claim about treatments for skin problems. Is it an appropriate citation? The study is from an organization that focuses on cancer. Is the study about cancer, or about how tea tree oil may affect cancer treatment? Claims about skin problems would appear to be in the specialty of dermatology.

The second and third sentences each reiterate a point mentioned in the "Uses" section. As this iteration does not provide new information, it may also be seen as reiterating the summary in the introduction, instead of expanding on the list.


Other animals[edit]

The three references in this section may not meet sourcing requirements. The article currently focuses on medical use. In absence of discussion about veterinary use, the section's references might be interpreted as references to medical sources. Any such references should not be about animal studies (see here). The three references are also to primary sources, which "should generally not be used for medical content" (see here).

Potential edits[edit]

The oil seems to have worldwide commercial availability. I'm not yet sure how to find good economic sources. A top hit on a search engine suggested that the market is in the low billions of USD per year. Including some economic information would give the article a broader scope, giving context to discussion about the current scientific understanding.

Searching PubMed today found two secondary sources [2] [3] that are of note for this "Talk" discussion. As these studies were both conducted in vitro, they may be unsuitable for the article itself (see here). The abstracts of both studies conclude with a recommendation for further study in vivo. These studies are dated 2003 and 2018, suggesting that the scientific community has yet to come to consensus on the matter of medical uses of the oil. Is there a consensus we might reference? If instead there is conflict, the article should "neutrally document the conflict" (see here). Would a note regarding the lack of scientific consensus in the article's introduction be appropriate?

Yakmandango (talk) 08:58, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]

Read WP:MEDRS. Thanks. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 09:01, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
How is WP:MEDRS relevant to the comments, which are primarily about tone and POV? --Yakmandango (talk) 09:15, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
If you want to make health claims, your sources must follow WP:MEDRS. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 09:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Indeed. However, that appears to be irrelevant to comments about tone and point of view. --Yakmandango (talk) 09:25, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Sure, but I disagree with your comments about NPOV, and I was just re-enforcing our policy on health claims, because new editors normally want to make absurd health claims for TTO. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 09:42, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Any notes would be welcomed. As it stands, I feel the article's tone is not neutral, for the many and specific reasons I mentioned. The tone may have suffered during the article's ... "long and sordid" history (that archived Talk page is something else...). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yakmandango (talkcontribs) 09:49, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
I was going to suggest reading both archives to see the sort of thing we have to contend with. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 09:51, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]

I think the article necessarily mirrors the reality. TTO was thought (through misconception and as a result of a need for an industry to find a use) to be useful for myriad things. The harsh lens of science has however revealled it to be almost a totally useless (maybe even positively harmful) substance that would be better left in the trees. TTO is itself a story of hopeful ignorance dashed by empirical study. If there are sources we are missing, then bring them forth - but the tenor of most sources is (crudley) "nope, doesn't work" or "doesn't work, and may be harmful - avoid". The article mirrors the sources. The fact that the OP is querying top-tier WP:MEDRS like the ACS, is worrying. Alexbrn (talk) 16:00, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]

The primary concern raised is about tone. If there is a misconception in the history of its use, that should be noted explicitly in the article in a neutral tone, rather than being only implied and otherwise affecting the article with a contentious tone. Having read the Talk archives, I understand there's a history here. For my part, I hope that WP:AGF might still apply. I don't represent anyone, though that statement is easy to make. Without a contribution history, the prose of these comments should give some partial indication of intention and quality of authorship. I just read the article and thought its tone was too rough for this site. I am willing to help improve, should I get a feeling that consensus might be found regarding the proposed direction of improvement. I hope to make quality contributions. Posting the admittedly long-winded comment was my attempt to provide enough information about what I might change, to solicit feedback. Easy reverts help keep an article on track, though they also present an rather high bar for entry for a new editor. Having read and considered many policies, guidelines, and essays, I found them naturally agreeable and feel that I've met the bar. --Yakmandango (talk) 20:02, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
I don't think there is a tone problem. Much of the article is about mundane things (extraction/composition) and the medical stuff is just a good summary of good sources. On the other hand it would be also good to add information on market size, commercialization, etc. if good sources can be found. Alexbrn (talk) 20:08, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Got it. It seems that we do have an ongoing NPOV dispute here, with a handful of editors on each side of the "is there a NPOV?" question.
It's still my impression that the tone is not neutral. Would it be possible for an editor who sees the tone is neutral, to respond to a few of the twenty or so specific issues of tone that were described as tone problems, in my original comment? My reasons are stated, and seeing reasons for the opposing position could help iron stuff out.
If not, I could also just make some edits. Given how pervasive that I see the tone issue, I'd rather edit a "working copy" (or whatever they are called). Since I don't understand the reasons why editors might see the tone as neutral, any edit I might make would be without consensus. Editing a working copy would avoid the possibility of edit wars, and keep the NPOV dispute process from unnecessarily shaking up the article's text. I read that working copies are do-able, but I'd yet have to learn how to use them. So, I'd prefer to read some responses to the specific issues, and I'm hoping someone might share their "is neutral" impressions.
By the way, I don't plan to add or remove the article's existing references. That wouldn't have a notable affect on tone. The hope is to improve or "neutralize" tone, without getting distracted by sourcing. --Yakmandango (talk) 20:38, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[]
I thought all your "close reading" was fanciful and tone-deaf; your substantive points (questioning sources) just plain wrong. Trying to base an argument on what you personally think is the "intent" behind the words of the hundreds of editors who have written this article, is a fool's errand. Alexbrn (talk) 21:26, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[]
Given no constructive responses relevant to tone, I will proceed to learn this "working copy" thing, as to illustrate by way of concrete example, what I believe might be a NPOV version of the current article. --Yakmandango (talk) 23:13, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[]
I have abandoned the idea of improving this article. I am a new editor, and felt pressure against my contribution from active editors. Alex, Roxy: please consider being more constructive in the future, to avoid driving away people who are trying to be helpful.

Yakmandango (talk) 10:27, 26 September 2019 (UTC)[]

2015 article was much more informative and NPOV compared to current article.[edit]

Hello, to anyone wanting to bring this article into NPOV, i would suggest looking at the older version from 2015 ( ) when it was NPOV and consistent with WP:MED. (at least according to most authors). It appears to have degraded quite a bit since then. Gsonnenf (talk) 09:12, 3 December 2019 (UTC)[]

Certainly a lot of old/weak sources. Is there anything recent on TTO, or has the scientific world simply concluded it is a largely useless substance and moved on? As always, sources are all. Alexbrn (talk) 09:17, 3 December 2019 (UTC)[]
Oh I remember you Alexbrn. You were the one who was always trying removing those sources, but the rest of the community kept them in. I guess we all got busy and couldn't defend the NPOV anymore. I will commend you for your tenacity though, you sure stuck it out when everyone else got exhausted.Gsonnenf (talk) 07:05, 4 December 2019 (UTC)[]
Since the entirety of the talk page is justified response regarding NPOV, I have added the NPOV tag. Lets see what we can do about bringing back the many people who have intermittently contributed through out the past years.Gsonnenf (talk) 07:09, 4 December 2019 (UTC)[]
I think there's a whiff of Danth's Law about how you remember your previous edits. Since then, it looks like the article's many editors have done a good job to update it (though the page lacks material on history, market, industrial process and commercialization). Zefr in particular has cleaned up the biomedical content. If you have specific suggestions, please make them – but we need to be wary of badge-of-shame tagging. Alexbrn (talk) 08:01, 4 December 2019 (UTC)[]
I've never seen an article where the sources have been more systematically cherry picked, nor where the lead is more marginally written. GliderMaven (talk) 14:49, 5 December 2019 (UTC)[]
Do you have specific suggestions based on sources/NPOV? The NPOV guidance says that it can be removed if "It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given." — soupvector (talk) 16:20, 5 December 2019 (UTC)[]

Note that since 2013 there has been quite a bit of discussion at WT:MED wrt TTO:

So it's not as if there hasn't been eyes on this content. I am surprised we are still using Mayo Clinic as a source. In general it seems very little research is being done any more, and little to no utility has been found. We do however know it's toxic, risks allergic reactions & hormone disruption. On this last point it's probably noting what the Endocrine Society say.[4] We should also say something about environmental safety. Alexbrn (talk) 16:33, 5 December 2019 (UTC)[]

It was improper for the NPOV tag to be removed. Calling the addition of the tag a "drive by", when it was added by an long time author is also improper. I have looked at the links above posted by alexbrn. The links contain alexbrn's post. I did not see anyone agree with his removals of sources. In one post, Doc James called the removals disruptive. This seems like a 5 year case of WP:OWN. Lets try to get some more authors involved to fix the article. If alexbrn can be accepting of other authors, perhaps take a WP:BREAK from the article for several months, I'm sure more authors could get involved without feeling pushed out. Gsonnenf (talk) 08:12, 10 December 2019 (UTC)[]
It is quite right to remove drive-by tags which are placed without specific reasoning being given, per the template instructions. So far as I can see, Doc James was complaining about "disruptive" edits here - and the complaint was about the addition of unreliable sources. If you are complaining about specific edits, then give some diffs. So far as I can see we have decent sourcing in this article and there is little or no recent new evidence that we can usefully use. If you have specific suggestions, then make them. Alexbrn (talk) 09:13, 10 December 2019 (UTC)[]
(Add) Well blow me down! Not sooner do I say there's nothing recent than I see some new research has appeared in the last few days: I have added it to the article (it is not WP:MEDRS, but is okay for poisoning statistics which is what it's about). Alexbrn (talk) 09:41, 10 December 2019 (UTC)[]

This article is extremely biased evidenced by the fact that one editor (Alexbrn) is dominating the edits and is deliberately biasing this article by editing it to further the editor’s own personal point of view. The sad fact is that this editor does not even realize how biased this article has become. Cherry picking references to further your own biased POV and deleting any conflicting POV that would make the article more neutral is bad editing. Skapur (talk) 16:29, 14 December 2019 (UTC)[]

Since the amount of hand waving is now reaching fever pitch, to repeat:
  • If you have problems with a specific edit, give a diff of it
  • If you have problems with a user, take it to WP:AIN, discussing users here is WP:DE and can lead to sanctions
  • If you have problems with sources/content, be specific.
Vague whingeing about "it's biased" is of no use, and does not help us improve the article. Alexbrn (talk) 16:41, 14 December 2019 (UTC)[]

If anyone is being disruptive it is the editor who is refusing to WP:Listen to everyone else and insists that their personal POV prevail. Also, I can not find the reference in WP:DE that prohibits disruptive editors from being discussed first in the talk page before being taken to WP:AIN, in fact it discussion in the talk page is encouraged. Skapur (talk) 03:56, 18 December 2019 (UTC)[]

WP:FOC. We don't do "badge of shame" tagging. You have tagged the entire article (not just any section) for POV, so you now need to explain why "pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies. In the absence of such a discussion, or where it remains unclear what the NPOV violation is, the tag may be removed by any editor". Alexbrn (talk) 04:43, 18 December 2019 (UTC)[]
(Add) * crickets * – Skapur where are your specific actionable proposals? Alexbrn (talk) 17:16, 20 December 2019 (UTC)[]
Agree with removal of NPOV tag; complainant has offered no evidence-based suggestions for content improvement. — soupvector (talk) 05:02, 21 December 2019 (UTC)[]

Bad link in section on Composition[edit]

In the Composition table, the text "terpinolene" is linked to the article on terpenines. Wikipedia doesn't have an article on terpinolene, apparently. Is it OK to just remove the link from the text in the table? Wscholine (talk) 15:36, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[]