Tea Tree Essential Oil Research

Melaleuca (tea tree) is one of the most popular essential oils—and for good reason. It has myriad uses for skin care and in supporting various body systems. While Melaleuca has been used for centuries in Australia, little is understood about its biological activity. However, scientists recently published a study on the effects of melaleuca oil on human skin cells.

What makes this research so novel and unique? First, it is one of the very few studies testing the impact of Melaleuca oil on human skin cells. This means the study is relevant to how Melaleuca is most commonly used: topically on human skin. Second, this is believed to be the first study ever to test the impact of Melaleuca on human global gene expression. In other words, this study is one of the first to truly examine the impact of Melaleuca on the ongoing processes occurring within human cells.

Imagine the human cell like a factory with various workers, most of which are proteins, that ensure its proper function. The levels of these proteins can often reflect how the cell is functioning. Genes are the building blocks of cells and are essential for the creation of proteins. To learn how Melaleuca affects the processes and functions of human cells, scientists measured the impact of Melaleuca on the levels of cellular proteins and the expression of different genes.

So what does this mean? In short, the study shows that Melaleuca robustly impacts our genes and the proteins that are part of our cellular makeup. The findings suggest that Melaleuca impacts various processes and functions in human cells, including tissue remodeling and metabolism. The potential for future research and models of use is exciting.

Though research is needed before further methods of use can be recommended, more research will be conducted on the clinical efficacy and safety of Melaleuca.

Data sources:

  • Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil demonstrates tissue-remodeling and metabolism-modulating activities in human skin cells, Xuesheng Han & Tory L. Parker, Cogent Biology (2017), 3: 1318476 https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/6912795