New! - Original Bush Tea Tree Essential Oil
We’ve taken on a few new products with this years catalogue and one of the most useful to all the Baldwins staff has been our new Original Bush Tea Tree Essential Oil. Here’s a little run-down of what it’s all about.
Original Bush Tea Tree (Malaleuca alternifolia) Country of origin: Australia
Tea tree is native to Australia, mainly in the Northeastern coastal parts of New South Wales (and South Easterly Queensland) – For the geographically challenged, the bit on the far right!
Method of extraction: Steam Distillation (Leaves & Branches)
A (Very) Brief History Of Tea Tree Oil
All tea tree of the variety Malaleuca alternifolia is grown in Australia and is an important crop for the country (producing between 400 & 500 metric tons of pure oil a year!). The Tea Tree (actually named by Captain James Cook, who used to enjoy a tea made from the leaves) has been used by the indigenous Bundjalung people of Eastern Australia to heal wounds and infections (as a cold-infused poultice) and as a drink to help soothe sore throats and other ailments.
Australian research chemists Arthur Penfold (pictured), along with a few other colleagues, is credited with kick starting the commercial tea tree industry in the 1920′s by discovering the strongly antiseptic properties of the volatile oil distilled from the plant.
By the mid 40′s the Australian government even deemed it essential enough (sorry!) to be included in the first aid kits of their soldiers for use as a disinfectant during WWII.
The difference between our standard Tea Tree Oil and our Original Bush Tea Tree Oil is that this oil comes from original seed stock gathered from the tree in its native environment (rather than the cultivated seed more widely used in the industry today).
The trees have been producing oil for the past 18 years and in our opinion the oil has a smoother, softer aroma, than the aroma of the newer tea tree strand which was produced in conjunction with the ATTIA (Australian Tea Tree Industry Association) & CSIRO in Australia.
The original aroma of this oil isn’t widely available today and we have sourced this directly from the producer in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, where the tree is native.
For me the aroma leans towards the Organic Tea Tree and Kunzea essential oils we sell (both also Australian and well worth a look as a tea tree alternative or companion) and away from the industrial, angular antiseptic connotations of regular old tea tree. Definitely softer and more pleasant than utilitarian; campherous but not offensive (quite a feat to achieve!).
The main active constituent of tea tree oil is a plant chemical called terpinen-4-ol and current standards of production mean that oil produced must contain between 30 – 48% terpinen-4-ol . (Tea tree with a level of over 45% is suspicious, and likely to be adulterated with pure t-4-ol which is also a waste product from rectified eucalyptus, pine and other oils). Tea Tree Oil has a great (scientifically backed up) reputation for being strongly antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral.
Almost all pure Australian tea tree (including the original bush tea tree and our regular tea tree oil) has approximately 40% (just above actually!) terpinen-4-ol content. Anything less than 30% will not cut the mustard, and can’t be called tea tree oil according to the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
Another constituent is 1,8 cineole (also known as Eucalyptol – it’s found at concentrations of up to 90% in Eucalyptus Essential Oil), a fresh campherous smelling compound also found in sage, rosemary, bay and other essential oils.
Tea Tree Oil is a definite staple of any household and any aromatherapist’s toolkit. Use it on cuts and scrapes, infections, acne, athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections and so much more. I find it handy diluted down (at about 10-20%) in pure Distilled Witchazel and put in an atomiser bottle. This makes a really handy spray for when you have any acne breakouts or raw & cracked skin caused by cold weather. The addition of our, softer-smelling, Original Bush Tea Tree Oil makes using it just that little bit more pleasant.
Like all our essential oils, Tea Tree Oil should only ever be used externally. (it can be highly toxic if ingested!)
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