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Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. Tea tree oil is thought to have antiseptic properties and has been used to prevent and treat infections.
Other traditional uses of tea tree oil include treatment of fungal infections (including fungal infections of the nails and athlete's foot), dental health, parasites, skin allergic reactions, and vaginal infections. In addition, there is evidence supporting tea tree oil use for acne; however, further research is needed.
Tea tree oil should not be taken by mouth; there are reports of toxicity after consuming tea tree oil by mouth. When applied to the skin, tea tree oil is reported to be mildly irritating and has been associated with the development of an allergic skin reaction, which may limit its potential as an agent for the skin in some people.