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Friday, February 18, 2011

My New Friend: Tea Tree Oil

The last two weeks have been especially crazy, so please forgive me for my lack of postings. :) I have gotten some feedback from a few people and will hopefully be starting a series on meditation in the near future.  But for today, I want to share a holistic sinus remedy since allergy season will soon be upon us!

If you are anything like me, when March hits, you suffer from severe sinus problems.  Springtime means more pollen production which can wreak havoc on the sinus system.  So what are your options when sinusitis hits?  Normally, I would make an appointment with my doctor and take antibiotics (most likely a z-pack).  However, that really wasn't an option for me when I developed a sinus infection this past week:  My husband and I were driving from Mississippi to Texas.  So in an attempt to get well, I began googling home-remedies for sinusitis and one thing kept popping up: tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil originates from the leaves of the melaleuca alternifolia tree which is native to Australia.  It has a variety of uses such as a household cleaner, a pesticide (especially effective on lice), a skin rejuvenator,  and is effective at treating bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.  In my research, I found that tea tree oil, when used effectively, can actually kill the bacteria that causes a sinus infection.  At first, I was skeptical.  Then, I realized I had little to no other option, so I gave it a shot.

According to Tree Hugger, the following steps can be taken in order to ward off a sinus infection. What you will need:
*1 bottle of tea tree oil - Please do not confuse with tea oil. It is completely different. You can usually find tea tree oil in the vitamin section of your pharmacy.
*A sauce pan large enough to boil water.
*Olive oil

First, you will want to fill the saucepan with water and add a few drops of the tea tree oil (maybe a tsp worth).  Bring the water to a boil and inhale the steam.  Be careful to not inhale too closely or too deeply because irritation may occur.  Inhale for twenty-minutes or so. You can even drape a towel over your head in order to catch the steam, just be careful not to set yourself on fire. This can be done twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.  I pulled a bar stool up to the stove and hung out for twenty-minutes while listening to the TV. Not too bad considering the results.

Another thing you can do to kill bacteria, is make a tea tree salve.  This is where the olive oil comes in.  Mix about 1 tbs of olive oil with about 1/2 tsp of tea tree oil.  After mixing, you can apply it under your nose, or even inside the nostril if you aren't especially sensitive to the tea tree oil.  I would not recommend applying tea tree oil alone to the skin.  It can prove to be a skin irritant, which is why I cut it with olive oil.  You can apply as needed. I personally only apply it before bed.

After two days of this routine, mixed with sleeping with a humidifier and nasal strips, I am feeling much better.  This is going to sound gross, but I am no longer producing bright yellow mucus (hooray!), my nose is no longer itchy, and I'm less congested.  I plan on doing the routine for the next couple of days just to make sure I fully kill the infection.

Hopefully this little remedy helps you as much as it has helped me.  I know if another infections hits, I'm using tea tree oil again instead of rushing to the doctor's office! Om Namah Sivaya!

** Please note that I am not a medical professional.  My advice should never replace the opinion of a trained medical doctor.  

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