Earlier in the summer I had a burning sensation between two of the toes on my right foot. I couldn't see anything, but it sure felt like athlete's foot. When I researched natural remedies, tea tree oil was on many of the lists. I decided to give it a try; several years ago I used a shampoo that contained the ingredient, and liked its eucalyptus smell and the tingly sensation it left on my scalp. The next time I was at Whole Foods I bought a tiny brown bottle of tea tree essential oil. I applied a drop on the painful places between my toes twice a day. It took about a week, but eventually the problem went away.
Tea tree oil is a nearly colorless essential oil that has antiviral and antibacterial properties. The aboriginal people of Australia have used the oil and leaves of tea trees for centuries. Now, it's touted as a remedy for all types of bacterial and fungal skin ailments. After my foot healed I had most of the bottle left, so I started dabbing a little tea tree oil on cuts, scrapes, and the occasional pimple. It seemed like it worked at least as well as other first aid products.
Last Saturday night I noticed the middle of my upper lip was puffy and tingling, and I suspected I was getting a cold sore. Sure enough, when I woke up Sunday morning I had a cluster of three tiny blisters right in the middle of my lip which were surrounded by a red swollen area.
I decided to try tea tree oil, applying it to the outbreak every few hours. When I woke up on Monday the blisters seemed to be drying up and my lip was less puffy. Encouraged, I took the bottle to work with me and continued to dab it on the area. By bedtime the only evidence of blisters was a patch of dry skin. Today my lip still felt a little strange, but it looked completely normal. The only negative side effect was that the tea tree oil dried out my lips. Applications of lip balm took care of that.
I think the last time I had a cold sore it took more than a week to heal. This one took two days. Tea tree oil is amazing!
Five years ago today: New Thing #46--Can You Reconcile That?