Tea tree has a long history of traditional use. Australian aboriginals used tea tree leaves for healing skin cuts, burns, and infections by crushing the leaves and applying them to the affected area. Tea tree oil contains consituents called terpenoids, which have been found to have antiseptic and antifungal activity.
I use tea tree oil as an antiseptic on any cut or scrape, and apply it with a cotton swab at the first sign of a cold sore or zit, and they dry up super-fast. Other uses for tea tree oil (that I haven’t tried) include treating thrush, dandruff, athlete’s foot, yeast infection, vaginitis, boils, eczema, psoriasis, and periodontal disease. Wow! You can check out the report at About.com for the studies and scientific data that support it’s use.
There are also lots of household uses and you’ll find more and more products (especially natural ones) claiming tea tree oil as an ingredient. I use a mixture of tea tree oil and lavender diluted in water in a spray bottle to keep bugs off my roses and plants outside. It works better than anything else I’ve found so far. It also works great as a natural insect repellent! Here’s a site with many, many more uses for tea tree oil. It really is amazing stuff! Give it a try.