Oil Properties It has a light spicy, rather pungent smell and is very pale in colour with a watery viscosity. Origin It is a small tree from New South Wales in Australia, similar to Cypress, with needle-like leaves and heads of sessile yellow or purplish flowers and grows to about 7 meters (20 feet) high and thrives in marshy areas, though it is now cultivated in plantations. Even when this tree is cut down, it flourishes and is ready for cutting again in two years. The oil is only produced in Australia where the Aborigines used it for a long time for a variety of medicinal purposes. In World War II, the producers and the cutters were exempt from military service until enough essential oil had been accumulated. Each soldier and sailor was issued with some as part of their kit, to treat tropical infections and infected wounds. Tea tree oil is an ingredient of soaps, creams, lotions, deodorants, disinfectants and air fresheners. Extraction It is extracted from the leaves and twigs by steam distillation and the yield is about 1.8%. Chemical Composition The main chemical components of tea tree oil (also referred to as ti-tree oil) are a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, a-terpinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, terpinen-4-ol and a-terpineol. Precautions Tea tree oil is considered a safe oil, as it is non-toxic and non-irritant, but some individuals so show sensitizing to this oil, and it should be used with this in mind. It should not be used on deep wounds or near the eyes, ears, nose or internally. Please remember that it is a most powerful oil, but using it unwisely could result in problems.