tea tree oil (Melaleuca Oil)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: tea tree oil

BRAND NAME: Melaleuca oil

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tea tree oil is topical antiseptic. It contains Terpinen-4-ol, which has antifungal and antimicrobial properties.



PREPARATIONS: Tea tree oil is available as 5% gel, 5% ointment, 100% solution, 25-50% solution, and 10% cream.

STORAGE: Store tea tree oil below 86 F (30 C).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Tea tree oil is used to treat minor cuts, scrapes, burns, abrasions, insect bites, and stings. It is also used for acne, nail fungus, and athlete's foot.


  • The recommended dose for acne is: Apply 5% gel to affected areas daily.
  • The recommended dose for nail fungus (Onychomycosis) is: Apply 100% solution twice daily for 6 months.
  • The recommended dose for athlete's foot is: Apply 10% cream topically twice a day for 1 month OR apply 25% or 50% solution twice a day for 1 month.
  • Tea tree oil 100% solution can be applied to cuts, scrapes, burns, abrasions, insect bites, and stings.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: There is no information on drug interactions with tea tree oil.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies done on tea tree oil to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether tea tree oil enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of tea tree oil may be local irritation and inflammation at the application area.

REFERENCE: NIH.gov. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2014

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Back to Medications Index


Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!