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Tea Tree Oil for Impetigo

Q. I get infections (impetigo) inside my nostrils a few times a year. This is painful and usually takes three weeks for complete healing.

A friend suggested using tea tree oil. It immediately took away the sting and sharp pain. Within 24 hours, I had healing. I continue to use the tea tree oil for a few days to make sure the impetigo is gone.

A. Australian tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is active against several different germs, including Staphylococcus aureus, which causes impetigo (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Sept. 2011). It has also been tested against a few other nasties, such as Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the yeast Candida albicans.

We appreciate your testimonial, but caution others to test the product on the inner forearm first before putting it in a sensitive place such as the nostril. Tea tree oil can sometimes be irritating (International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, Jan. 2012).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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