Tea tree oil for yeast infection
Using tea tree oil for yeast infection may offer many benefits but can also cause unpleasant side effects when used incorrectly. This experts guide summarizes our experience working with tea tree oil for yeast infection and candida issues. We looked into traditional remedies, published medical studies as well as the thousands of the tea tree oil for yeast infection reviews we gathered over our many years of practice.
We hope this guide will help you enjoy the many tea tree oil benefits while minimizing the risks.
In this guide
Tea tree oil for yeast infections
Tea tree oil and yeast infection
Benefits, side effects and Risks
Most of tea tree oil uses and benefits come from tea tree oil antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil has a long history of traditional use as medicine for cuts and wounds by the aboriginal people of Australia. Due to its promising medicinal properties, tea tree oil has been studied extensively with many of its benefits supported and backed up by published studies (source). As a part of these studies, tea tree oil side effects, risks and general recommendations for a safe tea tree oil use have been documented as well.
Below is a summary of the main tea tree oil benefits and side effects, focusing on yeast infection and candida treatment:
Tea tree oil antifungal properties
Common uses: candida and yeast infections, tea tree oil skin fungus, toenail fungus
Tea tree oil antifungal properties are well known and were demonstrated in many studies. Tea tree oil was shown as effective against fungus, candida and yeast infections (source 1, source 2, source 3), with its mechanism of action clearly identified. As research suggests, the effectiveness of tea tree oil for candida and yeast is due to its ability to:
- Alter candida yeast membrane properties by increasing the yeast cell permeability and membrane fluidity (source, see complete study).
- Inhibit the respiration of candida (source).
Due to its antifungal properties, tea tree oil uses for fungal infections of skin, hair and toenails are very common. Topical use of tea tree oil for fungus issues on skin and hair was shown by research to be effective, especially in cases of toenail fungus (onychomycosis) and dandruff (source).
When using tea tree oil for fungal infection or other external issues, special consideration needs to be given to the concentration of the tea tree oil. It is advised to always dilute the oil to minimize skin irritation and other side effects. An example of a safe and effective recipe is covered in the tea tree oil and coconut oil recipe section.
Tea tree oil side effects
Tea tree oil side effects are common, although in most cases they can be avoided with proper safe use. Here are the most common uses that are linked to tea tree oil side effects. We will also cover safe protocols to minimize these side effects in the following sections.
- Oral use: According to the medical literature, tea tree oil can be toxic if consumed orally. The general recommendation is that tea tree oil should not be used in or around the mouth at all (source).
- Topical use, undiluted: Using tea tree oil topically is considered safe when it is properly diluted. Tea tree oil can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction (source 1, source 2). For this reason, it is important to test how your body responds on a small healthy areas prior to applying it on the affected areas.
- Vaginal yeast infection: Intravaginal use of tea tree oil has been linked to many side effects such as irritation and burning. Most health experts consider tea tree oil as too harsh to be used inside the vagina. To learn more, see our tea tree oil for vaginal yeast infection section.
Tea tree oil for thrush and oral yeast infection
Using tea tree oil for thrush in mouth (oral thrush) and other oral yeast infection issues is not recommended. According to the medical literature, tea tree oil can be toxic if consumed orally, with many reports of serious cases of tea tree oil poisoning documented (source 1, source 2, source 3). The national poison control center stated that “tea tree oil is poisonous if swallowed and should not be used in or around the mouth at all”. (source).
Tea tree oil can be found in very low concentration in many natural products for oral care such as mouthwashes, toothpastes and others. These are usually considered safe as a part of ongoing oral care hygiene. These products however, are not designed to treat oral thrush or other oral yeast infections, especially considering the low concentration of tea tree oil used.
The bottom line: using tea tree oil for oral thrush may not be the best idea. It may cause burning and strong irritation when placed in the mouth, even if you use diluted tea tree oil. Considering that your mouth, tongue and other delicate tissues in the mouth are already irritated and damaged by the yeast infection, the last thing you want is to consume an ingredient that may cause additional irritation.
Natural remedies for thrush
If you need a relief from oral thrush or oral yeast infections, you may want to look into ozonated olive oil, which is olive oil that had ozone added into it. Ozonated olive oil is considered as one of the best natural remedies for oral thrush and other oral infections, that is also backed up by science, with a solid record of published human studies suggesting its effectiveness and safety, especially in cases of mouth irritation (source), oral thrush (source), vaginal yeast infections (source), and skin issues (source).
To learn more about ozonated olive oil including a step by step remedy of how to use it for oral thrush, see:
home remedies for thrush.
Tea tree oil for yeast infection on skin
Using tea tree oil topically is considered safe when it is properly diluted, although research data suggests it can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reactions (source 1, source 2). Topical use of diluted tea tree oil for skin is very popular and is mainly based on tea tree oil known antiseptic and antimicrobial properties (source). Tea tree oil can be found in many natural cosmetic products for hand wash, acne, shampoo, hair conditioners, massage oils, nail, skin care, body washes, soaps, antiseptic creams and many more.
Using tea tree oil for yeast infection on skin however, requires special attention, considering that the skin is already irritated and sensitive. In addition, many cases of yeast infection on skin include itchy skin that often causes constant discomfort.
This means that an ideal antifungal cream for yeast infection needs to do both: fight the fungal and yeast infection as well as calm and relieve the itchy skin. Tea tree oil does have the antifungal properties although it may not be ideal to address the itchy skin. There is some data suggesting that tea tree oil may have antipruritic (anti-itch) properties (source), although the data is quite limited. Due to the reported side effects that tea tree oil actually caused skin irritation, most remedies and tea tree oil creams for yeast infections combine tea tree oil with additional ingredients.
How to use tea tree oil for yeast infection
Here are a few suggestions for natural remedies and protocols of using tea tree oil for yeast infection.
Special consideration is given for safety. Combining coconut oil and ozonated olive oil to dilute the tea tree oil is very beneficial:
- Coconut oil and ozonated olive oil are known to soothe and relieve irritated skin (source 1, source 2).
- Coconut oil and ozonated olive oil are potent natural anti fungals (source 1, source 2).
- Ozonated olive oil is backed up by science to accelerate wound healing and damaged skin (source).
How to use tea tree oil for yeast infection on skin
tea tree oil and coconut oil recipe
When using tea tree oil for yeast infection on skin, always make sure to dilute the tea tree oil. A very effective and common way to dilute tea tree oil for yeast infection, is to mix tea tree oil and coconut oil. Use the recipe below to create homemade tea tree oil cream for yeast infection, that can be easily tailored based on your individual needs and preferences.
To use tea tree oil for yeast infection of skin:
- Create the diluted tea tree oil and coconut oil mix:
- Use 100% organic unrefined virgin cold pressed coconut oil.
- Start with 5-10 drops of undiluted tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons (30 mg) of coconut oil.
- If you have never used tea tree oil topically before, apply the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix first on a healthy area of the skin that is not affected by the yeast infection.
- Wait for 24 hours and test your body’s response. If everything is ok, proceed with the next steps.
- Wash the area of concern before use.
- Dry the area well.
- Apply a thin layer of tea tree oil and coconut oil mix on the affected area. Start with a small area and wait for 24 hours before using it on larger areas in the body.
- You may find that using the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix isn’t always enough to relieve your discomforts. Yeast infection itch and other yeast infection on skin issues may require stronger ingredients to provide a significant relief. If this is the case: see next step.
- Combine the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix with ½ – 1 teaspoon of ozonated olive oil. This has shown to help many to relieve these discomforts. See ozonated olive oil for yeast infections to learn more.
- As you become more familiar with how your skin responds to the treatment, you may consider to gradually increase the concentration of the ozonated olive oil or tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil for toenail fungus
Using tea tree oil for toenail fungus (onychomycosis) can be very beneficial when used properly, and is also backed up by a few published human studies. In these studies, using tea tree oil for toenail fungus improved the appearance of nail along with other toenail fungus symptoms (source).
As a reminder, toenails and nails growth takes time. A typical treatment for toenail fungus usually take at least several months, sometimes over a year. For this reason, treatment of toenail fungus often includes:
- Oral antifungals in order to provide a systemic antifungal support. This is especially important for cases where the toenail fungus affect larger parts of the nail.
- Nutritional support – healthy nail growth is heavily dependant on the availability of certain nutrients, such as Biotin who plays a key role in the growth of nails and toenails. (study 1, study 2).
To learn more, see Diet & Supplements for Optimal Toenail Growth.
how to use tea tree oil for toenail fungus
To use tea tree oil for toenail fungus:
- Soften the toenails: soak your feet in warm water for 5-10 minutes and dry your feet, toes and toenails with a towel. This makes it easier to trim the toenails.
- Trim the toenails and keep them short. This can help the oils to reach deeper.
- Thin the toenail if you have thick toenails.
- Prepare the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix as shown above.
- Apply to the nail or toenail and the surrounding skin using toe nail brush or a cotton swab.
- Begin by testing the mixture on a small area first to test your skin and toenail response. If irritation occurs, wipe with a clean paper towel and wash immediately with warm water.
- Use twice a day, morning and evening, after washing and drying the toenails and the surrounding skin.
- As you become more familiar with how your toenails responds to the treatment, you may consider to gradually increase the concentration of the ozonated olive oil or tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil for male yeast infection
Using tea tree oil for male yeast infection may provide some relief, although it can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in some men. For this reason, always start by testing the tea tree oil cream on a healthy skin first, as shown in the protocol below.
To use tea tree oil for male yeast infections:
- Prepare the tea tree oil and coconut oil mix as shown above.
- Begin by testing the cream on a small healthy area first and test your body’s response. If irritation occurs, wipe with a clean paper towel and wash immediately with warm water.
- Wash the penis and the affected skin.
- Dry well.
- Apply on the penis and the affected skin twice a day.
Tea tree oil for vaginal yeast infection
Common uses: tea tree oil suppositories, tea tree oil tampon
Using tea tree oil for vaginal yeast infection usually involves inserting tea tree oil suppositories or tea tree oil tampon into the vagina. The idea is that tea tree oil antifungal properties can inhibit the growth of candida and yeast in the vagina.
The evidence however, suggests that tea tree oil may be too harsh to be used directly in the vagina. Many women that used tea tree oil suppositories, tea tree oil tampon or other vaginal washes with tea tree oil, reported side effects such as burning and increased irritation in the vagina. While some women did report yeast infection burning relief after using tea tree oil, these issues are very common, and represent a big portion of the tea tree oil side effects. For this reason, and considering the lack of published human studies on the safety of using tea tree oil for vaginal yeast infection (source), tea tree oil is usually not recommended for vaginal yeast infections. There are many other natural ingredients that have been extensively studied and shown to be much safer and effective.
As mentioned earlier, if you need a relief from vaginal yeast infections, you may want to look into ozonated olive oil, that is much more safe and effective and supported by published human studies as effective and safe for vaginal yeast infections (source) and other yeast infection issues (See links to all studies).
See the Ozonated olive oil tampon home remedy for a step by step instructions.
Tea tree oil bath for yeast infection
Tea tree oil bath for yeast infection is a common home remedy that can help to relieve mild cases of irritated skin or skin fungal infections. Tea tree oil bath however, may not be effective enough to relieve vaginal yeast infection or cases of more serious yeast infection on skin and other skin fungus issues.
As mentioned earlier, when using tea tree, special consideration needs to be given to the concentration of tea tree oil use. To make the tea tree oil bath for yeast infection:
- Fill your tub with warm water.
- Start with 10 drops of undiluted tea tree oil.
- Stay in the bath and soak for 5-20 minutes.
- If you have never done the tea tree oil bath before, start with 5 minutes and see how your skin feels. Tea tree oil can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction even at low concentration. If you feel any irritation, do not wait. Get out of the bath immediately and rinse your skin in the shower. Safety comes first!
- Rinse your skin in the shower.
- Dry your skin.
- Apply ozonated olive oil directly on the affected areas of your skin.
- Apply coconut oil to moisturize the rest of your skin that is not affected.
Tea tree oil bath for yeast infection – Additional tips
- For feet and toenail fungus issues, use this protocol using a small bowl.
- As you become more familiar with how your body responds to the treatment, you may consider to gradually increase the concentration of the tea tree oil.
- Many people like to add additional antifungal essential oils to the bathwater. If you decide to do so, start by testing each oil on its own with the bathwater using the same protocol shown above. This will help to identify allergic reaction or other side effects the oil may cause.
Tea tree oil for yeast infection while pregnant
Using tea tree oil for yeast infection while pregnant or breastfeeding is usually not recommended, mainly since there is not enough data regarding tea tree oil safety (source).
Tea tree oil uses
Known as: Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil, tea tree, Australian tea tree oil, tea tree essential oil, melaleuca oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil made from the leaves of the Australian native plant tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Tea tree oil has a long history of been used as a medicine for cuts and wounds by the aboriginal people of Australia (source). Tea tree oil medicinal properties have been extensively studied with approximately 100 different compounds in tea tree oil identified, mainly plant terpenes and their corresponding alcohols (source).
Most tea tree uses and benefits come from tea tree oil antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are the most common uses of tea tree oil, we included links to published studies and research data when available:
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). Shown as not effective (source 1, source 2).
- Acne, tea tree oil for pimples. Shown as effective (source 1, source 2).
- Candida, yeast infections and fungal infections. Shown as effective (source).
- Dandruff: Effective (source).
- Head lice: Effective (source 1 ,source 2).
- Toenail fungus. Effective. (source).
- Warts: Effective for common warts due to human papilloma virus (source).