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How Do You Take Your Tea?

Have you ever wondered why the Tea Tree was given it’s name? Well, if you have traveled or holidayed at Myall Lakes, Byron Bay or Fraser Island, then perhaps you could guess.  Tea trees are believed to have been named after observing the brown colouration of water caused by the leaching of tannins from the leaves of the tree in both salt and fresh waters. There are over 200 species of tea tree.

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Image; Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) via Australian Seed
Image; Common Tea Tree via ABC

Many people believe that bathing in water that has been leached by the Tea Tree has health benefits. When a water mass has Tea Tree plants growing in close proximity their supernatural oil slowly migrates into the water, creating what some consider to be a ‘medical bath’. The colour of the water resembles a cup of tea, with an oily film on top, which to be honest, is not all that appealing upon first inspection. But think about how the Tea Tree can work on your skin. Tea Tree oil has antibacterial properties, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, so can help keep away the bacteria that can cause spots. After a good ole soak you’ll come out looking refreshed, rejuvenated and revitalised. Many people also believe that swimming in Tea Tree waters slows down the ageing process!

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Image via Jend McCarty

Tea Tree is an Australian native, which means that this miracle treatment for just about anything is ALL AUSSIE! Aboringinal people have been using Tea Tree forever.  The Bundjalung people from North East NSW were among the first to use the Tea Tree plant for medicinal reasons. Tea Tree would be used to create a healing tea, but they would also take the leaves, crush them up and rub them into bites, grazes, burns and other skin irritations. Tea Tree can also be used as an insect repellent. According to Bodyecology, one legend even describes a magical lagoon where our native people bathed to heal their burns, cuts, and skin disorders. Tea trees surrounded the pool, and the fallen leaves created a natural healing bath.

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Image; Tea Tree Lkes

These days Tea Tree oil is used for many natural remedies to combat a variety of issues such as; acne, cold sores, warts, dandruff, ring worm, athlete’s foot, softens corns, reduce itch of insect bites and chicken pox .

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Image via Wafex

Some cultivated varieties of Tea Tree are also used as a cut flower that are ideal for native flower arrangements. It is perhaps an underrated material. Tea Tree is not a focal bloom so we use it as a transitional material; to fill spaces and make the arrangement appear more ‘full’. In recent years wholesalers have been offering particular lines in a variety of artificially dyed colours, so at times you may have seen hot pink or purple dyed tea tree. I am not a great fan of dyed products however as natives are often more neutral  or dull in colour, having a vibrant filler allows us to ‘pull’ more colour out of the natural pieces. For example, hot pink tea tree will make proteas appear more ‘pink’.

What are your thoughts?

Fwf x

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