Tea tree, also commonly called Melealuca after the first part of its botanical name Melealuca alternifolia, has cured a variety of ailments since the Aboriginal tribes of Australia began to pass down tales of the Dreamtime. Long before Captain James Cook discovered for England the therapeutic uses of this tree in 1770, the native people’s of Australia used it to heal all manner of topical conditions as well as for a variety of internal complaints we would today no doubt call viruses like colds and flus as well as other bacterial and yeasty conditions.

In the tale of Eelemani, from the Bundjalung people, tea tree finds its first roots. In the story, Eelemani, a special princess with magical powers, must take a long journey through the wild bush. She fears she won’t be able to find her way back to her people, so she asks the Divine Powers of the Land for help. They give her a pouch of seeds and instruct her to plant them as she goes. She does, and tea tree sprouts rapidly, marking the path home with its light, peeling white bark and slender leaves. Thus, the magic of Tea Tree enters our world as a healer and guide for those in need.

For centuries, the people of Australia worked with tea tree as a medicine on many levels while the rest of the world remained largely unaware of this tree’s remarkable powers. After Captain Cook introduced tea tree to Europe, tea tree’s healing began to spread worldwide. By World War II, tea tree was recognized even by medical science as a potent and practical medicine. Soldiers in Australia were issued vials of tea tree oil as a part of their first aid kits.

On a more magical level, tea tree has long been recognized as a protector and a guide. It has been used to cleanse and protect before and after magical workings and to help the shaman successfully enter, navigate, and return from the Dreamtime with the knowledge he or she seeks, particularly when that knowledge relates to matters of healing, protection, or growth. Today, it’s used to cleanse and consecrate magical tools and spaces in conjunction with other magical herbs.

Lakes on whose shores tea tree grows have long been reputed to hold healing waters. The land where tea tree grows has been called healing ground.
Tea tree bark was used for knife sheaths, thatching, sandals, and small canoes due to its waterproofing qualities and because it easily peels away from the trunk in thick chunks.

For More Information on Tea Tree

Tea-Tree-Folio-Cover-littleFor more information on Tea Tree, purchase a copy of The Practical Herbalist’s Herbal Folio: Tea Tree: Liquid First Aid. This Herbal Folio contains expanded information, including:

  • Gardening and Gathering
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Household Formulas
  • History, Folklore, Myth, and Magic
  • Cautions
  • Recipes
  • A Printable Quick Facts Card
  • References

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