Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of the tea tree. The tea tree was named by eighteenth-century sailors, who made tea that smelled like nutmeg from the leaves of the tree growing on the swampy southeast Australian coast. Do not confuse the tea tree with the unrelated common tea plant that is used to make black and green teas.
Tea tree oil is used for acne, an infestation of the eyelashes with a type of mite (ocular demodicosis), toenail fungus (onychomycosis), and athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis). It is also used for dandruff, lice, bad breath, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its other uses.
How does it Work?
The chemicals in tea tree oil may kill bacteria and fungus, and reduce allergic skin reactions.
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia.In recent decades, its popularity has grown in other areas of the world as an alternative and complementary treatment. Today, tea tree oil is commonly found in cosmetics, topical medicines, and household products.
Fast facts about tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, found in Australia.
The oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
A person can treat acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis, or head lice using tea tree oil. Tea tree oil should never be swallowed.
There is some evidence to show that tea tree oil may have several uses.
The oil has been used for almost 100 years as a healing treatment in Australia, particularly for skin conditions. Today it is used for a number of conditions.
Tea tree oil is probably best known for its antibacterial activity.
Some research suggests that the broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity associated with the oil comes from its ability to damage the cell walls of bacteria. More research is needed to understand how it might work.
Tea tree oil may help quell inflammation, possibly due to its high concentration of terpinen-4-ol, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties.
In animal tests, terpinene-4-ol was found to suppress inflammatory activity in cases of mouth infection. In humans, topically applied tea tree oil reduced swelling in histamine-induced skin inflammation more effectively than paraffin oil.
A review of the effectiveness of tea tree oil highlights its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi. The majority of the studies reviewed focus on Candida albicans, a type of yeast that commonly affects the skin, genitals, throat, and mouth.
other research suggests that terpinene-4-or enhances the activity of fluconazole, a common antifungal drug, in cases of resistant strains of Candida albicans.
Some studies show that tea tree oil can help treat certain viruses, but research is limited in this area.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advises that research into the effects of topically applied tea tree oil in people is limited.
However, the oil may be useful for a number of skin complaints. Acne is the most common skin condition. It affects up to 50 million Americans at any one time. One study found a significant difference between tea tree oil gel and a placebo in treating acne. Participants treated with tea tree oil experienced an improvement in both total acne count and the severity of the acne. This builds on earlier research which compared 5 percent tea tree oil gel with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion in treating cases of mild to moderate acne.
Both treatments significantly reduced the number of acne lesions, although the tea tree oil worked more slowly. Those using the tea tree oil experienced fewer side effects.
6. Athlete’s foot
Symptoms of athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, were reduced through topical application of a tea tree oil cream, according to one study.
A 10 percent tea tree oil cream appeared to reduce the symptoms as effectively as 1 percent tolnaftate, an antifungal medication. However, the tea tree oil was no more effective than a placebo in achieving a total cure. More recent research compared higher concentrations of tea tree oil on an athlete’s foot with a placebo. A marked improvement in symptoms was seen in 68 percent of people who used a 50 percent tea tree oil application, with 64 percent achieving a total cure. This was over double the improvement seen in the placebo group.
7. Contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a form of eczema caused by contact with an irritant or allergen. Several treatments for contact dermatitis were compared, including tea tree oil, zinc oxide, and clobetasone butyrate.
Results suggest that tea tree oil was more effective in suppressing allergic contact dermatitis than other treatments. However, it did not have an effect on irritant contact dermatitis. Keep in mind that tea tree oil itself may induce allergic contact dermatitis in some people.
8. Dandruff and Cradle Cap
Mild to moderate dandruff related to the yeast Pityrosporum ovale may be treated with 5 percent tea tree oil, according to one study. People with dandruff who used a 5 percent tea tree oil shampoo daily for 4 weeks showed significant improvements in overall severity, as well as in the levels of itchiness and greasiness when compared with a placebo. Participants experienced no negative effects. Another study found tea tree oil shampoo effective for treating children with cradle cap.
It is possible to be allergic to tea tree oil. To check for a reaction, but a little shampoo on the infant’s forearm, and rinse. If no reaction occurs in 24 to 48 hours it should be safe to use.
9. Head lice
Head lice are becoming more resistant to medical treatments, so experts are increasingly considering essential oils as alternatives.
The research compared tea tree oil and nerolidol – a natural compound found in some essential oils – in the treatment of head lice. The tea tree oil was more effective at killing the lice, eradicating 100 percent after 30 minutes. On the other hand, nerolidol was more effective at killing the eggs. A combination of both substances, at a ratio of 1 part to 2, worked best to destroy both the lice and the eggs. Other research has found that a combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil was effective at “suffocating”.
10. Nail fungus
Fungal infections are a common cause of nail abnormalities. They can be difficult to cure.
One study compared the effects of a cream comprising both 5 percent tea tree oil and 2 percent butenafine hydrochloride (a synthetic antifungal) with a placebo. After 16 weeks, the nail fungus was cured in 80 percent of people. None of the cases in the placebo group was cured. Another study showed tea tree oil effective in eliminating nail fungus in the laboratory. However, this research does not definitely show that the tea tree oil component of the cream is responsible for the improvements experienced, so further research is needed.
The amount and timing of tea tree oil dosage depend on several factors, including the condition requiring treatment, its severity, and the concentration of the tea tree oil.
Five possible uses of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has many applications. Some suggestions include:
- Wound dressing: Place a few drops of oil onto fresh wound dressing to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.
- Homemade mouthwash: Add 2 drops of tea tree oil to a cup of water and use it as a mouthwash. Do not swallow as tea tree oil is toxic if taken internally.
- Natural dandruff remedy: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into regular shampoo and wash hair as normal.
- Acne treatment: Add 4 drops of tea tree oil to a half cup of water. Apply to the face with a cotton pad once daily.
- Household cleaner: Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with a cup of water and a half cup of white vinegar. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it as an all-purpose antimicrobial cleaner.
Vitamin B3 Protects Skin Cells From The Effects Of UV Exposure, New Research Finds
We all know just how important eating our vitamins are. Vitamins are essential nutrients that nourish our body and keep vital organs functioning smoothly. While some help with immunity, others regulate the skin and hair.
And turns out a few of them can even keep you safe from cancer. In fact, a recent study found that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3 can protect the skin from the ill-effects of UV rays, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.
Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB rays.
Vitamin B3 can work wonders when it comes to protecting the skin:
Results show that pre-treatment with 25mM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and reduced iNOS protein expression.
Lara Camillo, a research student from the dermatological unit of AOU universitaria Maggiore della Carita, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”
Research presented today at EADV’s 29th Congress, EADV Virtual, shows hope that a form of vitamin B3 could protect skin cells from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure: the main risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancers.
Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB.
Results show that pre-treatment with 25μM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. NAM enhanced DNA repair, demonstrated by decreased expression of the DNA repair enzyme OGG1. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide (NO) release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and reduced iNOS protein expression.
Lara Camillo, a research student from the Dermatological Unit of AOU Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”
Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common malignancies in the Caucasian population and incidence is increasing worldwide. The main risk factor is UV radiation exposure, which damages the DNA, increases ROS production, activates local inflammation, and depletes cellular energy, leading to genomic instability and cell death.
About skin cancer:
There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer (which includes basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and other rare types) and melanoma skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell cancers are most often found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, but they also can occur elsewhere (2). They are very common but are usually very treatable (2). Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown colour) start to grow out of control (3). Melanoma is much less common than some other types of skin cancers but is more dangerous because it’s much more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught and treated early (3). Non-melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with over 1 million diagnoses worldwide in 2018.4 Melanoma of the skin is the 19th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with nearly 300,000 new cases in 2018.
Founded in 1987, EADV is the leading community to further the knowledge of health professionals and advocates in the field of dermatology and venereology. It is a non-profit organization with over 7,000 members, across 113 different countries in the world, providing a valuable service for every type of dermato-venereologists professional. The EADV is committed to improving the quality of patient care, continuing medical education for all dermato-venereologists within Europe and beyond, and advocacy on behalf of the specialty and patients.
About EADV Virtual:
This year’s Congress is a first in EADV’s history. EADV Virtual – New Frontiers in Dermatology and Venereology provides an exceptional opportunity for colleagues from around the world to explore the latest developments in science and patient care that are at the heart of the academy’s mission. The user experience is immersive and simple to follow.
Passion fruit: what are the health and medicinal benefits of passion fruit? What do you know about passion fruit?
Modern lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome (MS), may lead to many complications, including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. They also accelerate the aging processes. Appropriate dietary interventions may help to regulate glucose and energy metabolism, and thus improve the outcome for affected individuals.
Among the interventions are caloric restriction, which helps reduce insulin resistance by preventing sustained hyperglycemia. This often requires long-term control of dietary choice and portion size, which is difficult to maintain for a majority of overweight subjects. For this reason, functional foods, such as passion fruit are being studied for their potential contribution to reducing weight and insulin resistance.
One compound in passion fruit, which has garnered plenty of interest is piceatannol, an analog of resveratrol. The latter is a polyphenol, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, and to increase stamina, in several rodent studies.
A clinical study on resveratrol in humans with excessively high body mass index (BMI) confirmed these results, as well as its ability to produce a reduction in blood pressure and higher mitochondrial respiration in muscle tissue, as well as the activation of several muscle kinases. Piceatannol shares many of these benefits, improving metabolic parameters and glucose breakdown, reducing vascular tone, increasing eNOS levels (which is vaso-protective), promoting collagen synthesis, and reducing ultraviolet damage to the skin. In fact, its activity is higher than that of resveratrol.
One study showed that insulin levels in serum were significantly reduced in the fasting state in overweight men with piceatannol supplementation, as well as a fall in the blood pressure and the heart rate. This was not seen in women or in men with a normal BMI. Another study in mice showed inhibition of postprandial rises in blood glucose levels as well, which points to the potential for anti-diabetic activity with piceatannol supplements. Further studies are needed to understand the variation in effect with body composition and gender, as well as to perform more sensitive and long-term evaluations of the changes in glucose and insulin parameters.
The cardiovascular effects of piceatannol seem to be mediated by the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the polyphenol. It is known that failure of vasorelaxation, which is mediated by eNOS activity, is a characteristic of endothelial dysfunction. This would lead eventually to atherosclerosis via lipid oxidation and inflammation of blood vessels. It also activates dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase, and thus inhibits the natural deactivation of eNOS. Again, it increases eNOS stability, thus prolonging its half-life. It has other mechanisms of vascular anti-inflammatory action as well. Piceatannol thus has profound cardioprotective effects, and a central mechanism of action cannot be ruled out as well. In addition, it may help to stabilize cardiac myocytes.
Each 100g serving of passion fruit supplies about 30g potassium, or a quarter of the daily requirement. This is one of the best things to do to reduce cardiovascular risk. Potassium is a vasodilator, and it is necessary for the operation of the vital ion channels in the cell membranes.
Passion fruit also contains many other antioxidants, such as C-glycosyl flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, isovitexin, caffeic acid, quercetin, rutin, and luteolin. These also play a role in glycemic and lipid control, but the exact effects and doses have to be elucidated through further study. A single serving can contain about 30g of vitamin C, and significant amounts of carotene and cryptoxanthin, all of which are powerful antioxidant molecules lowering the risk of age-related degeneration, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen synthesis and improves epithelial health, as well as being an immunomodulator to boost innate immunity.
Passion fruits also contain large amounts of dietary fiber (98% of the daily recommended intake), which helps improve intestinal health, reduces the pH and ammonia levels in the colon and thus encourages healthy intestinal microbiota, and relieves constipation and flatulence. Again, fiber reduces appetite and this again leads to lower insulin levels and reversal of the metabolic syndrome. It also results in lower levels of cholesterol in the blood. The rind of the fruit is also rich in soluble fiber, which has independent anti-diabetic and anti-dyslipidemic effects. Fiber also lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Piceatannol also counteracts colonic irritation leading to intestinal inflammation.
The large amounts of vitamin A in passion fruit can safeguard eye health against age-related macular degeneration, prevent cataracts, and lower the rate of skin aging and wrinkling.
Passion fruit also contains appreciable amounts of copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, contributing to bone health and to normal RBC counts, which helps to counter anemia.
Some rodent studies found a marked anxiolytic and sedative effect upon supplementing the diet with passion fruit, due to the alkaloid harman. This can also help to relieve insomnia.
Anticancer effects include apoptotic actions upon human cancer cell lines, as well as inhibition of migration and epithelial anchoring of metastatic cells in breast and prostate cancer. Piceatannol also inhibits HDL uptake by neurons to which ecto-F1-ATPase autoantibodies are bound. It may thus may slow the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also inhibit antigen-induced WBC degranulation and thus prevent allergic reactions.
Passion fruit is not just a delicious tropical addition to the menu, but a powerhouse of several potential health benefits and should become a part of a varied and rich diet whenever available in season.
Is It Safe to Sleep with High Blood pressure?
Sleeping seven to eight hours a night may play a role in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.Many people do not get enough sleep, and this can affect their health, well-being, and ability to do everyday activities.
What is Sleep Deprivation? Causes and Symptoms
70% of poor sleep is caused by psycho-physiological issues. Most peole refer to these issues as”Insomnia” thought there is a group of sleep disorders that have a similar source of characteristics and manifest themselves in different ways.Psycho-physiological sleep issues are caused by the misalignment of the three main systems that control sleep: sleep drive – or how tired you are when you need to go to sleep; the biological clock that tells us when it is time to be awake and asleep; or the Flight or Fight system that prepares us to deal with danger. When we are in danger, this system will not let us fall asleep. Sometimes, it tells us we are in danger without any real danger is present, especially when our stress level is high.
There’s no single cause of sleep deprivation and usually, there are a number of interacting factors, but some of the most prevalent include:
Stress contributes to both sleep loss and high blood pressure. Stress can come from any number of sources. The growing use of technology and access to information, professional pressure to excel, and increased financial burdens are only a few of the stress-causing possibilities. If your stress levels are high, there’s a good chance they’re contributing to your sleep or blood pressure problems.
Poor Sleep Habits
The sleep cycle is highly responsive to environmental conditions and personal behaviours. Poor sleep habits like an irregular bedtime, late-night meals, and nighttime use of electronics can all interfere with the release of sleep hormones and delay the sleep cycle.
Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders
While there are many sleep disorders that go untreated and undiagnosed, sleep apnea has shown a particularly close connection to high blood pressure. This breathing disorder causes oxygen levels to fluctuate throughout the night, putting a higher strain on the cardiovascular system. However, once diagnosed, it can be treated at home with a CPAP machine, which can drastically improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
A person who is getting too little quality sleep may experience a range of symptoms, including:
- Mood changes
- Difficulty focusing and remembering
- A reduced sex drive
What is high blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. Narrow arteries increase resistance.
The link between poor sleep and high blood pressure
The link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health problems is increasingly well-established in scientific literature, but the reason for the relationship is less understood.
Researchers set out to learn more about the connection in a study of 300 men and women, ages 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems. Participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days. The cuffs randomly took participants’ blood pressure during 45-minute intervals throughout each day and also overnight.
At night, participants wore actigraphy monitors — wristwatch-like devices that measure movement — to help determine their “sleep efficiency,” or the amount of time in bed spent sleeping soundly.
Overall, those who had lower sleep efficiency showed an increase in blood pressure during that restless night. They also had higher systolic blood pressure — the top number in a patient’s blood pressure reading — the next day.
More research is needed to understand why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people with chronic sleep issues. Yet, these latest findings may be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the pathway through which sleep impacts overall cardiovascular health.
“Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health,” said lead study author Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology. “There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story — how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure.”
The study reinforces just how important a good night’s sleep can be. It’s not just the amount of time you spend in bed, but the quality of sleep you’re getting, said study co-author John Ruiz, UA associate professor of psychology.
Improving sleep quality can start with making simple changes and being proactive, Ruiz said.
“Keep the phone in a different room,” he suggested. “If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades. For anything that’s going to cause you to waken, think ahead about what you can do to mitigate those effects.”
For those with chronic sleep troubles, Doyle advocates cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI, which focuses on making behavioral changes to improve sleep health. CBTI is slowly gaining traction in the medical field and is recommended by both the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for insomnia.
Doyle and Ruiz say they hope their findings — showing the impact even one fitful night’s rest can have on the body — will help illuminate just how critical sleep is for heart health.
“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” Doyle said. “This is one more study that shows something is going on with sleep and our heart health. Sleep is important, so whatever you can do to improve your sleep, it’s worth prioritizing.”
Your blood pressure directly responds to sleep loss along with a whole host of negative side effects. A 2010 study conducted amongst 538 middle-aged adults found that sleep depriviation was a relaiable predictor of increased blood pressure levels. The results remained consistent even after being adjusted for age, race, sex, and pressence of high blood pressure medication. In these cases, both shortened sleep duration and poor sleep quality contributed to the increase in blood pressure readings.
In part, sleep deprivation’s effects on the mental and emotional state shed light onto the forces at work. Without enough sleep, the brain becomes more sensitive to negative thoughts and feelings, which causes an increase in stress hormones like cortisol that naturally cause a rise in blood pressure.
How can I improve my sleep?
Changes in your habits and sleep environment can positively impact your sleep. Start by:
Setting a bedtime. The human body is built to run on predictable routines. A regular bedtime allows the brain to adjust the release of sleep hormones to fit your schedule.
Developing a stress-relieving bedtime routine. Reduced stress levels can help you fall and stay asleep faster. Use your bedtime routine to relax before lying down for the night. For a more effective routine, try meditation or gentle yoga poses to bring your heart rate and blood pressure down.
Exercising regularly. Exercise benefits your sleep and blood pressure by improving heart health while helping to regulate weight, yet another contributor to high blood pressure. Exercise also tires the mind and muscles in preparation for sleep.
Eating healthy and smart. It’s not just what you eat—a well-balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats— but when you eat it. Meal timing contributes to the regularity of your sleep cycle so try to eat evenly spaced meals at roughly the same time each day.
Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity you can’t do without. Adequate sleep goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and regular exercise to control blood pressure. It might take time and effort to make the changes that can improve your sleep and lower your blood pressure, but the health benefits are definitely worth it.
One possible, treatable cause of your lack of sleep contributing to high blood pressure is obstructive sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which you repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. Talk with your doctor if you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, especially if you snore. Obstructive sleep apnea may be the cause, and it can increase your risk of high blood pressure, as well as heart problems and other health issues.
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