Tea Tree Oil vs. Tea

12Jul06

A friend recently asked me if my loose leaf tea company also sold tea tree oil because he thought it would be a good idea to get into the cosmetics business. I think there’s quite a bit of misunderstanding over just where the tea tree oil you find at the Body Shop comes from. Maybe (and this is a wild guess!) it’s because of the occurence of the word “tea”. Let me set the record straight.

“Tea tree oil is in NO way related to the tea that you and I drink!”

Once more, for emphasis.

“Tea tree oil IS NOT EQUAL TO the beverage tea.”

Now let me explain.

Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of a plant called Melaleuca alternifolia.

The tea that we drink comes from a plant called Camellia sinensis.
Now the tea plant can also give us oil, but that oil comes from the seeds. And that too, primarily from a closely related cousin, Camellia oleifera.

So next time someone asks you about tea tree oil, you know what to say.

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