Much more than just a plant

. Posted in Latest News

Recognised and used as a natural healing essential oil for thousands of years, the benefits of tea tree oil are innumerable. It can do wonders for your skin and hair, kills off germs, protects wounds against infection and irritations – the list goes on.

Distilled from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia, multiple studies have demonstrated the capacity of tea tree oil to act as an antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal; with further promising research as a potential anti-inflammatory, antiviral agent and now exciting developments in in-vitro and in-vivo anti-cancer models.

For anything up to 40,000 years, the Australian Aborigines have been harvesting the plant for a variety of medicines. One historical method was boiling of the leaves with ashes to stop the sting and poison of catfish barb wounds. To relieve congestion, they inhaled vapours from crushed leaf.

The scientific discovery of the plant’s virtues did not happen until 1923. A state government chemist, Arthur Penfold, tested the oil of the tea tree and determined its antiseptic action was about 12 times stronger than the widely used carbolic acid. Extensive clinical trials with medical and dental colleagues in London and Sydney led to glowing reports in the distinguished journals of the days.

During World War 2, tea tree oil was in the first aid kit of Australian soldiers as a one-stop antiseptic shop. The troops also sang the praises of tea tree oil’s insect repellent and anti-fungal properties. At home, it was put to an amazing spectrum of uses. From shampoo to smelly feet. For boils and bunions. A mouthwash or a vaginal douche.

But it was soon relegated to the back of the cupboard, forgotten for almost 30 years as cheap, synthetic antibiotics flooded the world’s medicine markets and became a way of life.


That was until in 1976, when Eric White stepped up to become the latter-day pioneer of the Australian tea tree industry. Convinced of its applications in modern society, White chose the alternately flood-washed and drought-baked Bungawalbyn Swamp, near Coraki in northern NSW, for his first crops.

The once-a-week mail delivery to this remote site arrived on a Thursday. It contained the crown lease that officially started Thursday Plantation. After three years of planting, harvesting and distilling his tea tree in the harsh bush, his health failed. But the trees flourished and demand grew.

Christopher Dean, Eric White’s step-son, and his wife Lynda were determined to continue Eric’s dream of introducing the power of the plants into homes throughout the world. Thursday Plantation bought degraded cattle and sugar farmlands to establish sustainable and ecologically-sound tea tree production in 1988. The Ballina factory distilled its first oil in 1989. Scientists began work in the research and development laboratories in 1990.

Thursday Plantation, wanting there to be no doubt about the properties of its remarkable native plant, commissioned independent research to verify its claims. Not only were they verified, but more properties were discovered and the possibility of uses rapidly expanded.

In the past 30 years, Thursday Plantation has written an extraordinary success story. New international standards for purity and processing have been set. In many forms, the oil is now exported to over 25 countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and New Zealand. Thursday Plantation manufactures and exports hair care products, soaps, throat lozenges, toothpaste, cosmetics, cold sore creams, personal insect repellents, deodorants, acne treatment, vaginal douches, foot sprays and powders.

Thursday Plantation’s tea tree research and development continues, as more applications for this humble plant are found. Discover the benefits of tea tree oil by visiting