New study set to enhance understanding of tea tree oil and boost industry development


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Tea tree is an Australian native plant well known around the world for its antimicrobial. Yet a lack of accessible information related to its safety, efficacy and applications has led researchers at Southern Cross University to commence a new study further investigating the medicinal plant.

A systematic literature review analysing published studies currently available will be spearheaded by Associate Professor Romy Lauche of the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine in collaboration with Southern Cross Plant Science. It is funded by AgriFutures Australia.

The project will seek to benefit healthcare practitioners and consumers, providing a better understanding of the current applications of tea tree oil for effective and safe use of related medicines and products.

In order to meet these needs, Professor Lauche believes an updated review was urgently needed.

“To make evidence-based decisions, most consumers and health practitioners rely on critical and comprehensive, yet accessible summaries of research. The last review however was published more than 10 years ago. This project is needed to summarise and critically examine the existing evidence from published research to inform consumers, and health care providers on the safe and effective use of tea tree oil,” said Professor Lauche.


This work is critical in increasing demand for tea tree oil and the industry’s growth, according to AgriFutures Australia Research Manager Gae Plunkett.

“By highlighting the gaps in research and development, this project will likely stimulate further research and development in this area, and increase the understanding of the value of tea tree oil for health and medical benefits,” said Ms Plunkett.

“It will also likely increase demand and ultimately lead to an increase in profitability at the farm gate for all Australian tea tree oil growers.”

The study has recently commenced at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus. The team of researchers seek to publish their findings mid-2021 and make the resources available via

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