Tea Tree Oil for Yeast Infections

Tea tree oil (TTO), also known as melaleuca oil, is a popular essential oil that has the longest history of medicinal uses. Its known antimicrobial and antifungal properties may be helpful in treating yeast infections at home.

In fact, tea tree oil has shown to be promising in fighting the funguses that cause yeast infections, including Candida albicans, the strain that accounts for 85% to 90% of cases of vaginal yeast infections. It’s important to note that this has not been replicated or proven in human studies.

Research suggests that tea tree oil may be most effective at fighting fungal infections when used in combination with antifungal drugs like fluconazole.

Before trying any home remedies to treat a yeast infection, talk to your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and ask which method of treatment is most appropriate. 

Closeup woman dropping essential oil on her hand
Doucefleur / Getty Images 

Tea Tree Oil for Candida 

Candida lives on the skin, particularly in moist areas, such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. It does not typically cause problems, but when it overgrows, it can lead to an itchy and irritating infection in the affected area.

The plant compounds within tea tree oil (mainly terpinen-4-ol) have shown promising activity against drug-resistant strains of candida. However, this is an in vivo finding only; tea tree oil’s efficacy has not been studied in humans with vaginal candidiasis.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Yeast Infections 

Tea tree oil for yeast infection is administered through a vaginal suppository (a dissolvable capsule or pill). You can purchase premade tea tree oil suppositories at a drugstore, natural health food and supplement store, or online.

Never try to make your own suppository. Also, essential oils can be irritating to the skin if not properly diluted and can be dangerous when not used appropriately.

How to Choose a Tea Tree Oil

Ask your healthcare provider if they have a recommendation for a tea tree oil that has worked for other patients. Make sure you’re purchasing a 100% pure tea tree oil (natural) and not a fragrance oil (synthetic). You can check the tea tree oil bottle label for the word “fragrance” to distinguish between the two.

Follow the instructions that come with your tea tree oil suppository. While these are commonly sold in a six-pack for six days of treatment (one suppository per day), different brands may have different dosing guidelines, so it’s best to read the pamphlet and any warnings that come with the package.  

Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands before inserting the suppository. You can also use a clean over-the-counter yeast infection medication applicator. 

The Food and Administration (FDA) does not test or control the ingredients, strength, or packaging of essential oils. They do, however, warn consumers that even though something is from a plant, it doesn’t mean it is not toxic. Essential oils are not risk free. Lack of regulation also means there is no standard for how to safely use essential oils.

Other Uses for Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has many other uses beyond treating yeast infections. It is a common ingredient in many skin care, personal hygiene, and household cleaning products. 

Antiseptic Uses

Antiseptic products can help prevent or slow the growth of organisms that can cause infections, such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Researchers say tea tree oil’s antibacterial activity has gained considerable interest in the scientific community. But its potent and easily absorbed antiseptic properties make tea tree oil dangerous too, especially if you forget to dilute your essential oil before use.

How to Use Tea Tree Oil Safely

Common safety guidelines may include:

  • Keep out of reach of children and pets.
  • Use the proper dose (the oils can be damaging to skin, liver, and other organs at high doses).
  • Talk to a professional about possible drug interactions, especially if you take prescription medications for underlying chronic conditions

Anti-Inflammatory Uses

Tea tree oil has been used on its own and as a blending ingredient for almost 100 years, largely for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. One study suggests tea tree oil may be even more effective than zinc oxide and clobetasone butyrate at treating skin conditions characterized by inflammation such as eczema.

The effects of tea tree oil have been clinically compared with those of benzoyl peroxide, and they were both found to be significantly successful in reducing inflammation associated with skin blemishes.

Antifungal Uses

Tea tree oil has been widely used as an at-home remedy in treating athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and contagious fungal nail infections. However, more human trials are still needed to confirm the effectiveness of tea tree oil for treating athlete’s foot. 

Tea tree oil is a known toxic substance and should never be swallowed. If you or someone you know has ingested tea tree oil, contact your local poison control center or call 911 immediately.

When to Call a Doctor

You should call your doctor before attempting to treat a yeast infection at home with tea tree oil. Your doctor can confirm the diagnosis and offer advice on treatment.

 Call your doctor if:

  • Your yeast infection symptoms worsen.
  • You experience additional symptoms, such as discomfort in the area or additional irritation.
  • You have an allergic reaction to tea tree oil.
  • Your yeast infection does not resolve within the standard treatment time (typically one week).
  • You have questions related to the safety of engaging in sexual intercourse or other activity while treating your yeast infection with tea tree oil.

A Word From Verywell

Yeast infections are a part of life for many people and are nothing to be embarrassed about. Before attempting to treat your vaginal yeast infection at home with tea tree oil, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can confirm the diagnosis and discuss the best course of treatment, as well as how to safely use tea tree oil at home.

Remember that everybody is unique, and sometimes what works for one person will not be as effective for another. Also, keep in mind that while tea tree oil is a popular herbal remedy with known antifungal properties, it has not been clinically proven to treat vaginal yeast infections.

If your symptoms worsen or you have any adverse reaction to tea tree oil, contact your doctor right away. If your yeast infection does not clear up with the use of tea tree oil suppositories, you will want to contact your doctor and ask about next steps in treatment. 

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Sharifi-Rad J, Salehi B, Varoni EM, Sharopov F, Yousaf Z, Ayatollahi SA, Kobarfard F, Sharifi-Rad M, Afdjei MH, Sharifi-Rad M, Iriti M. Plants of the melaleuca genus as antimicrobial agents: from farm to pharmacyPhytother Res. 2017;31(10):1475-1494. doi:10.1002/ptr.5880

  2. Mertas A, Garbusińska A, Szliszka E, Jureczko A, Kowalska M, Król W. The influence of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) on fluconazole activity against fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans strainsBiomed Res Int. 2015 Feb 4;2015:590470. doi:10.1155/2015/590470

  3. Martin Lopez JE. Candidiasis (vulvovaginal). BMJ Clin Evid. 2015 Mar 16;2015:0815.

  4. Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006;19(1):50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

  5. Food and Drug Administration. Aromatherapy. August 24, 2020.

  6. University of Minnesota. Are essential oils safe?

  7. Wallengren J. Tea tree oil attenuates experimental contact dermatitis. Arch Dermatol Res. 2011;303(5):333-338. doi:10.1007/s00403-010-1083-y

  8. National Capital Poison Center. Tea tree oil: remedy and poison.