Melaleuca is a genus of plants in the myrtle family Myrtaceae known for its natural soothing and cleansing properties. There are well over 200 recognised species, most of which are endemic to Australia. A few species occur in Malesia and 7 species are endemic to New Caledonia.
The species are shrubs and trees growing (depending on species) to 2–30 m (6.6–98 ft) tall, often with flaky, exfoliating bark. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, ovate to lanceolate, 1–25 cm (0.39–9.8 in) long and 0.5–7 cm (0.20–2.8 in) broad, with an entire margin, dark green to grey-
The flowers are produced in dense clusters along the stems, each flower with fine small petals and a tight bundle of stamens; flower colour varies from white to pink, red, pale yellow or greenish. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous minute seeds.
Melaleuca is closely related to the genus Callistemon; the main difference between the two is that the stamens are generally free in Callistemon but grouped into bundles in Melaleuca. In the wild, Melaleuca plants are generally found in open forest, woodland or shrubland, particularly along watercourses and the edges of swamps.
Scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil made from M. alternifolia is a highly effective topical antibacterial and antifungal, although it may be toxic when ingested internally in large doses or by children. In rare cases, topical products can be absorbed by the skin and result in toxicity. The oils of Melaleuca can be found in organic solutions of medication that claims to eliminate warts, including the Human papillomavirus. No scientific evidence proves this claim. Melaleuca oils are the active ingredient in Burn-
M. leucadendra oil, cajeput tree, is also used in many pet fish remedies such as Melafix and Bettafix to treat bacterial and fungal infections. Bettafix is a lighter dilution of cajeput tree oil, while Melafix is a stronger dilution. It is most commonly used to promote fin and tissue regrowth. The remedies are often associated with Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish) but are also used with other fish.
Melaleuca bark is used to make a natural bio-