July 2007
The Herb Farm

Let Me Introduce Myself

Let Me Introduce Myself

  Melaleuca alternifolia
Ever since I grew spearmint in our family garden as a child, I have been fascinated with herbs.

Hi, I’m Herbert T. Farmer. Yes. My friends call me Herb! "How ironic," they say. Funny; like my friend, Emory Serviss (who I have always teased that he should own his own business), "Serviss with a Smile!" My middle name, you’ll never guess, is an old family name of European origin.

I’ve been growing herbs for retail, wholesale, personal consumption, sharing with friends, whether medicinal, culinary or just plain looking-at, for a long time. My education comes from a little college learning out of the books, people asking me questions and offering scenarios and just plain old library research and trying out stuff myself.

Thank goodness for the big encyclopedia that some of you call a computer. I don’t use mine for computing anything! I use it for educating myself. It’s like a big wonderful book with lots of pictures. If I need to cipher anything, I do it in my head or with a pencil and paper.

Let me say what’s on my mind today.

"Tea-tree oil" is from the Ti tree. Melaleuca alternifolia is in the myrtle family of plants and though native to Australia, it is a relatively easy shrub to grow.

The oil is a remedy for lots of things from battling cold-sores to thwarting certain types of staphylococcus boils. I guess you’d have to have a pretty good supply of these plants to make as much oil as I use on a daily basis.

I keep a couple of bottles handy for such everyday gardening and farming injuries as: thorn pricks, skinned knees, stick pokes and cut fingers. I have even used it for injuries that I know will be below the skin and cause a bruise. The tea-tree oil is supposed to penetrate the outer layers of skin.

I have tried it for some of the claimed remedies that I can honestly say won’t work. Those are repelling mosquitoes and running off ticks that have attached themselves to me. As a mosquito repellent, it only works in mid-day and not in the cooler part of the evening when they are in a feeding frenzy. Also, I have doused ticks with eye-droppers full of the oil and waited for 10 to 15 minutes for them to turn loose of me. They just kept on sucking and left me feeling foolish for not pulling them off in the first place.

If you live in a small town like I do, you can probably get the oil at the drug store. If you live in a big city like Anniston, you’ll probably have to get it from the health food store.

Tea-tree oil has hundreds of uses that are documented and I use it regularly. If I get hurt, I put some tea-tree oil on the injury and go on about what I was doing. It may or may not really work, but it makes me feel better knowing that I have treated a problem with a natural substance rather than a drug. Besides; it makes me smell good!

If you have any questions about other uses for tea-tree oil, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll tell you all I know.

As always, check with an expert, such as your doctor, before using this or any other herbal remedy.

H. T. Farmer