Antimicrobial Essential Oils Tested Against MRSA

Essential oils combat MRSAHospital-acquired infections and antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to be major health concerns worldwide. Particularly problematic is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and its ability to cause severe soft tissue, bone or implant infections. First used by the Australian Aborigines, Tea tree essential oil and Eucalyptus essential oil (and several other oils) have each demonstrated promising efficacy against several bacteria and have been used clinically against multi-resistant strains.

Several common and hospital-acquired bacterial and yeast isolates (6 Staphylococcus strains including MRSA, 4 Streptococcus strains and 3 Candida strains including Candida krusei) were tested for their susceptibility for Eucalyptus, Tea tree, Thyme white, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Grapefruit, Clove Bud, Sandalwood, Peppermint, Kunzea and Sage essential oils with the agar diffusion test. Olive oil, Paraffin oil, Ethanol (70%), Povidone iodine, Chlorhexidine and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) served as controls.

Large prevailing effective zones of inhibition were observed for Thyme white, Lemon, Lemongrass and Cinnamon essential oils. The other oils also showed considerable efficacy. Remarkably, almost all tested oils demonstrated efficacy against hospital-acquired isolates and reference strains, whereas Olive and Paraffin oil from the control group produced no inhibition.

As proven in vitro, essential oils represent a cheap and effective antiseptic topical treatment option even for antibiotic-resistant strains as MRSA and antimycotic-resistant Candida species.

Copyright © 2009; Published in the Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery.
Researchers;Patrick H. Warnke, Stephan T. Becker, Rainer Podschun, Sureshan Sivananthan, Ingo N. Springer, Paul A.J. Russo, Joerg Wiltfang, Helmut Fickenscher, Eugene Sherry. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Kiel, Germany.

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