Essential oils can be an effective alternative to antibiotics and may have potential to combat drug-resistant superbugs, according to a new Society for General Microbiology study.
The antimicrobial activity of eight plant essential oils was tested by Yiannis Samaras and Effimia Eriotou, M.D., from the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands. They found that thyme essential oil was the most effective and was able to almost completely eliminate bacteria within 60 minutes.
The essential oils of thyme and cinnamon were found to be particularly efficient antibacterial agents against a range of Staphylococcus species. Strains of these bacteria are commonly found on the skin and can cause infection in immunocompromised individuals. Drug-resistant strains are extremely difficult to treat.
"Not only are essential oils an effective treatment option for antibiotic-resistant strains, but decreased use of antibiotics will help minimize the risk of new strains of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms emerging," says Samaras.
Essential oils’ therapeutic properties have been utilized for hundreds of years, although very little is still known about how they exert their antimicrobial effects. Tea tree oil has been used to treat colds, sore throats, skin infections, and insect bites and has been used as a medicinal antiseptic since the early 20th century. “The oils, or their active ingredients, could be easily incorporated into antimicrobial creams or gels for external application,” the researchers state.
Essential oils are:
• Capable of being antiseptic.
• Are probiotic, aiding the body to combat infection.
• Are stress reducing and have a sedative effect.
• Are synergistic when blended together.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.