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Staph Infection and MRSA  

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008

Summary

see also Infections (discusses viral vs. bacterial)

There are a number of strains of staph (staphylococcus).  Wikipedia gives this summary of the types of staphylococcus aureus infections :

Localized skin infections: 

·  Stye and other small, superficial abscesses in sweat or sebaceous glands

·   Subcutaneous abscesses (boils) around foreign bodies

·  Large, deep, infections (carbuncles) possibly causing bacteremia

Diffuse skin infection

·   Impetigo

Deep, localized infections

·  Acute and chronic osteomyelitis

·  Septic arthritis

Other infections

·   Acute infective endocarditis

·   Septicemia

·   Necrotizing pneumonia

Toxinoses

·   Toxic shock syndrome

·   Gastroenteritis

·   Scalded skin syndrome

Many discussions now center around Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus  or MRSA.   The following discusses this most common of hospital acquired infections and a significant cause of death.

MRSA, what is it?

Robert James    

A common misconception is that MRSA is a virus or caused by virus.  In fact you will probably still find some argument about it.  But my understanding is that MRSA is not caused by a virus. Instead, MRSA is a strain of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureas. MRSA even got its name because it is a bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin. It has since become resistant to almost all types of antibiotics.  If you get MRSA, and a hospital is treating it, it almost become a game of cat and mouse as they determine what antibiotic might be most effective in your body vs. dealing with horrific side effects and allergic reactions - or in other words, your body saying; WAIT!  What the he#% is that!!

New strains of MRSA have recently emerged in the community that are capable of causing severe infections in otherwise healthy individuals. These MRSA infections are known as CAMRSA or community-associated MRSA. MRSA infections that are acquired in the hospitals and healthcare facilities are known as healthcare-associated MRSA.

Depending on where you get your statistics from.  If you get MRSA during a hospital stay, you have about a 5-10% chance of dying. MRSA now kills more people than the aids virus.  The actual numbers that die annually from MRSA or Staph are all over the board, but I assume quite understated.  (of course I'm a "conspiracy theory" kinda guy)  All I know is that my grandmother died of it after a simple operation, and my uncle got a blood infection (staph) after he had a stint put in... (thank goodness for Frankincense and Melaleuca!)

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  FrankincenseC, LemongrassC, Protective BlendC, OreganoC, ThymeC 

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: CinnamonC, CloveC, DillC, EucalyptusC, LemonC, Anti-Aging Blend, MelaleucaC, Wild OrangeC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Add 4 drops each Protective Blend and Oregano in a capsule and take 2 - 3 times a day for 2 weeks. If Protective Blend is not available blend 4 drops of Oregano, 4 drops of Melaleuca and a drop of Frankincense in a capsule and take 2 - 3 times daily.

Consider running a diffuser in the room with 2 drops each of Protective Blend and Oregano where anyone might be exposed.

Open sores: Apply topically Frankincense or layer Anti-Aging Blend, Protective Blend®, Oregano and Frankincense. Apply cautiously to avoid cross contamination to other areas or other people. A carrier oil can also be considered for sensitivities or ease of application.

Additional protection: The Massage Blend Technique augments and strengthens the immune system. 

Editor's note - Oregano is a hot oil and it is advisable to use a skin test with those that may have sensitive skin. Also for small children oils may be diluted and applied topically to the bottoms of their feet. It is recommended not to use Oregano for more than 2 weeks without resting the body.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:

      Mona

Mona - My son was diagnosed with MRSA after visiting his Grandfather in the hospital.  I did not know that he had an open wound on his knee at the time.  He called a few weeks later, telling me he had terrible pain in that leg and a spot that was gradually growing bigger and harder.  I asked to see it and was shocked that what once appeared to him to be a little mosquito bite was now a huge fist shaped hard lump under his skin. The skin was a deep purplish red.  I immediately took him to see a dermatologist, who drained nearly 6 ounces of fluid out of this pustule.  The Dr.s office called the next day, saying it was an advanced type of MRSA and my son needed to get on very heavy antibiotics.  We got the prescription, AND started him on several drops of Protective Blend and Oregano in capsules.  I also asked him to apply Massage Blend for pain and Frankincense for healing directly over the site several times a day.  He watched the area slowly go from fist size and deep red to pink to normal skin, with no pain at all.

I would like to say that he was completely well, but 2  months later he complained of several small pus filled "pimples" appearing under his chin and in his armpit, which he would "drain" himself.  I instinctively knew this was MRSA just moving to the warm soft tissues of his body.

I made up capsules of Oregano and Protective Blend and asked him to take them 3-4 times a day for 2 weeks. Then off for a week followed by another regime of 3-4 capsules a day for another 2 weeks.  He took these faithfully and has not had any symptoms or reoccurring for the past 7 months.

 

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:

      Colleen

Colleen - I had been feeling "off" for a about two weeks when the first sores started to appear. I thought the first sore was an ingrown hair on the bikini line.  Then a few more small sores appeared within the same area, which I though was strange.  I knew I needed medical intervention when the first excruciating painful boil appeared. I could not walk or sit or function without major pain, and was still experiencing some flu like symptoms. I could feel the boil growing rapidly, so I called the doctors office for an immediate appointment.

The gynecologist decided a lancing was needed on the original boil and another one that had started since that morning that I was unaware of.  The pain that followed ranks right up there with child birth. The first boil was the size of a quarter and very deep once the doctor was able to open it up. I was prescribed two forms of antibiotic, one for a gerenal infection, and one for MRSA. A culture was taken of the infection and I was told to start both meds and to discontinue one once the culture was reviewed. I was also given the warning that these meds will reek havoc on my stomach so be prepared for that with other over the counter meds to offset the hard core antibiotics.  Lastly I was told to apply heat to the area to help draw out the infection, disinfect everything in my bedroom, and watch my family close since most likely this will spread to all of them. I was so weak at this point, I could barely function.

I filled the prescriptions, applied a heat pack, took the first dose of antibiotic, and started digging in to the Internet for research on these pills and other ways to heal. I read many stories from this site of using oils when the antibiotics where insufficient to wipe out the infection.  Within 6 hours of coming home from the doctors office, my original boil had closed back up and was larger and more painful than what it was at the doctors office. I knew there was no way I could stomach an additional lancing, followed by packing the wound, which I knew was next. Instead, I chose to follow the lead of others and use my oils. I started with melaleuca applied to a sterile gauze pad directly on the two active boils. I also made a capsule with the suggested protocol listed on this site and another mixture of oils for my spouse to rub on my back and feet. Once this was done, I went to sleep for the nit. When I woke up, to my complete astonishment and pleasant surprise, my massive boil had reduced from the size of a half dollar to a dime. And the pain in that region was gone. I was feeling so much better that I was able to continue with my normal schedule for the day. I continued this regime for a week, never taking another pill.  No more sores appeared. The lab results came back a week later, confirming the MRSA infection.

I also had my feet massaged daily by a .... foot zone therapist during this healing process, who was been able to help stimulate the affected organs to help the infection move on and out of my system. As a college administrator, professor, wife, and mom, the month of August is an incredibly bad time to get sick. Using the oils and reflexology of the feet, I missed a total of three hours from work over a 3 week period of this infection. I am so thankful for this site, the suggestions and stories from others, and the power of oils in my life.

 

Submissions directly to  EverythingEssential.me.  Our thanks to:

      Robert


Robert - I found the following protocol for MRSA relief:

Dill 3 drops, Clove 2 drops, Wild Orange 3 drops, Cinnamon Bark 2 drops, Frankincense 3 drops. Put in roll-on bottle. Apply to bottoms of feet every 2 hours.
 

 

Michelle - My daughter was diagnosed a few years ago with MRSA and it looked like a big spider bite.   She currently has a similar situation with a bump on her leg that I can't tell if it is MRSA or a infected bug bite.  I am using  2 drops Melaleuca and Geranium, 1 drop Oregano, 2 drops Protective Blend and 2 drops Frankincense on it and on the bottoms of her feet.  I also had her take a capsule with Oregano, Protective Blend and Frankincense.  Is this a good protocol, or should I just give it to her in a capsule? 

Pat - If you have a diffuser I would suggest running it with Protective Blend and Oregano.  The following protocol is from a nurse (see Deborah below) who uses this and has convinced her doctor to use it also. Her daughter sustained a lower leg injury and it became infected with MRSA. She began an aggressive treatment of washing the wound with Protective Blend soap (she used organic tea tree soap, as Protective Blend was not out yet) then covered the wound with gauze soaked in tea tree oil (not sopping soaked, just dripped on till the gauze is wet where it covers the wound). Do this treatment 4 times a day, for a week and then 3 times a day. She took her to the doctor to have her MRSA checked after three weeks. They took a culture and it came back negative. Thinking that they had somehow contaminated the culture, the re-cultured it again. It came back negative again.

By mouth I would suggest a capsule of 4 drops Oregano, 4 drops Melaleuca and 2 drops of Frankincense, twice a day if she is a young adult and once a day if she is in her teens.  It is also very good to layer these same oils down the spine with a good carrier oil and add Lemongrass and Helichrysum to the capsule oils.

Michelle - So just an update on my 14-year-old daughter:  I asked her to rate her pain from the first day, giving the first day as a 10, how we were yesterday.  Yesterday she was at about a 7, then later a 4, and this morning the pain is almost gone!  The swelling is down and the whole site is much smaller and not very red any more.  It started out about the size of a half dollar, and is now the size of a pea.  So great to be able to take care of my children and not subject them to massive doses of antibiotics!  I still don't know if this is MRSA or just a bad bug bite, but either way, she is doing much better! 

 

Doug (from Tamalu) - In January 2006 I developed a serious staph infection in my knee. My wife took me to the emergency room.  I was sent home with a pain reliever and a mild antibiotic.  Over the next couple of days, the infection quickly spread from my knee clear up to my hip and down to my ankle.  I was in excruciating pain, and could not stand up without feeling like I would pass out.  Nothing was helping.  I had been flat in bed for over a week by this time.  

My wife called to find out what oils would be suggested for me, and I had the spinal technique performed on me twice."  We applied Oregano and Thyme to the wound, which helped the pain, and Grounding Blend to the feet in addition to the spinal technique.  The need for the pain reliever was eliminated, and I explained to Doug that eventually the Oregano and Thyme would start to feel hot on his skin, as the pathogen count dropped.  

He applied the Oregano and Thyme as often as it became painful, 3-5 times daily. Today, I would add to that Melaleuca and Lavender.  "The morning following the first spinal technique, there was a huge, noticeable improvement in the swelling and pain in my leg.  

I  truly feel that the essential oils that were used and suggested allowed my body to fight off the staph infection and recover completely.

 

Anonymous – Is Oregano the best opportunity I have for MRSA?

Deborah - Your comments about Oregano and MRSA are correct, but consider taking it further... add Helichrysum & Melaleuca (tea tree) oils to the Oregano...then you will have a very powerful treatment for nasty ole' MRSA.  I, too, am in the medical field & have dealt with implanted devices (pacemakers/ICDs) & infections for almost 30 yrs now, so I have seen the devastating results.  I actually had to deal with this some months ago when one of my daughters (young adult) sustained a lower leg injury & it became infected with the MRSA strain staph.  I began an immediate aggressive treatment of these oils, as well as, washing the open-wound with organic tea tree soap, then applying the oils directly to the wound. I then placed tea tree ointment on the gauze pad to prevent the gauze pad from sticking to the open-wound.  For the first week, I did this 4 times a day then 3 times a day afterward.  After the third week, they re-cultured the wound to see how aggressive the MRSA still was, but the culture came back negative.  Thinking they had some how contaminated the culture, they re-cultured it again, which, needless to say, also came back negative!!  They were very perplexed, so I explained what I did.  They stated that they have never seen a positive treatment for MRSA in less than 8 to 12 weeks after the diagnosing MRSA.  When my daughter went back for her final checkup, one of the physicians told her that he did some research online and found many reports of essential oils being able to kill these Super Bugs.  It made him a big believer and he is now advocating use of essential oils for MRSA infections.

So as a little trivia, here is what is going on with the behavior of Super Bugs, as the name MRSA suggests, these "bugs" (for they are a live organism) have become resistant, meaning they have been able to learn & adapt to the chemical/molecular structure of antibiotics. Antibiotic chemical/molecular structure is quite simple, not very complex at all and that is why the organism is able to learn and adapt against it.  On the other hand, essential oils chemical/molecular structures are highly complex.  Too complex for the organism to be able to learn and adapt against.   Truly, Mother Nature does know best!! Essential oils are very much our natural medicine cabinet, provided that they are pure & of course, (...) is .... Pure Therapeutic .......what can be better than this!!

Oh, as an after thought, because I know someone will ask this, "why don't pharmaceutical companies pursue this?"....well, it is all about money & profits.  For one thing, pharmaceutical companies cannot put a patent on essential oils, they are directly from nature, not a designed product.  Pharmaceutical companies cannot put a claim on the plants that provide the essential oils, again they are from nature and besides, these plants can be grown by just about anyone.  Sad, but true, it all comes down to money.  As I have stated in my previous post, I have been in medicine for almost 30 yrs and have seen it all.  This is one of the reasons why I began studying and training in holistic/ naturopathic medicine with (xxx) essential oils as my first choice in treatments. 

 

Anonymous – My sister in hospital with MRSA in her lungs and nose.  Any suggestions?

Rob - If I were in your position I would give her a blend of 4 drops of Oregano, 4 drops of Melaleuca and a drop of Frankincense in a 00 capsule twice daily.  I would also do daily Massage Blend Technique using these same oils and add Helichrysum and Lemongrass.  Layer the oils with massage using extra virgin coconut oil prior to using the Oregano and Lemongrass.

Also, I would run a diffuser in the room with Protective Blend and a couple drops of Oregano.

 

Anonymous - I have a bacterial infection in the sinus area below my left eye. I was wondering if there were any oils that would 1) help with the itching from this infection and 2) be better to take/use instead of the antibiotic that was prescribed. I was diagnosed with cellulitis with the possibility of a staph infection as well.

Rob - I would be cautious when dealing with antibiotics because they will kill both the good and bad bacteria.  You will definitely need good bacteria if you are fighting a bad bacterial infection.   Don't eat sugar, as it may feed MRSA.

You need to be careful around the eyes; but in your shoes (bottom of your feet), using a VCO carrier, I would apply Melaleuca and Frankincense or Lemongrass and Frankincense several times per day.   Frankincense could actually be applied neat around the eye if you are very careful, However other oils, especially Lemongrass, would be very caustic and need to be applied carefully with at least 75% or more carrier oil.  If you use VCO as a carrier it is also very antibacterial in and of itself. /p>

You could also consider (...) Cleansing Blend, Protective Blend, Sandalwood, Clove, or Cinnamon. Again, some of these are hot oils or blends and should be used very carefully around the eyes.

If topical application is not progressing well, consider synergistic effect using a Master Cleanse and a internal infection cleanse such as:

·  3 drops Lemon

·  3 drops Melaleuca

·  3 drops of Oregano

·  place in a capsule and take it 2 times daily, 3 weeks on, 1 week off.

 

Wendy - I just had a phone call about a friend that has some sort of staph infection that flairs up on her face when she is over exposed to the sun or cold.  I suggested Frankincense on her face and internally, also Oregano internally.  Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing that would be helpful?

Kathy - I would consider the cleansing trio or an antibiotic blend of Protective Blend, Oregano, and Frankincense internally (or switch weekly between the oils) and I would consider Melaleuca, Frankincense and Oregano with VCO carrier applied topically at least 3x or more per day.  Maintain the protocol for a good week even after symptoms are gone.

Cut down on grain carbohydrates, keep hydrated with Lemon or Grapefruit oil in your water.

Monica - First, I would wonder if she might be dealing with Rosaecea, rather than a staph infection.  The oils you suggested are good.  She might also consider myrhh and Lavender on the skin; both healing and soothing.  If dealing with Rosaecea, a friend of mine has had great success with dietary modifications as well, particularly severely limiting her sodium intake.  This dietary change has also been significant for her in other ways; in particular, she notes that she rarely experiences migraines since she's been essentially off salt.

 

Julie - My mother contacted MRSA from a doctors office visit to treat the shingles she was suffering from.  We chose to use essential oils and used 4 drops each of Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme in a capsule.  She took them 3 times a day.  It killed both the MRSA and shingles and saved her life.

Protocols folks recommend for children

Editor's note - Oregano is a hot oil and it is advisable to use a skin test with those that may have sensitive skin. The experience below is using 1 drop of Oregano and 3 drops of Frankincense per application. The total salve was probably made in a 1 ounce salve jar filled with VCO plus the total oils for a week.

Wendy - We had an experience with an 18 month old with MRSA.  We made a salve with VCO (virgin coconut oil), Frankincense and Oregano.  We made a week supply with the oils so they could be used 3 times a day.  We added about  3 drops of Frankincense and 1 drop of Oregano for every use.  That is 63 drops of Frankincense and 21 drops of Oregano for the one weeks supply.  We put it in a small glass salve jar to make it easy. Oh, the end of the story or shall I say the beginning of the story is that the MRSA cleared within that week!!

 

Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils

 

What Science & Research are saying

Dryden, M., Dailly, S., Crouch, M. (2004). A randomized, controlled trial of tea tree topical preparations versus a standard topical regimen for the clearance of MRSA colonization. Journal of Hospital Infec, 56, (4), 283-6. A randomized, controlled study of 224 patients found tea tree to more effective at clearing MRSA from the skin of 114 hospital patients than mupirocin (Bactroban). Tea tree oil may be considered in regimens for eradication of methicillin-resistant Staaphylococcus in hospitals.

 

Sherry, E., Warnke, P. H. (2001). Percutaneous treatment of chronic MRSA osteomyelitis with a novel plant-derived antiseptic. BMC Surgery 1(1). The single case clinical report described the use of a polytoxinol (PT) antimicrobial, a complex mixture whose major components are tea tree oil and Eucalyptus to cure an intractable methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection of the lower tibia in an adult male. The study introduced a cheap, simple technique as a possible alternative to long-term systemic antibiotic therapy when administered percutaneously. Caelli, M., Porteous, J., Carlson, C. F., Heller, R., & Riley, T. V. (2001). Tea tree oil as an alternative topical decolonization agent for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. The International Journal of Aromatherapy 11(2). [Originally published in The Journal of Hospital Infection (2000), 46, 236-237.] In this pilot study, 30 adult patients infected or colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were randomly assigned to receive a 4% tea tree oil nasal ointment and 5% tea tree oil body wash and a standard 2% mupirocin nasal ointment and the triclosan body wash. Tea tree oil products were found to perform better than mupirocin and triclosan, although the number of patients was too small for the difference to be statistically significant.

 

Gustafson, J. E., Chew, S., Markham, J., Bell, H.C., Wyllie, S. G., & Warmington, J. R. (1988). Effects of tea tree oil on Escherichia coli. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 26, 194-8. The study documented the effect of tea tree oil (TTO) in stimulating autolysis in exponential and stationary phase cells of Escherichia coli. Stationary phase cells demonstrated less TTO-stimulated antolysis and also showed greater tolerance to TTO-induced cell death, compared to exponentially grown cells.

 

Essential oils have been found to kill the deadly MRSA bacteria  21 Dec 2004

Essential oils usually used in aromatherapy have been found to kill the deadly MRSA bacteria according to research carried out at The University of Manchester.

Tests revealed that three essential oils killed MRSA and E. coli as well as many other bacteria and fungi within just two minutes of contact. The oils can easily be blended and made into soaps and shampoos which could be used by hospital staff, doctors and patients in a bid to eradicate the spread of these deadly `super bugs'.

Researchers are now desperately looking for funding to develop their work and carry out a clinical trial. Peter Warn from the University's Faculty of Medicine who worked on the research said: 'We believe that our discovery could revolutionise the fight to combat MRSA and other `super bugs', but we need to carry out a trial and to do that we need a small amount of funding ' around £30,000.

'We are having problems finding this funding because essential oils cannot be patented as they are naturally occurring, so few drug companies are interested in our work as they do not see it as commercially viable. Obviously, we find this very frustrating as we believe our findings could help to stamp out MRSA and save lives,' added Peter, who is based at Hope Hospital.

Essential oils are chemical compounds found within aromatic plants, which the plants use to fight off infections. Researchers tested 40 essential oils against ten of the most deadly bacteria and fungi. Two of these oils killed MRSA and E. coli almost instantly, while a third was shown to act over a longer period of time, meaning that any soaps or shampoos made by blending these three oils would be effective over a period of time.

Jacqui Stringer who is Clinical Lead of Complementary Therapies at the Christie Hospital instigated the research and said: 'The use of plants in medicine is nothing new but some people regard the use of essential oils as unconventional. Our research shows a very practical application which could be of enormous benefit to the NHS and its patients.

'The reason essential oils are so effective is because they are made up of a complex mixture of chemical compounds which the MRSA and other super bug bacteria finds difficult to resist. The problem with current treatments is that they are made of single compounds which MRSA relatively quickly becomes resistant to, so treatment is only successful in around 50% of cases.

'While a wide range of products currently exist to help prevent the spread of MRSA these are often unpleasant for patients as their application can cause skin irritation. MRSA is often carried inside the nose which means that patients often have to insert treatments up their nostrils, whereas these essential oils can simply be inhaled to prevent the patient being at risk,' added Jacqui.

Jacqui works with leukaemia patients at the Christie Hospital using essential oils to help in their treatment. Patients receiving treatment for cancer and leukaemia are often left with weakened immune systems which makes them vulnerable to infection from MRSA.

The National Audit Office estimates that infections such as MRSA kill 5,000 people each year and hospital-acquired infections cost the NHS around £1 billion a year.

 

Scientists win SEED award for Himalayan Oregano project    Date: 28/10/2008

A research team from the University of the West of England, working in partnership with a laboratory in Delhi, a fair trade company, a community-based organisation and an environmental research institute in Himachal Pradesh in the Western Himalaya, have jointly been awarded a 2008 SEED award for their project investigating Himalayan Oregano essential oil as an antibacterial agent for MRSA.

The project is part of an initiative to provide rural communities with sources of income generated from sustainable collection of non-timber forest products in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. Origanum vulgare is a relatively common herb that grows in high altitude meadows throughout the Himalayan region, yet it is perceived by many villagers to have no culinary, medicinal or economic value. In Kullu Oregano is often referred to as 'bekaar gahaas', or 'useless grass'; even cows and goats don't eat it.

Recent research by UWE in the UK and SGS in Delhi has shown that the essential oil of Himalayan Oregano oil contains potent antibacterial properties and is very effective at killing the hospital superbug MRSA. These findings have presented a valuable opportunity to develop a range of antibacterial products that would provide a sustainable source of income to rural communities in the Himalaya, and at the same time introduce an environmentally friendly means of helping to prevent the spread of MRSA in hospitals in the UK.

The SEED Initiative is an international programme backed by the UN that promotes and supports entrepreneurial partnerships that develop innovative, locally led solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development. The SEED awards provide backing to projects that are in an early stage of development and have high potential for growth and replication. The Himalayan Oregano project was one of five winners selected from over 400 global applications.

Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UNEP, said of the 2008 awards: "The SEED Awards again underline that creative and entrepreneurial solutions to many of the pressing challenges facing the world are being found. It is now vital that these shining examples are federated and mainstreamed across communities and countries to maximize their undoubted and potentially significant impact."

One of the lead partners of the project in India, Biolaya Organics, is a company that is developing projects aimed at conserving endangered medicinal herbs, both by cultivating threatened species, and by providing alternative sources of income to herb collectors through sustainable collection and value addition of more common species such as Oregano.

Ben Heron from Biolaya Organics explains, “We started working with Oregano because it is a species that, if managed properly, can be collected year after year without depleting the population in the wild. Our aim is to be able to pay the local herb collectors the equivalent amount that they would normally earn from collecting endangered medicinal herb species so that they become less dependent on the extraction of these plants for their livelihoods.

“It has been known for some time that Mediterranean Oregano oil is a powerful antimicrobial, which is said to be due to the high content of a compound called carvacol. As far as we know nobody has tested the carvacol content of Himalayan Oregano oil before, so we teamed up with SGS in Delhi to conduct tests and found that it was equally as potent as the Mediterranean variety.

“Further tests in the SGS laboratory found that the Himalayan Oregano oil killed MRSA more effectively than all 18 antibiotics that it was compared against. We have recently linked up with UWE's microbiology department who are now carrying out more rigorous tests, and hope to publish the results in a scientific journal.”

UWE's project leader Professor Vyv Salisbury and co-investigator Dr Shona Nelson are very excited at the opportunity to help the community. Vyv said, “We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the Oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000. The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapour and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water. This is exciting as it also means that we could consider using the oil to develop disinfectant washing powders. We now aim to conduct a focused academic study in partnership with SGS labs in Delhi that we hope will give the project the academic credence needed to market the oil.

“We hope that our study will help take the project to the next stage where, with the help of UWE's Research, Business and Innovation department we find a business partner to help us produce a range of products that we can market for medical and domestic settings. Once we are able to start providing a sustainable income for villages in Kullu, the scope for up-scaling and replication in other parts of the Himalayan region is enormous.”

The SEED award will be presented to the team at the SEED award conference on Monday 17 November, at the German Embassy in Delhi by the German Minister of Environment, Sigmar Gabriel.

 

Tests of new machine at a hospital have found it could be effective in the battle against the superbug MRSA.

Consultants at Wythenshawe Hospital found that using a vaporiser to spray essential oils into the atmosphere killed off micro-organisms. Airborne bacterial counts dropped by 90% and infections were reduced in a nine-month trial at the burns unit. The recipe of oils used in the machine was refined by microbiologists at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Scent Technologies, the Wigan-based company which makes the machine, developed the device to mask smells on wards but found it had a beneficial effect on infections. The study was started after the recipe of oils was modified by the university team, in conjunction with Wythenshawe consultant Ken Dunn.

Bev Hurst, MRSA campaigner, "Many people will be aware that there are decades of experience with the use of essential oils to control infection," said Mr Dunn. "I think the novelty of this is putting the two researched technologies together and being able to affect a really surprisingly large area of the ward with a single machine."

There were no MRSA infections in the burns unit while the machine was being used with the recipe of oils. In the final two months the natural essence blend was removed from the machines and MRSA levels in the air increased - and there was an MRSA outbreak in the ward. /p>

But despite the apparent success of the trial, MRSA campaigners have urged healthcare professionals to continue with strict cleaning regimes. Bev Hurst, whose mother Margaret died from an MRSA infection, said: "If this is something that is going to help then that's brilliant. "But it has to be in conjunction with everything else - it can't just be a machine on a ward."

The National Audit Office estimates hospital-acquired infections contribute to some 5,000 deaths annually. Further tests are now being carried out.

 

Extract from PubMed.com

Journal of  Applied  Microbiology. 1999 Jun;86(6):985-90.

Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts.

Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV.

Department of Microbiology, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia. khammer@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

The antimicrobial activity of plant oils and extracts has been recognized for many years. However, few investigations have compared large numbers of oils and extracts using methods that are directly comparable. In the present study, 52 plant oils and extracts were investigated for activity against Acinetobacter baumanii, Aeromonas veronii biogroup sobria, Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia col, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype typhimurium, Serratia marcescens and Staphylococcus aureus, using an agar dilution method. Lemongrass, Oregano and bay inhibited all organisms at concentrations of < or = 2.0% (v/v). Six oils did not inhibit any organisms at the highest concentration, which was 2.0% (v/v) oil for apricot kernel, evening primRose, macadamia, pumpkin, sage and sweet almond. Variable activity was recorded for the remaining oils. Twenty of the plant oils and extracts were investigated, using a broth microdilution method, for activity against C. albicans, Staph. aureus and E. coli. The lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations were 0.03% (v/v) Thyme oil against C. albicans and E. coli and 0.008% (v/v) Vetiver oil against Staph. aureus. These results support the notion that plant essential oils and extracts may have a role as pharmaceuticals and preservatives.

 

Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils

FLAVOUR AND FRAGRANCE JOURNAL, Flavour Fragr. J. 2008; 23: 444–449, Published online in Wiley InterScience, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.; Sue Chao, Gary Young, Craig Oberg and Karen Nakaoka.

ABSTRACT: Ninety-one essential oils, each distilled from a single plant source, and 64 blended essential oils obtained from a commercial source were screened using the disc diffusion assay for inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Of the 91 single essential oils, 78 exhibited zones of inhibition against MRSA, with Lemongrass, Lemon myrtle, Mountain Savory, Cinnamon and Melissa essential oils having the highest levels of inhibition. Of 64 blended essential oils, 52 exhibited inhibitory activity against MRSA, with R.C. (a combination of myrtle, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus australiana, Eucalyptus radiata, Marjoram, pine, Cypress, Lavender, spruce, Peppermint and Eucalyptus citriodora oils), Motivation (a combination of Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, spruce and Lavender oils) and Longevity (a combination of Frankincense, Clove, Orange and Thyme oils) blended essential oils having the highest inhibitory activity. These results indicate that essential oils alone and in combination can inhibit MRSA in vitro. Application of these results may include the potential use of essential oils as an alternative therapy for various diseases sustained by S. aureus MRSA.

 

The following links are all studies of essential oils and MRSA

Study: Plant Oils Highly Effective Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria - 1 Apr 2010

Synopsis - Researchers say oils distilled from plants are highly effective against drug-resistant bacterial infections and could prove to be an inexpensive way to combat super-bugs found in hospital settings...

In laboratory experiments, the research group tested a variety of essential oils from eight plants, including Thyme, Basil, Peppermint and Cinnamon. Eriotou says they all had some anti-bacterial activity, but essential oil from Thyme - a spice frequently used in Mediterranean cooking - killed almost all of the bacterium in a petri dish within an hour.  Almost as effective was Cinnamon oil...

 

Essential oils can fight superbugs: Study - ‎Mar 31, 2010‎

Synopsis - Essential oils like Rosewood oil and Thyme oil could be a cheap and effective alternative to antibiotics to fight drug-resistant superbugs, a new study has claimed...

“Not only are essential oils a cheap and effective treatment option for antibiotic-resistant strains, but decreased use of antibiotics will help minimise the risk of new strains of antibiotic resistant micro-organisms emerging,” said lead author Professor Yiannis Samaras.

The essential oils of Thyme and Cinnamon were found to be particularly efficient antibacterial agents against a range of Staphylococcus species of bacteria, with the Thyme oil being the most effective...

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