Aromatherapy Oils ‘Kill Superbug’

could kill the deadly MRSA hospital ‘superbug’, scientists have

University of Manchester
researchers found three of the oils, usually used in aromatherapy, destroyed
MRSA and E.coli bacteria in two minutes.


div>They suggest the oils could be blended into soaps
and shampoos which could be used in hospitals to stop the spread of the

Hospital-acquired infections,
such as MRSA, kill an estimated 5,000 a

The Manchester study was triggered
when complementary medicine specialists at Christie Cancer Hospital asked
university researchers to test essential

Our research shows a very practical
application which could be of enormous benefit to the NHS and its patients

Jacqui Stringer, Christie Hospital, Manchester

They wanted to ensure they could not harm the
patients, whose immune systems are weakened by the

Dr Peter Warn, who carried
out the research, said: “When I tested the oils in the lab, absolutely nothing
grew. Rather than stimulating bacteria and fungi, the oils killed them

Soaps and shampoos

The team then tested 40 essential oils
against 10 of the most infectious agents found in hospitals, including MRSA
(methicillin-resistant staphylococcus

Two of the oils were found to
kill MRSA and E.coli almost instantly, while a third was found to act over a
longer period of time.

However, the
researchers say they are unable to reveal which oils carry benefits because of
commercial sensitivities.

MRSA is often
carried in patients’ nostrils, and is currently treated by putting disinfectant
on the area to kill the bacterium – which many patients often find

Dr Warn says the essential
oils could be used to create much more pleasant inhalation therapies – which he
said were likely to have a much higher success rate than the current treatment,
which is only effective in around 50% of

Dr Warn said: “We believe that
our discovery could revolutionise the fight to combat MRSA and other

But he said the team now
needed around £30,000 in order to continue its

Jacqui Stringer, clinical
leader of complementary therapies at Christie Hospital in Manchester, instigated
the oils research.

She said: “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 superbug bacteria finds difficult
to resist.”

The Department of Health
evaluates products which are claimed to prevent or treat HAIs before it permits
them to be used across the NHS.

Story from BBC

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Posted: 01/14/2007 at 10:50 AM

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Posted: 01/14/2007 at 10:50 AM

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