Essential oils aren’t just for use in aromatherapy, massage, and other spa treatments. Many have been extensively researched, leading the scientific community to discover their benefits for treating a variety of diseases. There are hundreds of different essential oils and more than a few offer unique antibacterial properties.
Of course, essential oils have long been known for their ability to heal, but few people realize that they can even kill off bacteria, viruses, and fungi, fighting off and preventing a host of infections, treating skin conditions and more.
They can be an excellent way to fight bacteria without having to experience potentially severe side effects that come with antibiotics. In fact, they’re generally much safer than taking a prescription antibiotic, and you’ll be helping to address the worldwide problem of antibiotic resistance as well.
According to a report by the World Health Organization AKA WHO, years of excessive and often careless antibiotic abuse, as well as the use of antibiotics in animals like cows that are raised for meat and milk, have led to one of the world’s most serious health problems. That means, whenever we can turn to a natural solution it makes sense to do so – otherwise those important medications will be ineffective when we need them most.
8 Essential Oils That Can Kill Off Bacteria:
These essential oils are all an excellent way to do just that.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil:
Tea tree essential oil is only one of a few antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin without diluting it first. It’s well-known for its ability to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne and warts.
Also known as melaleuca oil, it comes from the leaves of the tea tree, or Melaleuca plant, which is native to Australia, and was used for centuries by aboriginal communities in the country as an antiseptic by crushing the leaves of the tea tree, and applying them to cuts, infections, and burns.
In the 1920s, it became widely-known beyond Australia’s borders when chemist Arthur Penfold published a series of papers on its antiseptic properties.
Since then, there have been countless studies conducted that have shown the potential of this oil for healing. For example, in 2004, a scientific review examined its ability to kill bacteria and found that it may be used as an adjunctive treatment for wounds, and may also be able to treat severe infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
A 2013 study replicated tea tree oil’s effects on humans who had wounds infected with the superbug Staphylococcus aureus – the participants treated with tea tree oil experienced significantly faster healing time compared to those who were treated conventionally.
You can use it in a diffuser or a nebulizer to help alleviate head and chest congestion, a stuffed up nose and other cold or flu symptoms. Steam inhalation helps to clear congested nasal passages as well as fight off bacteria. You can simply add a few drops of tea tree oil to a pot of steaming hot water, cover your head with a towel and then breathe in the vapors for five minutes or so.
Tea tree oil can also be utilized for its antifungal properties by applying it directly to problems like toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.
2. Oregano Essential Oil:
Oregano is a commonly used spice adding flavor to lots of dishes, but it also offers excellent therapeutic antibiotic effects. It was first recognized for its antibacterial and disinfecting properties in ancient Greece, where it was frequently used to treat wounds and bacterial infections on the skin.
Oregano essential oil contains bacteria-killing abilities and can even help control staph infections. It also provides antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties as well.
In fact, a 2001 study conducted out of Georgetown University and published in Science Daily found that the oil’s germ-killing properties were nearly as effective as most antibiotics. It’s especially noted for battling conditions like foot and nail fungus.
To do so, just place a few drops of oregano essential oil in a small tub of water and soak your feet in the solution. Or, you can use it directly on the affected area by diluting one drop of oregano essential oil in a carrier oil.
The oil can also be quite helpful if you’re suffering from a sinus infection. Relief may be found by placing a few drops of oregano essential oil into steaming water (such as the tea tree oil solution above), and then inhaling the steam. The oil not only causes significant damage to bacteria, but it also helps minimize the bacteria’s ability to produce toxins that can be extremely hazardous.
3. Cinnamon Essential Oil:
Cinnamon essential oil may be one of the strongest antibacterial essential oils of all, according to research. In a 2006 study conducted out of Loyola College’s Entomology Research Institute in Chennai, India, it was tested against some bacteria, including:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Escherichia coli
- Bacillus subtilis
- Pseudomonas aeruginosin
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
Cinnamon essential oil came out on top as the most powerful over other antibacterial oils like clove, Rosemary, Geranium, lime, orange, and lemon.
Research published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice was conducted on the effectiveness of cinnamon oil against “planktonic E. faecal” in a root canal procedure, and the results were striking.
They revealed that the oil was able to eliminate bacterial growth after seven and 14 days of the procedure, concluding that it’s an effective antibacterial agent against planktonic and biofilm E. faecalis and can be an outstanding agent for use in root canal treatments.
Make a homemade toothpaste with cinnamon essential oil to fight bacteria in the mouth, or use a ready-made cinnamon toothpaste – such as this one.
Use cinnamon oil in a diffuser to purify the air and kill off airborne bacteria. It’s especially effective when used with other antibacterial agents like tea tree, eucalyptus or clove oil, killing nearly 99% of airborne bacteria in just minutes.
4. Grapefruit Essential Oil:
Grapefruit essential oil has also been reported to be a highly effective natural antibiotic with the ability to fight a host of common infections. In a study from the University of Texas, drops of the extract were tested for antibacterial properties and the researchers found that it was comparable to “proven topical antibacterials.”
A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology reported that the oil was effective against strains of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus epidermis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Serratia marcescens, and Proteus Vulgaris.
In addition to its ability to fight off bacteria, grapefruit essential oil contains antimicrobial properties that may help treat and prevent an infection in wounds and cuts as well as eliminate microbes in the kidneys and gut. It supports endocrine function, encourages the production of bile and gastric juices to aid the digestive system, and it offers stimulating effects that can make you feel more alert.
Use grapefruit essential oil by inhaling it to help eliminate mental fatigue, headaches or depression, as well as to activate the lymphatic system to clear toxins.