Can Oil of Oregano Treat MRSA?
MRSA is the shortened term for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This refers to several strains of
Staphylococcus aureus which are resistant to different antibiotics, including methicillin. With respect to this
group of bacteria, oil of oregano can definitely eradicate them and prevent them from causing infections. These
were the findings of several scientists and medical researchers who testified that this essential oil was more
effective in killing these harmful microbes as compared to several pharmaceutical drugs.
The Nature of Staphylococcus aureus
The Problem with MRSA
Staphylococcus aureus is a group of bacteria that is
actually harmless and lives on the surface of the skin and inside the nose of human beings. Most people are
carrying this bacterium totally unaware that they have it. Medical authorities estimate that about 30% of the
people in any given area have this microbe in their skin and inside their noses. It can easily spread by person to
It is when this group of germs enters our body through a cut or
wound in our skin that they become a problem. Healthy individuals are able to fight staphylococcus aureus infection
and will only experience mild symptoms. But individuals with weakened immune systems are liable to develop more
serious health conditions. These are people who have ongoing illnesses and those who have just undergone surgery.
They could develop boils, septic wounds, abscesses, toxic shock syndrome and heart-valve problems.
The Usual Treatment for MRSA
People who have been infected with Staphylococcus aureus are
usually given antibiotics to clear the infection. And here is where the problems occur. The MRSA strains of
bacteria have already developed resistance to several antibiotics which are normally used for treating this kind of
It is now more difficult to treat this infection and stronger antibiotics are resorted to, such as vancomycin
and teicoplanin. However, serious side effects have been documented when these antibiotics are used. The side
effects of vancomycin are serious. They include loss of hearing, severe blistering of the skin, breathing
difficulties, extreme abdominal pain, and kidney damage. The side effects of teicoplanin include skin rashes,
redness of the skin, itching, fever and abscess on the skin where the antibiotic is injected. More serious side
effects are hearing loss, diarrhea, broncho spasm and blood and bone marrow problems.
In this context, a safer product such as oil of oregano could be a better alternative. And this is what a team
of scientists and medical researchers have found. This oil has the capacity to kill staphylococcus aureus without
leaving any side effects.
The Power of Oil of Oregano
Numerous tests and clinical studies have already proven the
effectiveness of oil of oregano against all types of harmful microbes, including MRSA. A group of medical
researchers from the University of the West of England, together with their partners in India, have found that
carvacrol, one of the active ingredients in oil of oregano contains potent anti-fungal and anti bacterial
properties. They said that this substance can be put to a wide range of medicinal uses. This group of scientists
revealed that the MRSA super-bug could be wiped out using oil of oregano.
They have discovered that this natural product could eradicate staphylococcus aureus from hospital wards. The
carvacrol content of this essential oil was found by these investigators to be a more effective anticimicrobial
agent than 18 pharmaceutical drugs used in mainstream medicine for controlling this group of bacteria.
Here is a list of the things that these researches were able to discover about oil of oregano:
• They found that oregano oil can kill gardia lambia, a protozoan parasite that lives in the intestine
and that can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc.
• It can also sterilize septic water.
• It can kill fungi such as candida albicans.
• It can be better than streptomycin and penicillin for eradicating harmful microbes.
• Even small doses of this essential oil can kill colonies of bacteria, including MRSA
• This oil can still function even if it is brought to boiling temperature. This means that this oil can
be used to disinfect hospital sheets.
• It is still effective in vapor form, therefore it could be used as an antibacterial spray.
What Are the Implications of These Findings?
As a result of these medical findings, Mr. Ben
Heron, a representative of the firm Biolaya Organics who led the research in Northern India, stated that oregano
oil can kill MRSA with a dilution ranging from 1 to 1,000 and its antimicrobial properties are not affected by heat
treatment. This is not true with most conventional anti-bacterial agents.
He added that once they have completed their research and have published their findings, they aim to convince
additional partners to join them in their production of hand soaps, multi-purpose anti-bacterial wipes and other
products intended for hospital use for controlling and preventing MRSA. It should be noted that the average NHS
(National Health Service in Britain) hospital deals with 26 cases of MRSA each year. In 2007, there were more
than 4,000 reported cases of this kind of infection in Great Britain.
Both Himalayan Oregano and Mediterranean Oregano are Effective
The medical research
conducted by the UK University in corroboration with Biolaya Organics used the Himalayan version of Origanum
vulgare. Many scientists already knew the antimicrobial capacity of oregano oil sourced from the Mediterranean
oregano plants because of its carvacrol and thymol content.
This is the first time that they conducted research and studies on the Himalayan oregano oil and they were happy
to find that this plant’s carvacrol properties are the same as that of its Mediterranean counterpart.
Bright Prospects for Oregano Oil
The results of these studies could lead to a new way of
controlling and preventing MRSA infections in hospitals. More scientific evidence is being gathered around the
world on the antibiotic ability of oil of oregano. Consider this: of all 52 plant oils tested, oregano oil was the
only one acknowledged to have “pharmacologic” action against common germs like Candida albicans, Pseudomonas
aeruginosa and Salmonella enterica. This is published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, Volume 86, in June
1999. Pseudomonas is another microbe that has developed strains that are also resistant to antibiotic drugs. But
like MRSA, they are not able to withstand the powerful substances that oil of oregano contains.