It is well known that the overprescribing of antibiotics during the past several decades has led to the serious problem of antibiotic-resistant organisms and resulting infections. The CDC estimates that 2 million people per year become ill from antibiotic-resistant infection, with an estimated 23,000 deaths.
MRSA and an alternative treatment
The MRSA staph infection, in particular, is considered a formidable threat to our health system. Within the past decade, studies using tea tree oil to treat MRSA have been performed in vivo in hospital settings. According to the research on MRSA treatments, the efficacy of tea tree oil has been clearly demonstrated in both inhibiting bacterial growth and proactively killing the bacterium.
What is tea tree oil?
Melaleuca alternifolia, one of over 300 different species of plants known as tea tree in Australia, is the most potent and useful. Tea tree oil is one of the strongest antibacterial/antimicrobial/antiviral essential oils, yet is very mild and safe. For many centuries, it was used by the Australian Aborigines to cleanse and protect the skin. By World War II, the Australian Army was effectively using it for wound care.
Other uses for tea tree oil
In addition to the treatment of MRSA and other staph infections, tea tree oil can also be used for:
- Skin application – Tea tree oil is applied to the skin topically for infections such as acne, nail fungus, lice, scabies, athlete’s foot, cuts, abrasions, insect bites and more.
- Nasal rinsing – may add to rinse solutions for sinus irrigation to control bacteria on skin and in the nose.
- Bathing – Add to bath salts to support skin decolonization
- Air diffusing – reduces airborne bacteria and viruses.
- Safe alternative to toxic antibacterial soaps – may be added to cleaning solutions and liquid soaps as a natural antibacterial agent.
As physicians become more judicious in prescribing synthetic antibiotics in order to minimize the progression of antibiotic-resistance, tea tree oil, as well as other essential oils, may become a viable and effective alternative treatment when antimicrobial agents are needed.