There is growing concerns about antibiotic resistance to bacterial infections. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a bacterium that is very difficult to kill.
Although initially restricted to hospital patients, many cases of MRSA infections are now found outside of hospital settings.
Many antibiotics are not able to kill this bug and individuals are left with little options.
Are there any natural remedies that might help to fight these bacteria?
Indeed, there may be one. And the good news is that clinical studies show that it works. Read on to find out...
Tea tree oil is known to possess antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities. There are actually studies done on the effectiveness of using tea tree oil for treating MRSA infections in both lab and clinical settings.
Here's the reference to the first study:
In this lab study, researchers compared the effectiveness of tea tree oil to mupirocin and lysostaphin. Although tea tree oil was not as effective as mupirocin, it did work. Moreover, combining tea tree oil with vancomycin resulted in synergistic benefits.
The authors also noted that there was resistance to mupirocin with about 9% of the bacteria that they tested.
The conclusion? The researchers realized that tea tree oil may be an alternative for getting rid of MRSA, especially when existing treatment options are not effective.
This was just the studies done in a tissue culture. Let's look at the second and more useful study done in human subjects. The reference is listed below:
In this clinical trial, the researchers compared using several standard antibiotic treatment protocols with a 10% tea tree oil cream and a 5% tea tree oil body wash. One hundred and fourteen patients were recruited for this study.
In 110 volunteers, 46% of them had their MRSA infections cleared. As would be expected, mupirocin ointment worked better than tea tree oil cream.
But the surprising fact is that tea tree oil cream worked better than chlorhexidine or silver sulfadiazine for getting rid of skin infections. (Chlorhexidine is commonly used in surgical scrubs, oral mouth rinse, soaps and solutions and silver sulfadiazine is used for burns on skin.)
The conclusion from the researchers? Tea tree oil formulations are effective and safe alternative for eradicating MRSA infections.
The clinical study discussed above used a 10% tea tree oil cream. To make this cream you can use 5 mL of concentrated tea tree oil in 50 grams of a cream (such as Glaxal Base or aqueous cream).
This cream can be applied to the skin two or three times daily for a week to clear the MRSA infection.
Always test a small amount on the skin to check for possible irritation to the skin.
A body wash can be made as well. In the above clinical study, researchers tested a 5% tea tree oil body wash formulation. You can make this by adding 5 mL of pure tea tree oil into 100 mL of your body wash.
For formulations and dilutions of tea tree oil for MRSA and other infections, see Tea Tree Oil Dilution Guide to get the complete details.
This 10% tea tree oil cream may also be applied into the nasal cavity to help treat sinus infections involving MRSA. It would be more elegant to make a gel out of aloe vera instead of using a cream formulation that the researchers used.
A better option is the make the gel formulation using a commercially available nasal gel (e.g. Secaris or Rhinaris). This might be the best choice since the nasal gel is specifically formulation to reduce irritation when applied in the nasal cavity.
Always test a small amount of your tea tree oil nasal gel first to make sure that it does not cause severe irritation to the nasal tissues.
Anecdotal reports have suggested that combining tea tree oil with turmeric for MRSA infection in the nasal passage ways might be more effective. (See Turmeric for MRSA Infections for a discussion of that particular formulation and use.)
Tea tree oil is extensively used for many other types of infection such as for acne, athlete's foot, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and fungus. And we have written many articles specifically addressing each one of the above condition.
Access all these detailed articles from our Tea Tree Oil Uses Home Page.
Each of these articles include recommendations on how to use them and dilution guides to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Thinking of using tea tree oil for MRSA?
There is indeed some clinical evidence showing that tea tree oil can be effective against MRSA infections.
A 10% tea tree oil cream formulation appears to be as effective as some conventional antibiotic therapies for getting rid of MRSA skin infections.
And a 5% skin wash formulation appears to also work well.
Always test a small area first to check for possible allergic reactions or irritations.
And antibiotics may also be required as well for more severe infections. Always work with a health care professional when dealing with MRSA infections.
Revised: June 10, 2012