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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Essential Oil Studies Involving Respiratory Tract

Editor's note: These two studies show the marked antibactierial effects of essential oils, specifically on microbes that may infect the respiratory tract. While cinnamon oil was noted effective, it is an exceptionally potent oil that may burn mucous membranes. Lemongrass was also noted to have a low minimum inhibitory dose (only a little was needed for the antibacterial effect) and is a much more gentle oil, particularly if used as described in the second study: essential oils are most effective with a high vapor concentration for short periods (short periods are often frequenly repeated in aromatherapy; on the hour or every 90 minutes - this can be done with a professional nebulizing aromatherapy diffuser).

Study: Screening of the antibacterial effects of a variety of essential oils on respiratory tract pathogens, using a modified dilution assay method.

Inouye S, Yamaguchi H, Takizawa T.
Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology, 259 Otsuka, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0395, Japan.

The purpose of this study was to examine the antibacterial effects of a wide variety of essential oils on major respiratory tract pathogens. The antibacterial activity of 14 essential oils and their major components was evaluated by agar-plate dilution assay under sealed conditions, with agar used as a stabilizer for homogeneous dispersion. Of the selected strains of four major bacteria causing respiratory tract infection, Haemophilus influenzae was most susceptible to the essential oils, followed by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes. Staphylococcus aureus was less susceptible. No cross-resistance was observed between penicillin-sensitive and penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae. Escherichia coli, used as a control bacterium, showed the lowest susceptibility. Essential oils containing aldehyde or phenol as a major component showed the highest antibacterial activity, followed by the essential oils containing terpene alcohols. Other essential oils, containing terpene ketone, or ether, had much weaker activity, and an oil containing terpene hydrocarbon was inactive. Based on these findings, thyme (wild, red, and geraniol types), cinnamon bark, lemongrass, perilla, and peppermint oils were selected for further evaluation of their effects on respiratory tract infection.

Study:Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.

Inouye S, Takizawa T, Yamaguchi H.
Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0395, Japan.

The antibacterial activity of 14 essential oils and their major constituents in the gaseous state was evaluated against Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. For most essential oils examined, H. influenzae was most susceptible, followed by S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenes, and then S. aureus. Penicillin-susceptible and -resistant S. pneumoniae were comparable in susceptibility. Escherichia coli, which was used as a control, showed least susceptibility. A minimal inhibitory dose (MID) was introduced as a measure of the vapour activity. Among 14 essential oils, cinnamon bark, lemon-grass and thyme oils showed the lowest MID, followed by essential oils containing terpene alcohols as major constituents. The essential oils containing terpene ketone, ether and, in particular, hydrocarbon had high MIDS.The vapour activity on short exposure was comparable to that following overnight exposure, and rapid evaporation was more effective than slow evaporation of essential oils. The vapour concentration and absorption into agar of essential oils reached a maximum 1 or 2 h after rapid evaporation. These results indicate that the antibacterial action of essential oils was most effective when at high vapour concentration for a short time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Juniper Berry Essential Oil and Candida

Juniper berry essential oil has an exceptionally pleasing aroma. It blends well with many other oils, and we like to use it in small amounts with oils like Pine, Black Spruce and Balsam Fir. But Juniper is more than just a fine aromatic - several scientific studies have noted its action against Candida fungus.

Study: Antimicrobial activity of juniper berry essential oil
Pepeljnjak S, Kosalec I, Kalodera Z, Blazevi? N.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Juniper essential oil (Juniperi aetheroleum) was obtained from the juniper berry, and the GC/MS analysis showed that the main compounds in the oil were alpha-pinene (29.17%) and beta-pinene (17.84%), sabinene (13.55%), limonene (5.52%), and mircene (0.33%). Juniper essential oil was evaluated for the antimicrobial activity against sixteen bacterial species, seven yeast-like fungi, three yeast and four dermatophyte strains. Juniper essential oil showed similar bactericidal activities against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species, with MIC values between 8 and 70% (V/V), as well as a strong fungicidal activity against yeasts, yeast-like fungi and dermatophytes, with MIC values below 10% (V/V). The strongest fungicidal activity was recorded against Candida spp. (MIC from 0.78 to 2%, V/V) and dermatophytes (from 0.39 to 2%, V/V).

Study: Antifungal activity of Juniperus essential oils against dermatophyte, Aspergillus and Candida strains.
Cavaleiro C, Pinto E, Gonçalves MJ, Salgueiro L.
Laboratory Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy/CEF, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.

AIMS: The increasing resistance to antifungal compounds and the reduced number of available drugs led us to search therapeutic alternatives among aromatic plants and their essential oils, empirically used by antifungal proprieties. In this work the authors report on the antifungal activity of Juniperus essential oils (Juniperus communis ssp. alpina, J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus and J. turbinata). METHODS AND RESULTS: Antifungal activity was evaluated by determination of MIC and MLC values, using a macrodilution method (NCCLS protocols), on clinical and type strains of Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophytes. The composition of the oils was ascertained by GC and GC/MS analysis. All essential oils inhibited test dermatophyte strains. The oil from leaves of J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus is the most active, with MIC and MLC values ranging from 0.08-0.16 microl ml(-1) to 0.08-0.32 microl ml(-1), respectively. This oil is mainly composed of alpha-pinene (65.5%) and delta-3-carene (5.7%).

CONCLUSIONS: J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus leaf oil proved to be an emergent alternative as antifungal agent against dermatophyte strains. delta-3-Carene, was shown to be a fundamental compound for this activity.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Results support that essential oils or some of their constituents may be useful in the clinical management of fungal infections, justifying future clinical trials to validate their use as therapeutic alternatives for dermatophytosis.

Editor's note: Geranium essential oil (asperum species) is also considered a potent antimicrobial against the Candida fungus.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Recent Studies Showing Anti-Cancer Effects of Essential Oils

Study: An essential oil and its major constituent isointermedeol induce apoptosis by increased expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c and apical death receptors in human leukaemia HL-60 cells.

Kumar A, Malik F, Bhushan S, Sethi VK, Shahi AK, Kaur J, Taneja SC, Qazi GN, Singh J.
Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Canal Road, Jammu 180001, India.

An essential oil from a lemon grass variety of Cymbopogon flexuosus (CFO - a species of Lemongrass essential oil) and its major chemical constituent sesquiterpene isointermedeol (ISO) were investigated for their ability to induce apoptosis in human leukaemia HL-60 cells because dysregulation of apoptosis is the hallmark of cancer cells. CFO and ISO inhibited cell proliferation with 48h IC50 of approximately 30 and 20mug/ml, respectively. Both induced concentration dependent strong and early apoptosis as measured by various end-points, e.g. annexinV binding, DNA laddering, apoptotic bodies formation and an increase in hypo diploid sub-G0 DNA content during the early 6h period of study. This could be because of early surge in ROS formation with concurrent loss of mitochondrial membrane potential observed. Both CFO and ISO activated apical death receptors TNFR1, DR4 and caspase-8 activity. Simultaneously, both increased the expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c protein with its concomitant release to cytosol leading to caspase-9 activation, suggesting thereby the involvement of both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis. Further, Bax translocation, and decrease in nuclear NF-kappaB expression predict multi-target effects of the essential oil and ISO while both appeared to follow similar signaling apoptosis pathways.


Conclusion: The easy and abundant availability of the oil combined with its suggested mechanism of cytotoxicity make CFO highly useful in the development of anti-cancer therapeutics.


Study: Cytotoxic effect of
essential oil of thyme (Thymus broussonettii) on the IGR-OV1 tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy.

Ait M'barek L, Ait Mouse H, Jaâfari A, Aboufatima R, Benharref A, Kamal M, Bénard J, El Abbadi N, Bensalah M, Gamouh A, Chait A, Dalal A, Zyad A.
Laboratory of Immunology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Natural Substances, Cellular and Molecular Immuno-pharmacology Group, Faculty of Sciences and Technologies, University Cadi-Ayyad, Béni-Mellal, Morocco.

The anti-tumor effect of the Moroccan endemic thyme (Thymus broussonettii) essential oil (EOT) was investigated in vitro using the human ovarian adenocarcinoma IGR-OV1 parental cell line OV1/P and its chemoresistant counterparts OV1/adriamycin (OV1/ADR), OV1/vincristine (OV1/VCR), and OV1/cisplatin (OV1/CDDP). All of these cell lines elicited various degrees of sensitivity to the cytotoxic effect of EOT. The IC50 values (mean +/- SEM, v/v) were 0.40 +/- 0.02, 0.39 +/- 0.02, 0.94 +/- 0.05, and 0.65 +/- 0.03% for OV1/P, OV1/ADR, OV1/VCR, and OV1/CDDP, respectively. Using the DBA-2/P815 (H2d) mouse model, tumors were developed by subcutaneous grafting of tumor fragments of similar size obtained from P815 (murin mastocytoma cell line) injected in donor mouse. Interestingly, intra-tumoral injection of EOT significantly reduced solid tumor development. Indeed, by the 30th day of repeated EOT treatment, the tumor volumes of the animals were 2.00 +/- 0.27, 1.35 +/- 0.20, and 0.85 +/- 0.18 cm(3) after injection with 10, 30, or 50 microL per 72 h (six times), respectively, as opposed to 3.88 +/- 0.50 cm(3) for the control animals. This tumoricidal effect was associated with a marked decrease of mouse mortality. In fact, in these groups of mice, the recorded mortality by the 30th day of treatment was 30 +/- 4, 18 +/- 4, and 8 +/- 3%, respectively, while the control animals showed 75 +/- 10% of mortality. These data indicate that the EOT which contains carvacrol as the major component has an important in vitro cytotoxic activity against tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy as well as a significant antitumor effect in mice. However, our data do not distinguish between carvacrol and the other components of EOT as the active factor.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Studies Showing Essential Oil Efficacy Against Candida

Ed. Note: These three studies investigate the antifungal action against Candida albicans of essential oils of tea tree, lavender and thyme.

In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp.

Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV
Department of Microbiology, The University of Western Australia, The Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, The Netherlands.

The in-vitro activity of a range of essential oils, including tea tree oil, against the yeast candida was examined. Of the 24 essential oils tested by the agar dilution method against Candida albicans ATCC 10231, three did not inhibit C. albicans at the highest concentration tested, which was 2.0% (v/v) oil. Sandalwood oil had the lowest MIC, inhibiting C. albicans at 0.06%. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil was investigated for activity against 81 C. albicans isolates and 33 non-albicans Candida isolates. By the broth microdilution method, the minimum concentration of oil inhibiting 90% of isolates for both C. albicans and non-albicans Candida species was 0.25% (v/v). The minimum concentration of oil killing 90% of isolates was 0.25% for C. albicans and 0.5% for non-albicans Candida species. Fifty-seven Candida isolates were tested for sensitivity to tea tree oil by the agar dilution method; the minimum concentration of oil inhibiting 90% of isolates was 0.5%. Tests on three intra-vaginal tea tree oil products showed these products to have MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations comparable to those of non-formulated tea tree oil, indicating that the tea tree oil contained in these products has retained its anticandidal activity. These data indicate that some essential oils are active against Candida spp., suggesting that they may be useful in the topical treatment of superficial candida infections.

Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form.

D'Auria FD, Tecca M, Strippoli V, Salvatore G, Battinelli L, Mazzanti G.
Department of Public Health, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

The antifungal activity of the essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (lavender oil) and its main components, linalool and linalyl acetate, was investigated against 50 clinical isolates of Candida albicans (28 oropharyngeal strains, 22 vaginal strains) and C. albicans ATCC 3153. Growth inhibition, killing time and inhibition of germ tube formation were evaluated. The chemical composition of the essential oil was determined by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Lavender oil inhibited C. albicans growth: mean minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 0.69% (vol./vol.) (vaginal strains) and 1.04% (oropharyngeal strains); mean MFC of 1.1% (vaginal strains) and 1.8% (oropharyngeal strains). Linalool was more effective than essential oil: mean MIC of 0.09% (vaginal strains) and 0.29% (oropharyngeal strains); mean MFC of 0.1% (vaginal strains) and 0.3% (oropharyngeal strains). Linalyl acetate was almost ineffective. Lavender oil (2%) killed 100% of the C. albicans ATCC 3153 cells within 15 min; linalool (0.5%) killed 100% of the cells within 30 s. The essential oil inhibited germ tube formation (mean MIC of 0.09%), as did the main components (MIC of 0.11% for linalool and 0.08% for linalyl acetate). Both the essential oil and its main components inhibited hyphal elongation of C. albicans ATCC 3153 (about 50% inhibition at 0.016% with each substance). Lavender essential oil shows both fungistatic and fungicidal activity against C. albicans strains. At lower concentrations, it inhibits germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, indicating that it is effective against C. albicans dimorphism and may thus reduce fungal progression and the spread of infection in host tissues.


Antifungal effect of various essential oils against Candida albicans. Potentiation of antifungal action of amphotericin B by essential oil from Thymus vulgaris.
Giordani R, Regli P, Kaloustian J, Mikaïl C, Abou L, Portugal H.

Laboratoire de Botanique, Cryptogamie et Biologie Cellulaire, Faculté de Pharmacie, Université de la Méditerranée, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 05, France.

The antifungal effect of the essential oil from Satureja montana L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (Lavender essential oil), Lavandula hybrida Reverchon, Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merril and Perry, Origanum vulgare L. (Oregano essential oil), Rosmarinus officinalis L (Rosemary essential oil). and six chemotypes of Thymus vulgaris L. on Candida albicans growth were studied. The most efficiency was obtained with the essential oil from Thymus vulgaris thymol chemotype (MIC 80% = 0.016 microL/mL and Kaff = 296 microL/mL). The presence in the culture medium of essential oil from Thymus vulgaris thymol chemotype (0.01, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 microg/mL) and amphotericin B involved a decrease of the MIC 80% of amphotericin B. In contrast, the combination of amphotericin B and low concentrations (0.00031-0.0025 microg/mL) of essential oil was antagonistic. The strongest decrease (48%) of the MIC 80% was obtained with medium containing 0.2 microL/mL of essential oil. These results signify that the essential oil of Thymus vulgaris thymol chemotype potentiates the antifungal action of amphotericin B suggesting a possible utilization of this essential oil in addition to antifungal drugs for the treatment of mycoses. 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Studies Show Essential Oil Mouthwash Effective

Ed. Note: These studies do show efficacy of essential oil containing mouthwashes on tooth and gum health. The do not describe the essential oils used. One can make their own: The following recipe is from http://www.aromaweb.com/recipes/rmouthwa.asp ...

4oz Pure Water
4oz Vodka
4tsp Vegetable Glycerine (if sweetening is desired)
10-12 drops Peppermint OR Spearmint Essential Oil
5 drops Myrrh Essential Oil (optional)

OR try using similar dilution ratios using Tea Tree essential oil (and or Lemon, or Thyme) - commonly used in natural mouth wash recipes. We do NOT recommend using potent oils like oregano or cinnamon, as they WILL burn the mouth.

Effect of rinsing with an essential oil-containing mouthrinse on subgingival periodontopathogens.

Fine DH, Markowitz K, Furgang D, Goldsmith D, Ricci-Nittel D, Charles CH, Peng P, Lynch MC.
Department of Oral Biology, New Jersey Dental School/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.

BACKGROUND: Studies have shown that the nature and amount of supragingival plaque can influence the composition of the contiguous subgingival flora. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of rinsing with an essential oil antimicrobial mouthrinse on levels of representative subgingival bacteria in subjects with mild to moderate periodontitis. METHODS: This controlled study used a randomized, double-masked, 2 x 2 crossover design. After baseline subgingival sampling, 37 qualifying subjects rinsed with the essential oil mouthrinse or a negative control twice daily for 14 days, with a post-treatment sample obtained on day 15. Following a washout period, the procedure was repeated with the alternative rinse. Target organisms enumerated were Porphyromonas gingivalis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Veillonella sp., and total anaerobes. Intergroup comparisons of post-treatment log-transformed colony forming unit counts were made using analysis of covariance. RESULTS: After 14 days of twice-daily rinsing, the level of each of the target subgingival organisms was significantly lower in the essential oil group than in the control group (P < 0.001), with percent reductions ranging from 66.3% to 79.2%. CONCLUSIONS: Rinsing with the essential oil antiplaque/antigingivitis mouthrinse can have significant antimicrobial activity against subgingival periodontopathogens. Most likely, the antimicrobial effect was mediated primarily by disruption of the contiguous supragingival plaque by the mouthrinse. Because studies have shown that control of supragingival plaque can influence the onset and/or progression of periodontitis, additional studies on non-prescription antimicrobial oral care products may lead to new regimens for decreasing the burden of periodontal diseases in the population.

Effect of an essential oil-containing antimicrobial mouthrinse on specific plaque bacteria in vivo.

Fine DH, Markowitz K, Furgang D, Goldsmith D, Charles CH, Lisante TA, Lynch MC.
Department of Oral Biology, New Jersey Dental School, University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey, Newark, NJ 07101, USA.

AIM: This study was conducted to investigate the effect of rinsing with an essential oil-containing mouthrinse on levels of specific supra and subgingival bacteria in subjects with gingivitis. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Fifteen subjects meeting entry criteria completed this randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Subjects were required to have >or=1000 target organisms per millilitre in pooled samples from two subgingival sites. Following sampling of supra and subgingival plaque, subjects began twice-daily rinsing for 14 days with either an essential oil-containing mouthrinse (Cool Mint Listerine Antiseptic) or a negative control. Supra and subgingival plaque was again sampled on day 15, and the procedure repeated after a 1-week washout period with subjects using the alternate rinse. RESULTS: Compared with the negative control, the essential oil mouthrinse produced significant reductions in supragingival plaque levels of Veillonella sp., Capnocytophaga sp., Fusobacterium nucleatum, and total anaerobes ranging from 52.3 to 88.5% (p<0.001 except for Veillonella, p=0.002); respective reductions in subgingival plaque ranged from 54.1 to 69.1% (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Rinsing with the essential oil mouthrinse can have an impact on the subgingival plaque flora. This study provides additional evidence indicating that reduction in supragingival plaque can reduce levels of subgingival plaque.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bergamot Reduces Stress AND Is a Potent Anti-Microbial

The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension

Hwang JH.
Department of Nursing, Geochang Provincial College, Geochang-gun, Gyungnam, Korea.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of aromatherapy on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension. METHOD: There were fifty-two subjects divided into an essential oil group, placebo group, and control group by random assignment. The application of aromatherapy was the inhalation method of blending oils with lavender, ylangylang, and bergamot once daily for 4 weeks. To evaluate the effects of aromatherapy, blood pressure and pulse were measured two times a week and serum cortisol levels, catecholamine levels, subjective stress, and state anxiety were measured before and after treatment in the three groups. Data was analyzed by repeated measures of ANOVA, one-way ANOVA, and chi(2)-test using the SPSS 10.0 program. RESULTS: The blood pressure, pulse, subjective stress, state anxiety, and serum cortisol levels among the three groups were significantly statistically different. The differences of catecholamine among the three groups were not significant statistically.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that the inhalation method using essential oils can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.

Next Study: Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids extracted from bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) peel, a byproduct of the essential oil industry.

Mandalari G, Bennett RN, Bisignano G, Trombetta D, Saija A, Faulds CB, Gasson MJ, Narbad A.
Commensal and Microflora Programme, Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK, and Department of Pharmacology, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.

Aims: To evaluate the antimicrobial properties of flavonoid-rich fractions derived from bergamot peel, a byproduct from the Citrus fruit processing industry and the influence of enzymatic deglycosylation on their activity against different bacteria and yeast. Methods and Results: Bergamot ethanolic fractions were tested against Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, Salmonella enterica), Gram-positive bacteria (Listeria innocua, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Lactococcus lactis) and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Bergamot fractions were found to be active against all the Gram-negative bacteria tested, and their antimicrobial potency increased after enzymatic deglycosylation. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of the fractions and the pure flavonoids, neohesperidin, hesperetin (aglycone), neoeriocitrin, eriodictyol (aglycone), naringin and naringenin (aglycone), were found to be in the range 200 to 800 mug ml(-1). The interactions between three bergamot flavonoids were also evaluated.

Conclusion: The enzyme preparation Pectinase 62L efficiently converted common glycosides into their aglycones from bergamot extracts, and this deglycosylation increased the antimicrobial potency of Citrus flavonoids. Pairwise combinations of eriodictyol, naringenin and hesperetin showed both synergistic and indifferent interactions that were dependent on the test indicator organism. Significance and Impact of the Study: Bergamot peel is a potential source of natural antimicrobials that are active against Gram-negative bacteria.


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