I am often asked which Young Living essential oils are helpful for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). I cannot and will not – diagnose, treat or prescribe or tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do – the information in this article is based on a scientific study, and what I do to prevent certain types of unwanted illness and diease. This information is for educational purposes only. Please do the related research yourself to find out more as each situation and person are different, and decide what works for you.
A total of 91 Young Living single essential oils, and 64 Young Living blends were tested for their inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in 2008. Of the 91 single Young Living essential oils 78 exhibited zones of inhibition against MRSA. And of the 64 Young Living blends 52 exhibited inhibitory activity against MRSA.
Since the 1950s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that the proportion of overall staphylococcal infections due to MRSA has risen steadily from 2% in 1974, to 22% in 1995, to 63% in in 2004 in the USA. Although initially most MRSA infections were acquired in hospital (HA-MRSA) settings, the first appearance of a community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) occurred in 1982 among intravenous drug users in Detroit.
Since 1982 CA-MRSA (Community Acquired -MRSA) has grown annually into an ever-increasingly source of infections among individuals previously labeled as belonging to ‘low-risk’ groups.
Since cases of HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA are increasing, as are the rates of antibiotic therapy failures, many have been searching for new methods of prevention and treatment.[3-6] Research has revealed some promising novel antimicrobial candidates including superior quality essential oils, such as Young Living’s.
In vitro data indicate that many Young Living essential oils have antimicrobial activity. The activities that were investigated and their actions against various pathogens, including MRSA, were demonstrated. [8-14]
There are also several clinical studies [15, 16] and case reports [17, 18] noting the successful use of YL essential oils in treating MRSA nasal carriage or MRSA infections. Specifically, Dryden et al. and Caelli et al. reported that topical YL tea tree (YL Melaleuca) was effective as standard therapy for reducing MRSA nasal colonization; Sherry et al.[17, 18] reported successful treatment of patients with staphylococcal wound infections. However, several review articles[17, 18] have reported that, while use of essential oils as antimicrobial agents is promising, additional in vivo studies and more clinical studies involving larger numbers of subjects are needed.
Previous studies done in the YL lab have shown inhibition of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other pathogens by various YL essential oils, but these oils were not tested specifically against MRSA.[7, 22, 23] Thus, this study was initiated to screen YL essential oils for inhibitory activity against medically important bacterium to determine their potential as candidates for use as disinfectants, antiseptics, or topical treatments against MRSA.
The Results of the Young Living Single Essential Oils
Of the 91 YL single essential oils that were screened by the disc diffusion assay, 78 had measurable inhibitory activity, while 13 exhibited no detectable inhibitory activity against MRSA.
Of the YL single essential oils tested, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mountain savory, cinnamon bark and melissa showed the highest levels of inhibition.
Remarkably, the YL essential oil lemongrass (60 mm) completely inhibited all MRSA growth on the plate.
Significant zones of inhibition (45-57 mm) were found for these other YL essential oils: thyme, cumin, Eucalyptus citriodora, tsuga, oregano, Melaleuca arternifolia.
Intermediate inhibition zones (35-42 mm) were detected for the YL singles of: ledum, Eucalyptus dives, niaouli, manuka, peppermint, elemi, and rosewood.
Results of the Young Living Blends
Of the 64 YL blends tested, 52 showed zones of inhibition, while 12 showed no detectable inhibitory activity against MRSA.
Of the YL blends, the blend called R.C. scored the best (>83 mm), with the blends Motivation second, Longevity third.
It was noted that the single essential oils that showed little or no detectable zone of inhibition when combined with other singles can produce significant zones of inhibition, suggesting a ‘synergy’ is occurring between the essential oils. For instance, the blend ‘Motivation’ showed anti-MRSA activity greater than the individual single oils when tested alone. Thus, the diameter of the zone of inhibition is greater than would be expected if the effect was only due to the YL oils acting independently. Likewise, the data for the other two YL blends, R.C. and Longevity, imply synergism of the combined single oils in the blends.
What I like to do to ‘Prevent’ MRSA and the Cooties in general…
Whenever possible I like to practice ‘prevention.’ A perfect example occurred this past spring when I seriously injured my foot and ankle and had to go to the Emergency Room. Here’s what I did because it was convenient…
Prior to getting out of the car, we squirted a nickel size dab of the Thieves hand sanitizer in our palms and rubbed it in well being sure to cover all parts of our hands.
After leaving the Emergency Room, but before opening the door of our car, we again paused to do our dabs of Thieves hand sanitizer.
As a general rule, I always carry a bottle of Thieves Waterless Hand Sanitizer in my purse, and keep one in the car – both have several drops of lemongrass added. We apply a dab prior to getting out of the car, particularly so when we will be touching things that many others have touched – like gas pump handles, door handles, shopping carts (which are extremely filthy! A side note: I do NOT recommend putting your purse, food or items in the child seat of the carts as they are loaded with bacteria, urine, and feces – studies have shown).
I personally prefer to take a proactive stance. What you choose to do, think, and follow is entirely up to you.
What I would do if I were in a Nursing Home or a stay in a Hospital
I would bring my Nebulizer Essential Oil Diffuser, a bottle of R.C. and a bottle of Lemongrass – and – my Thieves Hand Sanitizer (with several drops of either lemongrass or R.C. added to it). I would also bring these items into these places if a loved one were there and leave them for that individual to use as needed.
Many hospitals in the UK diffuse (vaporize) essential oils to help prevent the spread of infections and as such their death rates from infection have also gone down. Researchers at the University of Manchester stated that essential oils could be easily blended into soaps and shampoos for use by hospital staff to stop the spread of the deadly bacteria, see article.
Fabrics Harbor MRSA (studies show)
To address this, I would use my Thieves Household Cleaner in the laundry (one capful per load in place of laundry detergent) and I would add a few drops of lemongrass to the load.
Additional facts regarding MRSA and where and how long it can live on various surfaces.
Therapy Dogs May Fetch Hospital Germs, NY Times Well Blogs
Bacterial Contamination of Fabric Stethoscope Covers, Chicago Jornals Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
While all of this sounds scary my personal opinion is that it’s important to be proactive. Whether it be from not sharing towels and clothing, washing hands frrequently with a NON-antibacterial soap frequently, or choosing to use essential oils – any of these practices will be helpful in prevention.
“MRSA is spread by contact. So you could get MRSA by touching another person who has it on the skin. Or you could get it by touching objects that have the bacteria on them. MRSA is carried, or “colonized,” by about 1% of the population, although most of them aren’t infected. Staph (MRSA) can be a problem if it manages to get into the body, often through a cut. Once there, it can cause an infection. Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections in the U.S.” source: webmd.com
As I said, using common sense and practicing smart behavior can help prevent acquiring MRSA.
If MRSA were in My Home
If I were in a situation where MRSA were in my home or on people living in my home – I would do ALL of the above regularly.
Normally, I regularly diffuse my oils anyway, and I use Thieves Household Cleaner for all of our laundry, and only use my Young Living oils to clean my house and surfaces. They smell great, help kill unwanted microorganisms, and are nontoxic – I’ve cleaned my laundry and home in this way for years, even if superbugs and MRSA weren’t around – I prefer it over any other products.
Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils
Sue Chao 1 *, Gary Young 1, Craig Oberg 2, Karen Nakaoka 2
1Young Living Essential Oils, Lehi, UT, USA
2Department of Microbiology, Weber State University, Ogden, UT, USA
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRSA in Healthcare Settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Atlanta GA, 2008
2. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_MARS_spotlight_2006.html [accessed 24 April 2008].
3. Saravolatz LD, Markowitz N, Arking L et al. Ann. Intern. Med. 1982; 96:11-16.
4. Carr AC. N.Z. Pharm. 1998; 18: 1-5.
5. Carson CF, Riley TV. Rural Industr. Res. N.Z. 1998; 1-52.
6. Carson CF, Riley TV. Comm. Dis. Intell. 2003; Sippl: S144-147.
7. Carson CF, Hammer KA, Riley TV. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 2006; 19: 50-62.
8. Chao SC, Young DG, Oberg C.J. Essent.Oil Res. 2000; 12: 639-649.
9. Chang ST, Chen PF, Chang SC. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003; 77: 123-127.
10. Hayes AJ, Markovic B. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2001; 40: 535-543.
11. Imai H, Osawa K, Yasuda H et al. Microbes 2001; 106(S1): 31-39.
12. Nostro A, Blanco AR, Cannatelli MA et al. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 2004; 230: 191-195.
13. Edwards-Jones V, Buck R, Shawcross SG, et al. Burns 2004; 30: 772-777.
14. Elsom GKF, Hide D. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 1999; 43: 427-428.
15. Sherry E, Warnke PH. Phytomedicine 2004; 11: 95-97.
16. Dryden MS, Dailly S, CrouchM. J. Hosp. Infect. 2004; 56(4): 283-286.
17. Caelli M, Porteous J, Carson CF et al. J. Hosp. Infect. 2000: 46: 236-237.
18. Sherry E, Boeck H, Warnke PH. BMC Surg. 2001; 1:1.
22. Martin K, Ernst E. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2003; 51: 241-246.
23. Chao SC, Young DG, Oberg C. J. Essent. Oil Res. 1998; 10: 517-523.
Disclaimer: This article is only my opinion and what I choose to do for prevention. The information found on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat or prescribe any condition – it is for educational purposes only. Please do the related research to discover what is right for you and always seek medical attention when you are experiencing problems.