MRSA (Staph Infection) and Essential Oils

I am often asked which 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 for certain types of unwanted things. 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 higher quality single essential oils, and 64 blends were tested for their inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in 2008.

Of the 91 single essential oils 78 exhibited zones of inhibition against MRSA.

Of the 64 blends 52 exhibited inhibitory activity against MRSA.MRSA_Staphylococcus_aureus_

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[1] 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.[2]

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 essential oils have antimicrobial activity.[7] 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 essential oils in treating MRSA nasal carriage or MRSA infections. Specifically, Dryden et al.[15] and Caelli et al.[16] 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 a lab have shown inhibition of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other pathogens by these various higher quality essential oils, but these oils were not tested specifically against MRSA.[7, 22, 23] This study was initiated to screen Young Living 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 91 higher quality 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 these single essential oils tested, lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mountain savory, cinnamon bark and melissa showed the highest levels of inhibition.

Remarkably, the higher quality essential oil of lemongrass (60 mm) completely inhibited all MRSA growth on the plate.

Significant zones of inhibition (45-57 mm) were found for these higher quality essential oils: thyme, cumin, Eucalyptus citriodora, tsuga, oregano, Melaleuca arternifolia.

Intermediate inhibition zones (35-42 mm) were detected for the singles of: ledum, Eucalyptus dives, niaouli, manuka, peppermint, elemi, and rosewood.

Results of the Blends

Of the 64 higher quality blends tested, 52 showed zones of inhibition, while 12 showed no detectable inhibitory activity against MRSA.

Of the blends, the blend called R.C. scored the best (>83 mm), with the blends Motivation second, Longevity third.

My Opinion

It was noted that the single essential oils that showed little or no detectable zone of inhibition but when combined with other singles could 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 oils acting independently. Likewise, the data for the other two blends, R.C. and Longevity, imply synergism of the combined single oils in the blends.

What I like to do to ‘Prevent’ 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…

I took a bottle of my Thieves Waterless Hand Sanitizer and added to the 1 oz. bottle 7 drops of Lemongrass essential oil, and shook it up good.

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. I am not making any claims here, simply stating what I personally think might help keep me well. Since what I do has not been studied I have no proof that it actually does work in my favor. Still, I continue to do the things I think could help.

What I would do if I were in a Nursing Home or a stay in a Hospital

I would bring my TheraPro Diffuser, a bottle of R.C. and a bottle of Lemongrass – and – my Thieves Waterless 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 frequently 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:

As I said, using common sense and practicing smart behavior can help prevent acquiring MRSA.


Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils Department of Microbiology, Weber State University, Ogden, UT, USA Flavour and Fragrance Journal (Impact Factor: 1.82). 10/2008; 23(6):444 – 449. DOI: 10.1002/ffj.1904

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRSA in Healthcare Settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Atlanta GA, 2008

2. [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 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 nor is it intended to prevent any disease or illness – it is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been approved by the FDA and are my expression of free speech. Please do the related research to discover what is right for you and always seek medical attention when you are experiencing problems.

Can the Common Fly Spread Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria?

Apparently “YES!” A study published in January 2009 took a look at chickens being fed antibiotic feed (which is typical) and looked at the common fly and found that they were in fact carrying antibiotic (drug resistant) enterococci and staphylococci. Here are the results of the Johns Hopkins funded study…

Antibiotic resistant enterococci and staphylococci isolated from flies collected near confined poultry feeding operations.

Sci Total Environ. 2009 Jan 19;
Graham JP, Price LB, Evans SL, Graczyk TK, Silbergeld EK

Use of antibiotics as feed additives in poultry production has been linked to the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in farm workers, consumer poultry products and the environs of confined poultry operations. There are concerns that these resistant bacteria may be transferred to communities near these operations; however, environmental pathways of exposure are not well documented. We assessed the prevalence of antibiotic resistant enterococci and staphylococci in stored poultry litter and flies collected near broiler chicken houses. Drug resistant enterococci and staphylococci were isolated from flies caught near confined poultry feeding operations in the summer of 2006. Susceptibility testing was conducted on isolates using antibiotics selected on the basis of their importance to human medicine and use in poultry production. Resistant isolates were then screened for genetic determinants of antibiotic resistance. A total of 142 enterococcal isolates and 144 staphylococcal isolates from both fly and poultry litter samples were identified. Resistance genes erm(B), erm(A), msr(C), msr(A/B) and mobile genetic elements associated with the conjugative transposon Tn916, were found in isolates recovered from both poultry litter and flies. Erm(B) was the most common resistance gene in enterococci, while erm(A) was the most common in staphylococci. We report that flies collected near broiler poultry operations may be involved in the spread of drug resistant bacteria from these operations and may increase the potential for human exposure to drug resistant bacteria.

When I read studies like this it makes me wonder… what criteria they’re using to determine that humankind is the most intelligent species on earth!?

I mean just look at how ‘smart’ these bacteria actually are

I can’t think of any other species on earth who would do, or even ‘want’ the capabilities that we have to produce some of the most appalling conditions, not only for the foods we eat but for ourselves. 

It’s times like this that I am soooo glad that I’ve been a proponent for 30+ years of REAL organic crops that aren’t Genetically Modified (GM), REAL free-range animals out there eating grass and insects, and that I know how to use therapeutic grade essential oils. 

True, on the superficial level, it may look like we’ve made huge advancements on feeding our species and in our health care… however, I have a suspicion that it’s going to come back to bite us in the ass with a vengeance.

Disinfectants, Biocides and what ‘WE’ can do to STOP Superbugs, Staph Infections and MRSA

Quite simply, how did we get into a MRSA mess? We over-used: antibiotics, antibacterial soaps and antibacterial cleaners, and lack of cleanliness in health care facilities.

Now that we ARE in a pickle, what were our mistakes and what can we do to remedy the situation?

What MRSA looks like on the skin

What MRSA looks like on the skin

When common disinfectants are used in low levels (this is NOT suggesting you should use these health-threatening disinfectants in higher amounts!), researchers found that they actually make certain bacteria stronger and resistant to antibiotic treatment, i.e., MRSA and hospital acquired staph infections. This is true in hospital settings, and certainly applies to the low-level disinfectants many use around their homes.

Researchers exposed Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) taken from the blood of patients to low concentrations of several biocides, which resulted in the appearance of resistant mutants.

If bacteria that live in protected environments are exposed to biocides repeatedly, for example during cleaning (such as in hospitals, nursing homes, gyms, etc.), they can build up resistance to disinfectants and antibiotics. Such bacteria have been shown to contribute to hospital-acquired staph infections, MRSA, and “Community Acquired MRSA”. Continue reading

Copper Surfaces Kill Germs, Viruses and MRSA

With all our technology and the ease we have in communication today I don’t understand why things like this are not known by everybody, we had what, more than 4,000 years to spread the word…

Over 4,000 years ago, the Egyptians used copper to sterilize wounds and drinking water, and the Aztecs treated skin conditions with the metal.

The ancient Greeks also knew of coppers benefits. Hippocrates, sometimes called ‘the father of medicine’, noted that it could be used to treat leg ulcers.

Today, copper is a common constituent in medicines including antiseptic and antifungal creams. Copper is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Many of those with arthritis wear copper bangles. Continue reading

Patchouli, Tea Tree, Geranium, Lavender Essential Oils & Grapefruit Seed Extract Study on MRSA / Staph

1: Burns. 2004 Dec;30(8):772-7.

The effect of essential oils on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a dressing model.

Edwards-Jones V, Buck R, Shawcross SG, Dawson MM, Dunn K.

Department of Biological Sciences, the Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester, M15GD, UK.

Patchouli, tea tree, geranium, lavender essential oils and Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) were used singly and in combination to assess their anti-bacterial activity against three strains of Staphylococcus aureus: Oxford S. aureus NCTC 6571 (Oxford strain), Epidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus (EMRSA 15) and MRSA (untypable). The individual essential oils, extracts and combinations were impregnated into filter paper discs and placed on the surface of agar plates, pre-seeded with the appropriate strain of Staphylococcus. The effects of the vapours of the oils and oil combinations were also assessed using impregnated filter paper discs that were placed on the underside of the Petri dish lid at a distance of 8mm from the bacteria. The most inhibitory combinations of oils for each strain were used in a dressing model constructed using a four layers of dressings: the primary layer consisted of either Jelonet or TelfaClear with or without Flamazine; the second was a layer of gauze, the third a layer of Gamgee and the final layer was Crepe bandage. The oil combinations were placed in either the gauze or the Gamgee layer. This four-layered dressing was placed over the seeded agar plate, incubated for 24h at 37 degrees C and the zones of inhibition measured. All experiments were repeated on three separate occasions. No anti-bacterial effects were observed when Flamazine was smeared on the gauze in the dressing model. When Telfaclear was used as the primary layer in the dressing model compared to Jelonet, greater zones of inhibition were observed. A combination of Citricidal and geranium oil showed the greatest-anti-bacterial effects against MRSA, whilst a combination of geranium and tea tree oil was most active against the methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (Oxford strain). This study demonstrates the potential of essential oils and essential oil vapours as antibacterial agents and for use in the treatment of MRSA infection.

Do not expect to get these types of results with the poor quality essential oils that flood the marketplace. Due to improper handling and/or processing they are nothing more than novelty aromatherapy products.

Get high quality essential oils here from a source you can trust!

Superbugs, Staph, Bacteria and Viruses – the scientific community and essential oils

Thieves essential oilScience is now beginning to acknowledge the value of the healing substances found in high quality therapeutic grade essential oils. Clinical research has shown that essential oils are highly anti-viral and anti-infectious. In 1995, Dr. Jean C. Lapraz discovered that there are two essential oils in which no bacteria or virus could survive. This is a significant breakthrough since today there are so many life threatening viruses and drug resistant bacteria. A recent study done at Weber University has proven that four essential oils will kill 100% of the bacteria and virus in any room where they are diffused.

Doctors once predicted antibiotics would vanquish infectious diseases. But the bugs are rapidly overwhelming today’s medicines. Bacteria naturally evolve (and communicate between species) to resist antibiotics, a process first spotted just five years after penicillin’s debut in the 1940s. But resistance appears to have sped up in the last decade, largely because antibiotics are being overused giving the germs more chances to mutate.

Dr. Valnet points out that pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria do not become resistant to essential oils as they do to modern-day synthetic antibiotic drugs.

Dr. Valnet states, “Infectious microbes do not appear to become accustomed to the essential oils as they do to the many forms of treatment using antibiotics.”
Continue reading

Lemongrass Essential Oil – powerful!

Lemongrass-Oil-4Young Living Lemongrass essential oil has a light, citrus aroma and is distilled from the long slender, grass like leaves. It is said that lemongrass helps rejuvenate the mind and has been found to improve mental clarity. It has also been the subject of research published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal, where it was found to have powerful properties when applied topically to the skin, namely its anti-fungal action.

The Essential Oils Desk Reference states lemongrass is antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, regenerates connective tissues and ligaments, dilates blood vessels, improves circulation and promotes lymph flow.*

Lemongrass is being used by many with connective tissue problems ranging from torn rotator cuffs, to slap tears, injury to muscles, ligaments and tendons, used as a natural blood thinner, for sinus and respiratory complaints, bladder infections, varicose veins, Salmonella, digestive problems and fluid retention.*

Recently the country of Israel published a report showing lemongrass effective against cancer cells.
Continue reading