News / Health

Study: Plant Oils Highly Effective Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Researchers say oils distilled from plants are highly effective against drug-resistant bacterial infections and could prove to be an inexpensive way to combat super-bugs found in hospital settings.

For hundreds of years, different cultures have used so-called essential oils from plants to treat a variety of illnesses from arthritis to skin infections and sore throats.

Now, researchers at the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands in Greece have found that plant oils are a powerful weapon against multi-drug-resistant staphylococcus aureas or MRSA, a bacterium that causes hospital-acquired infections and is dangerous because it frequently does not respond to a range of antibiotics.

Effemia Eriotou is a professor at the Institute in charge of the research project involving plant oils to treat multi-drug-resistant staphylococcus aureas. "We didn't know that essential oils were going to have that a great anti-microbial activity.  And it's really amazing that they are killing all these bacteria and yeasts as well," Eriotou said.

In laboratory experiments, the research group tested a variety of essential oils from eight plants, including thyme, basil, peppermint and cinnamon. Eriotou says they all had some anti-bacterial activity, but essential oil from thyme - a spice frequently used in Mediterranean cooking - killed almost all of the bacterium in a petri dish within an hour.  Almost as effective was cinnamon oil.

Eriotou says researchers tested essential oils against drug-resistant staph after seeing what happens when the spices are added to foods. "They do not have any bacterial growth in those cheese[s], whereas when we tested different cheese types in the lab, we did have bacteria.  When we have those plants in there, we see no harmful bacteria.  And that's how we got started with this whole work," Eriotou said.

Eriotou says scientists don't know why essential oils, particularly oil from thyme, are so effective against drug- resistant staph.  It's possible, according to Eriotou, that the oils are made by plants to protect them from disease.

Eriotou doesn't think the oils in concentrated forms are dangerous to humans, but that's something they want to figure out.

The research on essential oils was presented this week at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid