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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, [...]

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 approach toward mitigating symptoms 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 reduction of mycoses. 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.*

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