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The Anti-Microbial Action of Clove and Rosemary Essential Oils Studied

In this study, the anti-microbial effects of clove and rosemary essential oils were studied. They were studied for their ability to eliminate 6 different types of bacteria. The efficacy of the oils against Staph skin infection bacteria, Candida albicans fungus, and E. Coli bacteria were tested – quite a lineup of well-known test subjects. The [...]

In this study, the anti-microbial effects of clove and rosemary essential oils were studied. They were studied for their ability to eliminate 6 different types of bacteria. The efficacy of the oils against Staph skin infection bacteria, Candida albicans fungus, and E. Coli bacteria were tested – quite a lineup of well-known test subjects.

The oils were tested both alone and together. Results indicate that clove is about twice as potent as rosemary essential oil for the studied effect, and that the two oils together worked better than either oil alone. This doesn’t mean in any way to not use rosemary alone – clove is a very potent oil, and can be irritating if used in anything more than minute concentrations. Rosemary essential oil does not have this effect.

Rosemary is often used for breathing conditions and works well in a diffuser. Clove is used commonly for internal infections, and can be safely consumed orally in small amounts. Here is the study:

Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination.

Fu Y, Zu Y, Chen L, Shi X, Wang Z, Sun S, Efferth T.
Key Laboratory of Forest Plant Ecology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, P. R. China.

In the present study, the antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from clove (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. et Perry) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) was tested alone and in combination. The compositions of the oils were analysed by GC/MS.

Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) against three Gram-positive bacteria, three Gram-negative bacteria and two fungi were determined for the essential oils and their mixtures. Furthermore, time-kill dynamic processes of clove and rosemary essential oils against Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans were tested.

Both essential oils possessed significant antimicrobial effects against all microorganisms tested. The MICs (MIC stands for ‘minimum inhibitory concentration’) of clove oil ranged from 0.062% to 0.500% (v/v), while the MICs of rosemary oil ranged from 0.125% to 1.000% (v/v). The antimicrobial activity of combinations of the two essential oils indicated their additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects against individual microorganism tests. The time-kill curves of clove and rosemary essential oils towards three strains showed clearly bactericidal and fungicidal processes of (1)/(2) x MIC, MIC, MBC (‘minimum bactericidal concentration’) and 2 x MIC.

Editor’s note: so these are clearly efficacious essential oils. While professional advice is needed to precisely devise a regimen for treatment of an illness, this study shows Rosemary and Clove essential oils to be potent anti-microbial agents. Other essential oils noted as potent microbials in laboratory testing (found in this blog) are Tea Tree and Oregano essential oils.

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