Aromatherapy oils could kill MRSA

Essential oils could kill the deadly MRSA hospital ’superbug’, according to scientists at Brighton University.

Researchers tested essential oils derived from thyme plants normally used in aromatherapy and found it destroyed MRSA within two hours.

The Brighton study was triggered when Maggie Tisserand, director of the Sussex-based company Benchmark Oils, asked university researchers to conduct laboratory research with a small selection of oils.

She was convinced that a specific blend of essential oils could be the answer to the growing MRSA problem, which not only affects people in hospital but also those in the wider community.

The Brighton study concluded that Benchmark Thyme rapidly killed MRSA. Tisserand said: ’What is interesting is that the thyme oil we use is food grade and, in preliminary company trials, shows no adverse effects on intact skin.’

The MRSA bacteria is often carried on the skin or in the nostrils of healthy people but, when a carrier enters hospital for an operation or any procedure that punctures the skin, bacteria can enter the body causing serious medical problems and each year up to 5,000 people die as a result.

The research was carried out by a team of microbiologists led by Prof Geoff Hanlon. Benchmark Oils is now looking for partners in order to take the research further.