Blog: Oregano Oil Research Blog
by risingsun

Oregano Oil and MRSA

Oregano could help eradicate MRSA superbug

Date:   11/27/2008 7:35:13 AM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 4818 times

Oregano could help eradicate MRSA superbug
A natural oil found in oregano could help fight deadly hospital superbug MRSA, early research has indicated.

Last Updated: 7:51AM GMT 25 Nov 2008

Scientists have discovered that the herb, commonly used in cooking, could eradicate the deadly infection from hospital wards.

A team at the University of the West of England in Bristol, working with partners in India, found that tiny quantities of carvacrol, a naturally occurring compound in oregano, is a more effective antimicrobial agent than 18 pharmaceutical drugs it was compared against.

The discovery could lead to a new defence in the fight against hospital infection.

Carvacrol has been found to contain potent anti-fungal and antibacterial properties with a range of medicinal uses.

It can sterilise septic water, kill giardia, treat fungal infections such as candida and rivals pharmaceutical antibiotics such as streptomycin and penicillin in its ability to eliminate microbes.

Research into the medicinal properties of oregano has been led by Biolaya Organics, a company that specialises in the conservation and sustainable production of Himalayan medicinal herbs.

Set up by British environmentalist Ben Heron in 2007, the award-winning company works with villagers to encourage sustainable methods of farming in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Oregano grows in abundance in the region's high alpine valleys.

Biolaya is now working to publish its research in a scientific journal and find partners to develop oregano oil-based soaps and sprays.

Preliminary research into the oil found that tiny doses are capable of wiping out fungi and bacteria, including MRSA. Researchers found that the oil still works at boiling temperature, meaning it could be used for disinfecting hospital sheets. Its vapour is equally effective and could be turned into an antibacterial spray.

Mr Heron said: "Himalayan oregano oil kills MRSA at dilution's of less than 1 to 1000 and the antimicrobial properties, unlike most conventional antibacterial agents, are not affected by heat treatment.

"Once we have completed our research and published a paper, we aim to find additional partners to work together with to manufacture hand soaps, multi-purpose antibacterial wipes and other products for use in hospitals as a preventative against MRSA."

The University of the West of England has integrated research into oregano oil as part of a pilot MSc project.

It had previously been discovered that oregano had the ability to kill off bacteria, but researchers have now proved the Himalayan variety could be slightly more effective than the Mediterranean type used more commonly in Europe.

Project leader and professor of microbiology, Vyv Salisbury said this could be a result of the herb growing at high altitude in the Himalayas.

"Preliminary tests show that oregano oil is very effective against MRSA in really quite low doses," said Professor Salisbury. "A small amount will kill MRSA and also the vapour will kill the bacteria.

"It could be that in hospitals there are places which are difficult to reach and perhaps the oregano could be used to get rid of MRSA where there are nooks and crannies.

"When we heat it up to boiling point it is still effective, which is quite useful because some agents are destroyed when they are heated up.

"If you wanted to put something through the wash an oregano oil-based product would continue to be effective against MRSA. This is exciting as it also means that we could consider using the oil to develop disinfectant washing powders."

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