Essential oils are a highly concentrated form of aromatic compounds extracted from a medicinal plant or produced during the extraction process. These compounds are the "essence" of the plant as they make up its unique fragrance. They are highly volatile and are naturally synthetised by the plant during the secondary metabolism to protect the plant against harmful microorganisms and insects. As such, essential oils have a range of biological properties such as antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiseptic.
Are all essential oils antibacterial
Each essential oil is made up of a complex combination of chemical constituents. Most essential oils contain between 20 and 60 different natural compounds making their unique aroma and identity. Usually only 2 of 3 of these chemical constituents are present in a high concentration with the remaining constituents only found in a trace amount. Research has found many of the chemical constituents present in essential oils to be effective against a variety of pathogens. Thus, the antiviral and antibacterial properties of essential oils can be determined by the type of chemical constituents present in the essential oil.
The chemical constituents of essential oils vary according to the plant species, geographic location, growth stage of the plant and the extraction method. The concentration of each chemical compound found in a particular essential oil is determined using GC/MS testing (Gas-Chromatography mass spectrometry). The results are shown in a graph where the concentration of each compound is measured.
Antibacterial effects of essential oils
Research has shown that the chemical compounds present in essential oils may be able to disrupt the cell membrane of some types of pathogens by increasing membrane permeability, inducing leakage and interrupting the cellular metabolism. The antimicrobial effect of most essential oils was correlated to the occurrence of the major compounds such as carvacrol, thymol, cinnamic aldehyde, menthol, eugenol, linalyl acetate and p-cymene. The best way to benefit from the antiviral and antibacterial properties of essential oils is by diffusing them to purify the air, add them to cleaning products or apply them topically under the guidance of your Aromatherapist to help fight off infections. Research has proven many essential oils to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains.
Which essential oils are antibacterial and antifungal
The essential oils of Cinnamon, Clove, Thyme, Oregano, and Rosemary have been shown to possess strong antibacterial activity against some common types of bacteria strains such as Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Other essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Myrtle and Lemongrass have been shown effective against a range of pathogens. Essential oils of Basil, Fennel, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme have been shown to be effective against a variety of fungal infections.