Sue Chao, director of Young Living’s Quality Control Laboratory, has been working with Gary Young for more than a decade studying the chemical compositions of essential oils. I recently listened to her lecture about one of her latest experiments studying the effects of essential oils on methicillin-resistant staphylococcus, or MRSA.
MRSA is an infection caused by a bacteria often referred to as “staff.” Most MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. This general type of bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics and can be fatal to those with weakened immune symptoms.
Sue’s explained that there are many types of MRSA bacteria, and her study focused on Staphylococcus aureus. During her study, Sue grew these bacteria in dozens of Petri dishes. Once the bacteria were visible in the dish, Sue placed a few drops of oil on a piece of paper and placed the diffuser in the middle of the culture. Sue repeated this experiment with 91 single essential oils and 64 Young Living blends.
Of the 91 single essential oils, 78 killed the bacteria all at varying degrees. Sue said lemongrass, lemon myrtle, mountain savory, cinnamon, and melissa essential oils had the highest levels of inhibition. Of the 64 Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ blends that were tested, 52 proved effected against the bacteria with R.C.™, Motivation™, and Longevity™ having the highest level of inhibition.
With so many types of MRSA bacteria and so many means of essential oil delivery (taken orally, diffusion, topical, etc.), Sue was quick to mention that her research is only the beginning in discovering what effects essential oils have on MRSA. Sue also added that this research was conducted on a specific strand of MRSA in a controlled environment; the effects on other MRSA strains are not known.
Interested in reading more? Sue’s article on essential oils and MRSA is published in volume 23 of the Flavour and Fragrance Journal (2008, pages 444–449).
Product Manager, Essential Oils
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