Oregano oil is 64 Times More Potent than Alcohol for Killing Bacteria
C. Ingram, D.O.
April 26, 2020
In the battle against vicious germs the government issues all manner of recommendations. One of them regards sanitizers. For washing or decontaminating hands it is recommended that a person use a 60% alcohol solution. This is the ‘proven’ amount for killing germs. Even so, everyone know that constantly dousing the hands with such a harsh solution will cause tissue damage.
There is an alternative. These are the spicy essential oils. In a mere 1% solution oregano oil equals or exceeds this. Plus, if in a proper base, it would be free of side effects such as dying of the skin and damaging of membranes.
According to an article published in Pathogens it is the specialized oregano phenolic compound, carvacrol, which is largely responsible. Alcohol is the standard on all bacteria. Oregano oil is infinitely more powerful than this synthetic derivative. One percent versus sixty percent to get the same results, that is an enormous difference. Even to break bacteria apart, or viruses, known as a bactericidal and/or viricidal effect, only a minimum amount of oregano compared to alcohol is required, again, about a one to sixty comparison.
This is known as the minimum inhibitory concentration or MIC. For the hard-core killing action this is the minimum bactericidal concentration.
The oregano oil mechanism of action against bacteria was determined. It was a multiplicity of powers, including the following:
- permeating and, thus, depolarizing the bacterial cell membrane
- inhibition of and destruction of the protective bacterial bioflim
- reduction in motility components, known as fimbriae, or those parts of the bacteria that allow them to swarm; oregano oil destroyed these
- reduction of the ability of bacteria to move about to infect tissues
- reduction of inflammation associated with the infection
- blockade of microbial toxin production
- destruction of bacterial cell walls
Clearly, bacteria don’t stand a chance against this oil. In particular, as proven by A., La Stria’s findings under atomic force microscopy when a bacterial cell is exposed to carvacrol its cell membrane is grossly altered. It is like a biological missile strike against it. Once the membrane is compromised, the bacteria simply dies. Yet, unlike medical antibiotics, oregano oil is not toxic to human cells. Nor does it, like antibiotics, significantly disturb the healthy bacteria.
Other essential oils with similar actions include oils of lavender, sage, bay leaf, and lemongrass. Lemongrass was found to be active against nearly all bacteria, also in a minimal dosage. The research was so compelling that it was suggested that use of lemongrass oil would be helpful in the treatment of infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms.
Oil of wild bay leaf was also found to be highly germicidal. In a study by Algerian investigators the oil was found to be active against eight different pathogens, including the notoriously difficult to kill pseudomonas. A combination of these oils in a waterless soap is ideal. While not claiming to be a sanitizer–that requires EPA approval–it is described as an essential oil-based natural cleansing agent. Combinations can also be used, especially those with sufficient oregano oil, ideally, along with bay leaf, as a natural cleansing spray, both for air and surfaces.
In low doses essential oils are potent. They can certain be used as a wholly natural alternative to synthetics. Unlike chemical-based formulas the scent, based upon plant-derived essential oils, is uplifting.
In contrast, there is that doctor’s office odor of the typical synthetic formula. Here is a list of the typical ingredients: ethyl alcohol 65%, inactive ingredients: water, isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, carbomer, fragrance, aminomethyl propanol, propylene glycol, isopropyl myristate, tocopheryl acetate. Why apply anything to the skin with all such chemicals when a clean essential oil-based formula can instead be used?
In contrast to true essential oil-based formulas the fragrance is synthetic. There is also the risk of children drinking such sanitizers and becoming poisoned. So, uplift and vitalize the environment. Use only essential oil-based hand, face, body, and more cleansers. Meanwhile, remove all sanitizers from the home that could prove poisonous, especially in the hands of children.
Man, A., Santacroe, L., Jacob, R. Mare, A., and L. Man. 2019. Antimicrobial Activity of Six Essential Oils Against a Group of Human Pathogens: A Comparative Study. Pathogens. 2019 Mar; 8(1): 15. Published online 2019 Jan 28. doi: 10.3390/pathogens8010015
La Stria, A., et al. 2010. Atomic force microscopy analysis shows surface structure changes in carvacrol-treated bacterial cells. Res Microbiol. December.