Since MRSA is so resistant to regular antibiotics, some people are looking to alternative remedies for a cure. One of these is tea tree oil. Here is a look at tea tree oil and how it can help patients with MRSA.
What is Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil was originally used in Australia by the aboriginal people. For thousands of years, these people would crush the leaves and make a mudpack to use as an antiseptic and antifungal.
The plant got the name “tea tree” in the late 1700s when Captain James Cook and his crew first used the leaves for tea and later for beer. However, the medicinal qualities of the plant remained unexplored until the 1920s.
In the 1920s, Dr. Arthur Penfold started researching the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil, and published an article with F.R. Morrison in 1929 regarding the economic benefits of tea trees.
This set of years of research on the plant, and tea tree oil even became an ingredient in World War II first aid kits for Australian soldiers. However, after the war, more doctors started to use antibiotics to cure infections, and tea tree oil lost some of its appeal.
In the 1960s, tea tree oil started becoming popular again, and research on it renewed around the world. Tea trees are now also grown in the state of California.
The health properties of tea trees come from the oils that are found in its leaves. Today, the oil is steam distilled, and then further tested for chemical properties. These properties can range anywhere from 50 to 100 in number, which partially explains why tea tree oil can be used for so many purposes.
There are several uses for tea tree oil; however, the most promising use for MRSA patients is that as an antibacterial. MRSA is resistant to many of the common antibiotics, making it difficult to treat.
It can cause infections in people who have wounds from injuries, surgeries, or burns and anyone with a weakened immune system. Often, the only antibiotic that can treat MRSA is Vancomycin, and some strains are resistant even to that.
The East London University did a study comparing Vancomycin with tea tree oil, and surprisingly tea tree oil came up as a powerful alternative. Since MRSA is most often transmitted through skin to skin contact, such as a nurse working with an infected patient and then infecting a second patient, the use of tea tree oil in hand and body soaps was particularly effective.
Tea tree oil can also be inhaled, working as an expectorant. This can help to clear up throat and chest infections. Inhaling hot water with tea tree oil added can help to stop the infection of MRSA and other bacteria before they spread to the other parts of the body.
Only your doctor can positively identify if you have been infected with MRSA or not. Always consult your doctor before starting any alternative treatment to your current medications, and do not stop taking a course of antibiotics without prior consent from your physician.