Essential oils carry a concentrated form of the physical properties of plants and flowers. In other words, these oils are the essence of the plant, thus providing therapeutic properties even if used in small amounts.
They are typically used in aromatherapy, added in bathwater, for massage, burned in a diffuser, or used in a compress. Most of them have powerful antibacterial qualities as well as have different emotional and physical effects depending on the oil, like pain relief, relaxation, stimulation, and healing.
People have used essential oils for centuries, as they were aware of their potential to destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as to treat infections, skin conditions and more.
Plus, essential oils kill bacteria without causing any side- effects, unlike antibiotics.
The report by the World Health Organization showed that years of excessive and often careless antibiotic abuse, as well as the use of antibiotics in animals raised for meat and milk, have caused one of the most serious health problems around the globe.
On the other hand, these are the 8 best antibacterial essential oils you can use:
- Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil may be one of the strongest antibacterial essential oils of all, according to research. In a 2006 study conducted out of Loyola College’s Entomology Research Institute in Chennai, India, it was tested against some bacteria, including:
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Escherichia coli
- Bacillus subtilis
- Pseudomonas aeruginosin
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
Cinnamon essential oil came out on top as the most powerful over other antibacterial oils like clove, Rosemary, Geranium, lime, orange, and lemon.
Research published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice was conducted on the effectiveness of cinnamon oil against “planktonic E. faecalis” in a root canal procedure, and the results were striking.
They revealed that the oil was able to eliminate bacterial growth after seven and 14 days of the procedure, concluding that it’s an effective antibacterial agent against planktonic and biofilm E. faecalis and can be an outstanding agent for use in root canal treatments.
Make a homemade toothpaste with cinnamon essential oil to fight bacteria in the mouth, or use a ready-made cinnamon toothpaste – such as this one.
Use cinnamon oil in a diffuser to purify the air and kill off airborne bacteria. It’s especially effective when used with other antibacterial agents like tea tree, eucalyptus or clove oil, killing nearly 99% of airborne bacteria in just minutes.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. You can apply it directly to the skin, and it treats acne, warts, psoriasis, and eczema.
It is also called melaleuca oil, as it comes from the leaves of the tea tree, or Melaleuca plant, native to Australia. The Aboriginals have used it for hundreds of years as a natural antiseptic by crushing the leaves of the tea tree and applying them to burns, cuts, and infections.
It became famous in the 1920s when chemist Arthur Penfold published a series of papers on its antiseptic properties. From then onwards, numerous studies have confirmed its healing properties.
A 2004 scientific review analyzed its ability to destroy bacteria and found that it may be used as an adjunctive treatment for wounds, and can treat severe infections such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Another 2013 study replicated the effects of this oil on humans who had wounds infected with the superbug Staphylococcus aureus and found that tea tree oil greatly accelerated the healing time compared to those who were treated conventionally.
In the case of head and chest congestion, a stuffed up nose, or other cold and flu symptoms, you can use it in a diffuser or a nebulizer to alleviate them.
To destroy bacteria, you can try steam inhalation, by adding a few drops to a pot of steaming hot water, cover your head with a towel and then breathe in the vapors for about 5 minutes. Also, to treat toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, apply it directly to the affected areas.
- Bergamot Essential Oil
The pleasant scent of the bergamot essential oil is extremely beneficial. This oil has potent antibacterial properties and effectively eliminates intestinal worms. It has the ability to soothe muscle tension, treat headaches, and heal scars.
Moreover, bergamot essential oil fights infections such as endocarditis, meningitis, and potentially urinary tract infections, treats mouth ulcers, sore throat, herpes, and acne.
You should rub it diluted in some carrier oil onto the throat and abdominal area to treat a urinary tract infection. You can also add several drops to your diffuser as well.
- Grapefruit Essential Oil
The strong antibiotic properties of the oil have been found to help in the treatment of many infections. In addition, the University of Texas carried out a study showing that grapefruit extract offers excellent antibacterial properties that can be compared to that of some scientifically-proven topical antibacterial agents.
Additionally, in 2011, the International Journal of Food Science & Technology published a study that showed the grapefruit essential oil may kill off various strains of bacteria, including Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella Typhimurium, Proteus Vulgaris, Escherichia coli, and Serratia marcescens.
Moreover, the oil has also antimicrobial properties that can help prevent and heal cut and wound infections. It can also help kill off microbes in gut as well as kidneys. Grapefruit essential oil can also improve endocrine function, and stimulate gastric juice and bile production, thus supporting digestive health. Also, the oil has stimulating effects, which can improve mental alertness.
You can get rid of headaches, mental fatigue, depression and detoxify your lymphatic system by inhaling the vapors of grapefruit essential oil.
- Oregano Essential Oil
Many people add oregano to various dishes, but a few are aware of the fact that also offers excellent therapeutic antibiotic effects.
Initially, the ancient Greeks recognized its antibacterial and disinfecting properties and used it to treat wounds and bacterial infections on the skin.
This essential oil has potent bacteria-killing, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving abilities and controls staph infections.
A 2001 Georgetown University study, published in Science Daily, showed that its germ-killing properties are almost as effective as most antibiotics, especially in the case of foot and nail fungus.
All you need to do is to pour a few drops of oregano essential oil in a small tub of water and soak the feet in the solution, or dilute a drop in a carrier oil and apply it on the affected areas.
It is also beneficial in the case of sinus infections. You should pour a few drops of oregano essential oil into steaming water and inhale the steam. This will kill bacteria, and also reduce their ability to produce dangerous toxins.
- Clove Essential Oil
One of the most well-known uses of clove essential oil is for treating a toothache. In fact, people have been using it to treat this painful problem for hundreds of years. Its use as a toothache cure was first documented in 1640, though it’s likely to have been applied for more than 2,000 years as part of homeopathic treatments.
Because it contains a high level of eugenol, this oil has been proven to be especially versatile and has been thoroughly researched as an effective alternative to many modern medical treatments.
In a test of 21 essential oils that went up against bacteria like E. coli, it came out second only to cinnamon, as the very best inhibitors.
To use it for tooth pain, add one drop of clove essential oil onto a cotton ball and press it onto the affected area for up to 15 minutes. You can also use it topically to treat skin conditions like acne and warts or inhale it to help ease respiratory problems like a cold, cough or asthma.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
Studies have found that this oil is one of the most powerful antibacterial essential oils. It is often included in antibacterial cleansers due to its properties.
Due to its citral and limonene content, it fights bacteria growth both externally and internally and effectively treats body odor, bacterial infections, skin conditions, and even food poisoning.
You can mix it with some carrier oil and use it as a natural cleanser and skin toner, as it has strong antiseptic and astringent properties.
You can also rub it into the scalp to relieve the pain of a headache, or on the body to soothe muscle pain. Rub it onto the feet to fight fungal growth or treat athlete’s foot. Plus, it relieves cramps, treats muscle spasms and backache, and boosts blood circulation.
- Thyme Essential Oil
This essential oil has potent calming, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and antiseptic qualities. Researchers at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Food Science and Technology estimated its effects against bacteria in milk and salmonella.
The findings were published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology and showed that “nanoemulsions” might be an ideal treatment for protecting the body from harmful bacteria by using it as an antimicrobial preservative for food.
Thyme oil can help you detoxify the body, treat illnesses, common colds, flu, drain congestion and cure an infection, and prevent upper respiratory conditions. Thyme is also effective in relieving gout, fatigue, arthritis, wounds, menstrual, pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms.
Research conducted at the Babol University of Medical Sciences in Iran confirmed the ability of thyme to soothe the pain of menstrual cramps better than ibuprofen. You can either add a few drops into the diffuser or pour it into steaming hot water and inhale.
Choosing High-Quality Essential Oils
Keep in mind that all essential oils are not created equal. So, you can get the maximum therapeutic benefits of a high-quality essential oil by purchasing organic, therapeutic grade oils produced by environmentally conscious growers, such as Starwest Botanicals.