Infections of the Genitourinary System

Yeast Infection No More

Candida Albicans Treatment at Home

Get Instant Access

Although Humphrey (1930) suggested the suitability of tea tree oil for treatment of vaginal infections, the first report in the literature of its effectiveness in treating such infections is that of Pena (1962). He reported clinical cure following treatment of 130 cases of vaginal infections, due mostly to Trichomonas (116 cases) and Candida albicans (4 cases). The treatment regime involved douching with a 0.4% solution of Melaleuca alternifolia oil and insertion of tampons saturated with a 20-40% solution of the oil. This treatment was reported to be as effective as use of standard antitrichomonal suppositories, and without side-effects of irritation and burning.

Twenty-eight chronic cases of vaginal infection caused by Candida albicans were treated by nightly insertion of a pessary containing 20mg of tea tree oil for a period of three months (Belaiche 1985b). Infection and symptoms were alleviated in 21 cases, with an improvement in symptoms, but persistence of the yeast, in a further three cases. The author also comments that the preparation was well tolerated by all but one of the participants who withdrew from the study early in the first week. Barnes (1990) also reports the alleviation of symptoms of vaginal irritation and burning in a number of women following treatment with a tea tree cream and/or douche. The women in this report all had chronic conditions which had not responded to conventional treatments. Once again, the evidence which suggests that tea tree oil is useful both for its antimicrobial activity and its soothing and pain-relieving effects, is anecdotal, and appropriately designed and controlled clinical trials are needed to establish a sound basis for the marketing of therapeutically useful vaginal products.

AGRICULTURAL APPLICATIONS OF TEA TREE OIL

The role of essential oils within the plants producing them, is primarily one of defence of the plant from attack by other organisms. It is possible that tea tree oil will find many marketable applications in agriculture through exploitation and expansion of this natural function. Essential oils would have the advantage over synthetic chemicals, such as those currently used to control post-harvest pathogens, of being more acceptable both environmentally and to the consumer. Potential applications include control agents of plant pathogens, insect repellants and antifeedants and insecticides. Terpinen-4-ol, the major ingredient of tea tree oil, has been shown to be very active as a repellant of the yellow-fever mosquito, Aedes aegyptii (Hwang et al. 1985). Bishop and Thornton (1997) demonstrated the ability of tea tree oil to inhibit hyphal growth of fifteen common fungal post-harvest pathogens. Whilst direct contact was more effective, the oil also demonstrated significant antifungal activity in the vapour phase, a characteristic which suggests the possibility of its use as a fumigant for stored crops.

There are very few reports of field trials testing the efficacy of tea tree oil in the control of fungal or viral pathogens of economically important crops. A 1% aqueous solution of tea tree oil was reported to control powdery mildew of greenhouse-grown cucurbits caused by the fungus Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Olsen et al. 1988). In another study, it was reported that Nicotiana glutinosa plants sprayed with 100, 250 and 500 ppm of tea tree oil in distilled water prior to inoculation with the Tobacco Mosaic Virus showed significantly fewer lesions than control plants for 10 days following inoculation (Bishop 1995). Neither of these studies distinguish between microbial inactivation and inhibition of infection through changes to the host plant, and, hence, conclusions cannot be drawn about the mechanism of action. However, these studies indicate the potential of tea tree oil in the treatment of a variety of plant diseases.

OTHER APPLICATIONS OF TEA TREE OIL

The range of possibilities for products containing tea tree oil as an active ingredient is vast. The uses reported in the literature are as diverse as its use as an additive in an aerosol system used for cleansing of air conditioning systems (Ryan 1990), its potential for addition to laundry detergents as an acaricidal agent to destroy mites in bedding and clothing (McDonald and Tovey 1993) and its use in burn preparations for its properties of soothing the damaged tissue, rapid healing, prevention of infection and pain relief (Price 1989).

The literature indicates an interest in the role of plant volatile oils as antioxidants (Deans and Waterman 1993). Essential oils have been shown to act as hepatoprotective agents in aging mammals and to have a positive effect upon docohexanoic acid levels in aging rodent retinas. In a recent study, essential oils of geranium, monarda, nutmeg, oregano and thyme, which contain a number of monoterpenes also present in tea tree oil, demonstrated extensive antioxidant capacities at final concentrations of 0.75 ppm to 100ppm (Dorman et al. 1995). Once the active ingredients in the oils have been elucidated, the potential of tea tree oil as an antioxidant can be assessed.

CONCLUSION

Tea tree oil has a well-established reputation, supported by laboratory data, as an effective, well-tolerated, broad spectrum antimicrobial which possesses a number of advantages over its synthetic counterparts. Results of a limited number of clinical trials have been promising, but further clinical testing, both of standard oils of known chemical composition and of formulated products, is required to enable tea tree oil to broaden its acceptance in the marketplace. Although its antimicrobial activity is well established, little is understood about the way in which it acts on microbial cells. A more rational approach to breeding programs and to the incorporation of tea tree oil in formulated products will be possible once the mode of action of tea tree oil against a range of microbial cell types is elucidated.

REFERENCES

Aboutabl, E.A., Sokkar, N.M., Megid, R.M.A., De Pooter, H.L. and Masoud, H. (1995) Composition and antimicrobial activity of Otostegia fruticosa Forssk. oil. J. Essent. Oil Res., 7, 299-303. Allegrini, J., de Buochberg, M.S. and Maillols, H. (1973) Emulsions d'huiles essentielles fabrication et applications en microbiologie. Travaux de la Societe de Pharmacie de Montpellier, 33, 73-86. Altman, P.M. (1989) Australian tea tree oil—A natural antiseptic. Austral. J. Biotech., 3(4), 247-248. Altman, P.M. (1991) Australian tea tree oil. Cosmetics and Toiletries Manufacture, 12, 22-24. Atkinson, N. and Brice, H.E. (1955) Antibacterial substances produced by flowering plants. 2. The antibacterial action of essential oils from some Australian plants. Aust. J. Exptl. Biol., 33, 547-554. Bagci, E. and Digrak, M. (1996) Antimicrobial activity of essential oils of some Abies (fir) species from Turkey. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 11, 251-256.

Barnes, R. (1990) The "Vaginol" range of formulations containing tea tree oil. Proceedings of Conference—'The Clinical Significance of Tea Tree Oil and Other Essential Oils. Sydney, December, 1990, pp. 35-42.

Bassett, I.B., Pannowitz, D.L. and Barnetson, R.St-C. (1990) A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med. J. Aust., 153, 455-458.

Belaiche, P. (1985a) Traitement des infections vaginales a Candida albicans par l'huile essentielle de Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel). Phytotherapy, 15, 13-14.

Belaiche, P. (1985b) Traitement des infections cutanees par l'huile essentielle de Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel). Phytotherapy, 15, 15-17.

Beylier, M.F. (1979) Bacteriostatic activity of some Australian essential oils. Perfumer andFlavorist, 4, 23-25.

Biondi, D., Cianci, P., Geraci, C. and Ruberto, G. (1993) Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of essential oils from Sicilian aromatic plants. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 8, 331-337.

Bishop, C.D. (1995) Antiviral activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden & Betche) Cheel (Tea Tree) against tobacco mosaic virus. J. Essent. Oil Res., 7, 641-644.

Bishop, C.D. and Thornton, I.B. (1997) Evaluation of the antifungal activity of the essential oils of Monarda citriodora var. citriodora and Melaleuca alternifolia on post-harvest pathogens. J. Essent. Oil Res., 9, 77-82.

Brophy, J.J., Davies, N.W., Southwell, I.A., Stiff, I.A. and Williams, L.R. (1989) Gas chromatographic quality control for oil of Melaleuca terpinen-4-ol type (Australian tea tree). J. Agricultural and Food Chem., 37, 1330-1335.

Brown, J.T., Hegarty, P.K. and Charlwood, B.V. (1987) The toxicity of monoterpenes to plant cell cultures. Plant Science, 48, 195-201.

Buck, D.S., Nidorf, D.M. and Addino, J.G. (1994) Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole. The Journal of Family Practice, 38(6), 601-605.

Carson, C.F., Cookson, B.D., Farrelly, H.D. and Riley, T.V. (1995a) Susceptibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. J. Antimicrob. Chemo., 35, 421-424.

Carson, C.F., Hammer, K.A. and Riley, T.V. (1995b) Broth micro-dilution method for determining the susceptibility of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Microbios., 82, 81-185.

Carson, C.F., Hammer, K.A. and Riley, T.V. (1996) In-vitro activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia against Streptococcus spp. J. Antimicrob. Chemother., 37, 1177-1178.

Carson, C.F. and Riley, T.V. (1994) Susceptibility of Propionibacterium acnes to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. Lett. Appl. Microbiol., 19, 24-25.

Carson, C.F. and Riley, T.V. (1995) Antimicrobial activity of the major components of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia. J. Appl. Bact., 78, 264-269.

Chand, S., Luzunzi, I., Veal, D.A., Williams, L.R. and Karuso, P. (1994) Rapid screening of the antimicrobial activity of extracts and natural products. J. Antibiotics, 47, 1295-1304.

Cowen (1974) Relative merits of 'In use' and laboratory methods for the evaluation of antimicrobial products. J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem., 25, 307-323.

Cruz, T., Cabo, M.P., Cabo, M.M., Jimenez, J., Cabo, J. and Ruiz, C. (1989) In vitro antibacterial effect of the essential oil of Thymus longiflorus Boiss. Microbios, 60, 59-61.

Deans, S.G. and Svoboda, K.P. (1988) Antibacterial activity of French tarragon (Artemisia dranunculus Linn.) essential oil and its constituents during ontogeny. J. Hort. Sc., 63(3), 503-508.

Deans, S.G. and Svoboda, K.P. (1989) Antibacterial activity of summer savory (Satureja hortensis L) essential oil and its constituents. J. Hort. Sci., 64(2), 205-210.

Deans, S.G. and Waterman P.G. (1993) Biological activity of plant volatile oils. In R.K.M.Hay and P.G.Waterman (eds.), Volatile Oil Crops: Their Biology, Biochemistry and Production. Longman Group UK, London, pp. 113-136.

De Groot, A.C. and Weyland, J.W. (1992) Systemic contact dermatitis from tea tree oil. Contact Dermatitis, 27, 279-280.

Dellar, J.E., Cole, M.D., Gray, A.I., Gibbons, S. and Waterman, P.G. (1994) Antimicrobial sesquiterpenes from Prostanthera aff. melissifolia and P.rotundifolia. Phytochemistry, 36(4), 957-960.

Denyer, S. and Baird, R. (eds.) (1990) Guide to Microbiological Control in Pharmaceuticals, Ellis Horwood, Chichester.

Dorman, H.J.D., Deans, S.G., Noble, R.C. and Surai, P. (1995) Evaluation in vitro of plant essential oils as natural antioxidants. J. Essent. Oil Res., 7, 645-651.

Drury, S. (1991) Tea Tree Oil: A Medicine Kit in a Bottle. C.W.Daniel Co. Ltd., Essex.

Feinblatt, H.M. (1960) Cajeput-type oil for the treatment of furunculosis. J. Nat. Med. Assoc., 52(1), 32-34.

Graham, B.M. (1978) The development of Australian legislation for disinfectants.Aust. J. Hosp. Pharm., 8(4), 149-155.

Griffin, S.G. (1995) Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from Australian flora. B. App. Sc. (Hons.) Thesis. University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, Australia.

Griffin, S.G., Markham, J.L. and Leach, D.N. (1998) A modified agar dilution method for the determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration of tea tree oil. J. Essent. Oil Res., Submitted for publication.

Gundidza, M., Chinyanganya, F., Chagonda, L., De Pooter, H.L. and Mavi, S. (1994) Phytoconstituents and antimicrobial activity of the leaf essential oil of Clausena anisata (Willd.) J.D.Hook ex. Benth. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 9, 299-303.

Hammer, K.A. (1996) Potential uses of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil in the control of yeasts. Proceedings of the Australian Tea Tree Export and Marketing Ltd. Conference, October, Sydney pp. 59-62.

Hammer, K.A., Carson, C.F. and Riley, T.V. (1996) Susceptibility of transient and commensal skin flora to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Am. J. Infect. Cont., 24(3), 186189.

Humphrey, E.M. (1930) A new Australian germicide. Med. J. Australia, March 29, 417-418.

Hwang, Y.-S., Wu, K.-H., Kumamoto, J., Axelrod, H. and Mulla, M.S. (1985) Isolation and identification of mosquito repellants in Artemisia vulgaris. J. Chem. Ecol., 11, 1297-1306.

International Standards Organization (1996) Oil of Melaleuca, terpinen-4-ol type (Tea Tree Oil). International Standard ISO 4730:1996(E), International Standards Organization, Geneva.

Janssen, A.M., Scheffer, J.J.C., Baerheim Svendsen, A. and Aynechi, Y. (1985) Composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Ducrosia anethifolia. In Baerheim Svendsen, A. and Scheffer, J.J.C. (eds.), Essential Oils and Aromatic Plants. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht.

Janssen, A.M., Scheffer, J.J.C. and Baerheim Svendsen, A. (1986) Antimicrobial activity of essential oils: A 1976-1986 literature review. Aspects of the test methods. Planta Medica, 53, 395-398.

Kar, A. and Jain, S.R. (1971) Antibacterial evaluation of some indigenous medicinal volatile oils. Qual. Plant. Mater. Veg. XX, 3, 231-237.

Kazmi, S.J.A. and Mitchell, A.G. (1978) Preservation of solubilised and emulsified systems. II. Theoretical development of capacity and its role in antimicrobial activity of chlorocresol in cetamacrogol-stabilised Systems. J. Pharm. Sci., 67, 1266-1271.

Knight, T.E. and Hausen, B.M. (1994) Melaleuca oil (Tea tree oil) dermatitis. J. Amer. Acad. Dermatol., 30, 423-427.

Knobloch, K., Pauli, A., Iberl, B., Weigand, H. and Weis, N. (1989) Antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oil components. J. Essent. Oil Res., 1, 119-128.

Kubo, I., Himejima, M. and Muroi, H. (1991) Antimicrobial activity of flavor components of cardamom Elattaria cardamomum (Zingiberaceae) Seed. J. Agric. Food Chem., 39, 1984-1986.

Lassak, E.V. and McCarthy, T. (1983) Australian Medicinal Plants. Methuen, Australia.

Lattaoui, N. and Tantaoui-Elaraki, A. (1994) Comparative kinetics of microbial destruction by the essential oils of Thymus broussonettii, T. zygis and T. satureioides. J. Essent. Oil Res., 6, 165-171.

Lorian, V. (1986) Antibiotics in Laboratory Medicine (2nd edn.), Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

Low, D., Rawal, B.D. and Griffin, W.J. (1974) Antibacterial action of the essential oils of some Australian Myrtaceae with special reference to the activity of chromatographic fractions of the oil of Eucalyptus citriodora. Planta Medica, 26, 184-189.

Mann, C.M. and Markham, J.L. (1997) University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury. Unpublished results.

Mann, C.M. and Markham, J.L. (1998) A new method of determining the MIC of essential oils. J. Appl. Microbiology, 84, 538-544.

Markham, J.L., Leach, D.N., Cornwell, C.P. and Griffin, S.G. (1995) Antimicrobial activity of monot-erpenes in essential oils from Australian flora. Proceedings of the Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting, Canberra, September 24-29.

Markham, J.L., Mann, C.M., Leach, D.N. and Southwell, I.A. (1996) The effect of oil chemistry on antimicrobial activity. Tea Tree Oil Symposium. August 1996 Abstracts. Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, Wollongbar, pp. 8-9.

McDonald, L.G. and Tovey, E. (1993) The effectiveness of benzyl benzoate and some essential plant oils as laundry additives for killing house dust mites. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol., 92, 771-772.

Morris, J.A., Khettry, A. and Seitz, E.W. (1979) Antimicrobial activity of aroma chemicals and essential oils. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 56, 595-603.

Nenoff, P., Haustein, U.F. and Brandt, W. (1996) Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree oil) against pathogenic fungi in vitro. Skin Pharmacology, 9(6), 388-394.

Nguyen, D.C, Truong, T.X, Motl, O., Stransky, K., Presslova, J., Jedlickova, Z. and Sery, V. (1994) Antibacterial properties of Vietnamese cajuput oil. J. Essent. Oil. Res., 6, 63-67.

Olsen, M.W., Cassells, J. and Cross, D. (1988) Control of Sphaerotheca fuliginea on cucurbits with an oil extracted from Australian Tea Tree. Phytopathology, 78, 1595 (Abst).

Patkar, K.L., Usha, C.M., Shetty, H.S., Paster, N. and Lacey, J. (1993) Effect of spice essential oils on growth and aflatoxin B1 production by Aspergillus flavus. Lett. Appl. Microbiol., 17, 49-51.

Pena, E.F. (1962) Melaleuca alternifolia oil: Its use for trichomonal vaginitis and other vaginal infections. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 19, 793-795.

Penfold, A.R. and Grant, R. (1925) The germicidal values of some Australian essential oils and their pure constituents. Together with those for some essential oil isolates, and synthetics. Part III. J. Proceedings of the Royal Soc. of NSW., 59, 346-350.

Pongprayoon, U., Soontornsaratune, P., Jarikasem, S., Sematong, T., Wasuwat, S. and Claeson, P. (1997) Topical antiinflammatory activity of the major lipophilic constituents of the rhizome of Zingiber cassumunar. I. The essential oil. Phytomedicine, 3(4), 319-322.

Price, J. (1989) The use of tea tree oil in burn treatment products. Proceedings of Modern Phototherapy—'The Clinical Significance of Tea Tree Oil and other Essential Oils. Macquarie University, September 17.

Raman, A., Weir, U. and Bloomfield, S.F. (1995) Antimicrobial effects of tea-tree oil and its major components on Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 21, 242-245.

Remmal, A., Bouchikhi, T., Rhayour, K. and Ettayebi, M. (1993) Improved methods for the determination of antimicrobial activity of essential oils in agar medium. J. Essent. Oil Res., 5, 179-184.

Ryan, R.F. (1990) Oil of Melaleuca alternifolia dissolved in liquid carbon dioxide propellant (Bactigas™) used for the control of bacteria and fungi in air conditioning systems. Proceedings of Conference—The Clinical Significance of Tea Tree Oil and Other Essential Oils. Sydney, December, 1990, pp. 65-71.

Schilcher, H. (1985) Effects and side-effects of essential oils. In Baerheim Svendsen, A. and Scheffer, J.J.C. (eds.), Essential Oils and Aromatic Plants. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht.

Schmolka, I.R. (1973) The synergistic effects of nonionic surfactants upon cationic germicidal agents. J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem., 24, 577-592.

Scortichini, M. and Rossi, M.P. (1991) Preliminary in vitro evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of terpenes and terpenoids towards Erwinia amylovora (Burrill) Winslow et al. J. Appl. Bacterial., 71, 109-112.

Shapiro, S., Meier, A. and Guggenheim, B. (1994) The antimicrobial activity of essential oils and essential oil components towards oral bacteria. Oral Microbiol. Immunol., 9, 202-208.

Southwell, I.A. (1993) NSW Agriculture. Unpublished results.

Southwell, I.A., Freeman, S. and Rubel, D. (1997) Skin irritancy of tea tree oil. J. Essent. Oil Res., 9, 47-52.

Southwell, I.A., Hayes, A.J., Markham, J. and Leach, D.N. (1993) The search for optimally bioactive Australian tea tree oil. Acta Horticulture, 334, 256-265.

Southwell, I.A., Markham, J. and Mann, C. (1996) Is cineole detrimental to tea tree oil? Perfumer and Flavorist, 21, 7-10.

Tong, M.M., Altman, P.M. and Barnetson, R.St-C. (1992) Tea tree oil in the treatment of Tinea pedis. Australasian J. Dermatol., 33, 145-149.

Van Doorne, H. (1990) Interactions between preservatives and pharmaceuticals. In Denyer, S. and Baird, R. (eds.), (1990) Guide to Microbiological Control in Pharmaceuticals. Ellis Horwood, Chichester.

Villar, A., Recio, M.C., Rios, J.L. and Zafra-Polo, M.C. (1986) Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from Sideritis species. Pharmazie, 41, 298-299.

Yousef, R.T. and Tawil, G.G. (1980) Antimicrobial activity of volatile oils. Pharmazie, 35, 698-701.

Walker, M. (1972) Clinical investigation of Melaleuca alternifolia oil for a variety of common foot problems. Current Podiatry, 2, 7-15.

Walsh, L.J. and Longstaff, J. (1987) The antimicrobial effects of an essential oil on selected oral pathogens. Periodontology, 8, 11-15.

Williams, A.C. and Barry, B.W. (1991) Terpenes and the lipid-protein-partitioning theory of skin penetration enhancement. Pharmaceutical Research, 8(1), 17-24.

Williams, L.R,, Home, V. and Lusunzi, I. (1993) An evaluation of the contribution of cineole and terpinen-4-ol to the overall antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil. Cosmetics, Aerosols and Toiletries in Australia, 7(3), 25-34.

Williams, L.R., Home, V., Zhang, X. and Stevenson, I. (1988) The composition and bactericidal activity of oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree oil). Int. J. Aromatherapy, 1, 15-17.

Williams, L.R. and Lusunzi, I. (1994) Essential oil from Melaleuca dissitiflora: a potential source of high quality tea tree oil. Industrial Crops and Products, 2, 211-217.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Aromatherapy Can Change Your Life

Aromatherapy Can Change Your Life

Everything you ever wanted to know about How Aromatherapy Can Change Your Life. We have been discussing Aromatherapy the ancient healing art and what it can do to change your life.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment