In vitro susceptibilities of Candida and Aspergillus species to Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil

Rev Iberoam Micol. 2000 Jun;17(2):60-3.


Candida species are an important cause of opportunistic infection in the oral cavity of immunocompromised patients, especially HIV infected patients. Melaleuca oil obtained commercially was investigated since it is known to have broad antifungal properties. The in-vitro susceptibilities of Aspergillus and susceptible and resistant Candida species were performed utilizing serial dilutions in microtiter plates with Sabouraud dextrose agar and the commercial preparation of Melaleuca. As a comparator, in vitro susceptibilities to amphotericin B and fluconazole were also determined using the broth microdilution technique. The results demonstrate that Melaleuca inhibited the Candida species. However, the growth of Aspergillus was not inhibited at the concentrations tested. Thus, preparations containing Melaleuca alternafolia may be a useful alternative for superficial candidal infections. In fact, it may be a useful alternative regimen for advanced HIV-positive patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis refractory to fluconazole. However, controlled clinical studies to evaluate its efficacy are still needed.