Antimicrobial effect of Australian antibacterial essential oils as alternative to common antiseptic solutions against clinically relevant oral pathogens

Clin Lab. 2015;61(1-2):61-8. doi: 10.7754/clin.lab.2014.140714.


Background: The aim of the study was to examine the in vitro antibacterial activity of different oils in comparison to antiseptics against oral microorganisms.

Methods: The antimicrobial effect of tea tree oil (TTO), eucalyptus oil (EO), lemon grass oil (LGO), and a eucalyptus-based oil mixture (MXT) were tested in comparison to chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX), povidone-iodine (BTA), and octenidine dihydrochloride (OCT). Oral bacterial strains and candida species using the agar diffusion test were used for the antimicrobial study.

Results: All tested oils showed antimicrobial potency against the tested biological indicators. In comparison of all tested substances the largest effective zones were measured for LGO, followed from MXT and CHX. TTO and EO were less effective against the tested microorganisms followed from BTA.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that some essential oils have better antimicrobial properties than standard oral antiseptics. In a follow-up step, the ideal concentrations, the composition of essential oils, and the mode of application will be evaluated. The antibacterial efficacy of essential oils might be promising for use in clinical and oral hygiene applications. The cost reduction and availability particularly in rural areas with easy access to the originating plants might be advantageous factors to be considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Australia
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Eucalyptus*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests*
  • Monoterpenes
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Oils, Volatile*
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Plant Oils*
  • Terpenes*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Eucalyptus terpene oil
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • lemongrass oil