In Vitro Activity of Tea Tree Oil Vaginal Suppositories against Candida spp. and Probiotic Vaginal Microbiota

Phytother Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):1628-33. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5422. Epub 2015 Aug 3.


The aim of this work is to evaluate the in vitro microbicidal activity of vaginal suppositories (VS) containing tea tree oil (TTO-VS) towards Candida spp. and vaginal probiotics. A total of 20 Candida spp. strains, taken from patients with vaginitis and from an established type collection, including reference strains, were analysed by using the CLSI microdilution method. To study the action of VS towards the beneficial vaginal microbiota, the sensitivity of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (DSM 10140) and Lactobacillus spp. (Lactobacillus casei R-215 and Lactobacillus acidophilus R-52) was tested. Both TTO-VS and TTO showed fungicidal activity against all strains of Candida spp. whereas placebo-VS or the Aloe gel used as controls were ineffective. The study of fractional fungicidal concentrations (FFC) showed synergistic interaction with the association between Amphotericin B and TTO (0.25 to 0.08 µg/ml, respectively) against Candida albicans. Instead, the probiotics were only affected by TTO concentration ≥ 4% v/v, while, at concentrations < 2% v/v, they remained viable. TTO-VS exhibits, in vitro, a selective fungicidal action, slightly affecting only the Bifidobacteriun animalis strain growth belonging to the vaginal microbiota. In vivo studies are needed to confirm the efficacy to prevent acute or recurrent vaginal candidiasis.

Keywords: Bifidobacterium animalis; Candida albicans; Lactobacillus spp.; amphotericin B; microbiota; tea tree oil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents*
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus
  • Microbiota / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Probiotics
  • Suppositories
  • Tea Tree Oil*
  • Vagina / microbiology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Suppositories
  • Tea Tree Oil