Evaluation of the effectiveness of tea tree oil in treatment of Acanthamoeba infection

Parasitol Res. 2017 Mar;116(3):997-1001. doi: 10.1007/s00436-017-5377-2. Epub 2017 Jan 26.


Eye diseases caused by amoebae from the genus Acanthamoeba are usually chronic and severe, and their treatment is prolonged and not very effective. The difficulties associated with therapy have led to attempts at finding alternative treatment methods. Particularly popular is searching for cures among drugs made of plants. However, no substances with total efficacy in treating Acanthamoeba keratitis have been identified.Results of our semi in vivo studies of tea tree oil simulating eyeball infection demonstrated 100% effectiveness in the case of both trophozoites and cysts of amoebae from the genus Acanthamoeba. The action of tea tree oil indicates that this is the first substance with a potential ability to quickly and effectively remove the amoebae from the eye. Tea tree oil has the ability to penetrate tissues, which allows it to destroy amoebae in both the shallow and deep layers of the cornea. The present research into the use of tea tree oil in the therapy of Acanthamoeba infection is the first study of this type in parasitology. It offers tremendous potential for effective treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis and other diseases caused by these protozoa.

Keywords: Acanthamoebiasis; Experimental therapy; Tea tree oil.

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / drug effects*
  • Acanthamoeba / physiology
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / drug therapy*
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / parasitology
  • Animals
  • Cornea / parasitology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Melaleuca / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Plant Oils
  • Tea Tree Oil