In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp

J Antimicrob Chemother. 1998 Nov;42(5):591-5. doi: 10.1093/jac/42.5.591.

Abstract

The in-vitro activity of a range of essential oils, including tea tree oil, against the yeast candida was examined. Of the 24 essential oils tested by the agar dilution method against Candida albicans ATCC 10231, three did not inhibit C. albicans at the highest concentration tested, which was 2.0% (v/v) oil. Sandalwood oil had the lowest MIC, inhibiting C. albicans at 0.06%. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil was investigated for activity against 81 C. albicans isolates and 33 non-albicans Candida isolates. By the broth microdilution method, the minimum concentration of oil inhibiting 90% of isolates for both C. albicans and non-albicans Candida species was 0.25% (v/v). The minimum concentration of oil killing 90% of isolates was 0.25% for C. albicans and 0.5% for non-albicans Candida species. Fifty-seven Candida isolates were tested for sensitivity to tea tree oil by the agar dilution method; the minimum concentration of oil inhibiting 90% of isolates was 0.5%. Tests on three intra-vaginal tea tree oil products showed these products to have MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations comparable to those of non-formulated tea tree oil, indicating that the tea tree oil contained in these products has retained its anticandidal activity. These data indicate that some essential oils are active against Candida spp., suggesting that they may be useful in the topical treatment of superficial candida infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology
  • Culture Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*

Substances

  • Antifungal Agents
  • Culture Media
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils