The effect of essential oils on bacterial growth has over the years been discovered and regarded as one of the good things that could ever happen to humanity. This is because of the actions of anti-microbial plants in fighting bacteria. The need for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is urgent in the medical line as in the U.S. alone, about 99,000 cases of death are associated with health care infections.
However, although infectious diseases mostly incurred by bacterial organisms still war against mortality rate in the world, there has been a tremendous success at the testing and applications of essential oils. Hence, the effect of essential oils on bacterial growth has been quite successful due to discovery and the usage of medicinal oils in pharmacies.
According to Alchemist, the “soul of a plant is its oil…” gives a clear insight into the importance of the fragrant plant oils. They haven’t only been used as cosmetics, lotions, perfumes or incense, they are popular for their application in therapeutic significance and culinary applications.
Since the beginning of man, plant oils have played the role of healing and purification in religious gatherings and homes. Man discovered the using of plant products for healing purposes in the earliest period of Rome, Greece, Egypt, India, Arabia, Australia, Africa, and Europe all discovered the power of thousands of ingenious plants.
Essential oils have been popular centuries before today but their use has passed through different stages. Today, some species of aromatic plants are approximately 17,500 which are shared across an estimation of 60 plant families. By this, essential oils have been used in the dental sector, used in the making of shampoos, disinfectants, tubes of toothpaste and mouthwashes, ointments, medicines, cosmetics, and perfumes, multivitamins, etc.
They have also been used as food preservatives which thus enhances shelf life because of the use of drugs such as aspirin, quinine, morphine, etc in this category which is conventionally recognized as safe for use.
However, some essential oil is more important because of their resistance to bacterial pathogens. Although some essential oils are lost during evaporation because of their height of volatility also during packaging, however, they can be applied on products to control the rate of effective inhibitory concentrations over a long period which equals their ability to extend shelf life.
Most essential oils are extracted through steam distillation, use of organic solvent, and cold pressing.
Studies on antibacterial activities reveal six essential oils with minimal toxicity that contain antibacterial properties. These essential oils have a wide stream of antibacterial properties which has proved useful in their applications and will be considered below.
Clove Essential Oil: The clove oil is extracted from the flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum L of the Myrtaceae family. The clove oil is a pale yellow liquid that appears colorless and its major constituent includes 84% — 95% eugenol, 3% of acetyl eugenol, while cinnamaldehyde and carvacrol are constituents too.
Eugenol is utilized in the making of perfumes and flavoring. The clove oil fights several bacteria that are isolated from food, food spoilage, hospital, and the soil. Also, the clove oil has brought a reduction in bacteria growth at/or below MIC value of 5000 mg/l.
Cinnamon Essential Oil: The cinnamon oil is extracted from the bark of the stock of Cinnamon cassia Blume. This plant is native to the country of Sri Lankans and it is widely cultivated in Ceylon, Madagascar, Jamaica, and Brazil. The cinnamon oil has its constituents across chemical properties of cinnamic aldehyde and 4% — 10% eugenol.
The cinnamon oil wrestles both categories of bacteria strains as the clove essential oil. It has shown antibacterial activity significance in the screening of Brochothrix thermosphacta, Escherichia Coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and others. The cinnamon oil has shown significant activity against food-borne bacteria and food spoilage bacteria.
Oregano Essential Oil: The oregano oil has its extraction from the Origanum vulgare L leaves of the Lamiaceae family. This is a perennial herb which consists of chemical properties such as the 46% of cineole and 26.1% of linalool.
As similar with the above, oregano oil can be used against bacteria isolated from food, food spoilage, hospitals and soil sources from which its significant antibacterial activity is reflected in Acinetobacter calcoacetica, Aeromonas hydrophila, Alcaligenes faecalis, Bacillus subtilis, Beneckea natriegens, Brevibacterium linens, Brocothrix thermosphacta, Citrobacter freundii, Clostridium sporogenes, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterobacter aerogenes, Erwinia carotovora, Escherichia coli, Flavobacterium suaveolens, Klebsiella pneumonia, Lactobacillus Plantarum, etc in the same category of bacteria.
The Tea Tree Essential Oil: Derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia leaves of the Myrtaceae family, the Tea Tree oil has chemical components of about 4-ol 40% of terpinin.
The tea tree oil has also shown resistance against many bacteria that have a war against human health for a while now.
Fennel Essential Oil: Derived from the Foeniculum vulgare L seeds, the fruits of which have a low volatile content but a seemingly bitter variety of sweet taste. It is often cultivated in Asian countries of India, China, Pakistan, and Europe.
The fennel oil is also used in wrestling against food bacteria, food spoilage soil bacteria, and bacteria which emanates from hospital waste. The fennel oil has also shown resistance against bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas sp, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Wintergreen Essential Oil: The extraction of the wintergreen oil is from the leaves of Gaultheria procumbens of the Ericaceae family. The wintergreen oil has a major constituent of chemical property which is methyl salicylate.
It has been revealed that the oil has shown tremendous antibacterial tendencies in its test over bacteria which include Proteus Vulgaris, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus cerevisiae, and Bacillus subtilis.
In all these, it can be said that essential oil has proved a worthy force to wrestle the plague of bacteria in our health care unit. However, other essential bacteria that are not explained above include lemongrass oil, thyme wild oil, thyme red oil, peppermint oil, coriander oil, lavender spike, and true oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, citron oil, etc.
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