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J Antimicrob Chemother. 1995 Mar;35(3):421-4.

Susceptibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Western Australia, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre, Nedlands.


All 66 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus tested were susceptible to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia, or tea tree oil, in disc diffusion and modified broth microdilution methods. Of the isolates tested, 64 were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and 33 were mupirocin-resistant. The MIC and MBC for 60 Australian isolates were 0.25% and 0.50%, respectively. Comparable results were obtained by co-workers in Britain using similar methods. These in-vitro results suggest tea tree oil may be useful in the treatment of MRSA carriage.

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