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Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102224. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102224. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Essential oils as topical anti-infective agents: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, P.O.Box 1410, Uganda; Pharm-Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine (PHARMBIOTRAC) Center of Excellence, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, P.O.Box 1410, Uganda; Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Hawassa University, P. O. Box 1560, Hawassa, Ethiopia. Electronic address: dserawit@std.must.ac.ug.
2
Pharm-Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine (PHARMBIOTRAC) Center of Excellence, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, P.O.Box 1410, Uganda; Chemistry Section, Department of Applied Sciences, Malawi Institute of Technology, Malawi University of Science & Technology, Limbe, Malawi; Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research, Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, DD1 5 EH, Scotland, United Kingdom. Electronic address: amtewa@must.ac.mw.
3
Traditional and Modern Drug Research Directorate, Ethiopian Public Health Research Institute, Ethiopia. Electronic address: abiyabg@yahoo.com.
4
Department of Pharmaceutical chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Electronic address: hymete@yahoo.com.
5
Center for Innovative Drug Development and Therapeutic Trials for Africa, College of Health Sciences, Ethiopia. Electronic address: eyasumakonnen@yahoo.com.
6
Department of Microbiology, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, P.O.Box 1410, Uganda. Electronic address: jbazira@must.ac.ug.
7
Department of Pharmacology, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, P.O.Box 1410, Uganda. Electronic address: paulalele@must.ac.ug.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study summarized evidence on the efficacy and safety of essential oils (EOs) in the treatment of topical infections.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Systematic review of clinical trials conducted and reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) guideline. Electronic databases of the Cochrane, PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Scopus were searched from inception to November 2018.

INTERVENTION:

Essential oil of any type, standard treatment and placebo.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Outcomes of the study include total acne count, acne severity index, reduction in total acne surface area, number of non-inflammatory acne lesions and inflammatory acne lesions, microbial cure rate, microbial decolonization rate, and new microbial emergence.

RESULTS:

Non-significant but higher proportion of MRSA was cleared in EOs group (69% [95%CI: 34%, 96%]) compared to routine care (45% [95%CI: 36%, 53%]). Essential oils significantly lowered level of new MRSA emergence (9% [95% CI: 5%, 14%], I2 = 86.59%) compared to routine care (53% [95%CI: 30%, 75%], I2 = 86.59%). Four of the five studies on acne treatment showed equal or superior efficacy of EOs and the remaining one showed inferior efficacy to a control. In treatment of topical fungal infections, efficacy of essential oils were non-inferior compared to a standard treatment but superior to a placebo.

CONCLUSION:

Essential oils could be considered as alternative treatment for acne, decolonization of MRSA, and topical fungal infections, yet the low quality and heterogeneity among the studies calls for further studies.

KEYWORDS:

Alternative therapy; Aromatherapy; Clinical trial; Tea tree oil

PMID:
31780027
DOI:
10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102224

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