Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Essential oils destroy MRSA, Brighton scientists say

A hospital cleaner
The research may help stop the spread of MRSA in hospitals

Essential oils could kill the hospital superbug MRSA, scientists at the University of Brighton have found.

A study found a blend of oils derived from thyme plants was effective in destroying MRSA in two hours.

The research was carried out by a team of microbiologists at the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.

MRSA is a potentially lethal bug that is difficult to combat because it has developed resistance to some antibiotics.

The study was set up when Sussex-based company Benchmark Oils asked the university to carry out research into the effect of its oils.

'Promising results'

Director Maggie Tisserand got in touch because she believed a blend of essential oils derived from thyme and used in aromatherapy could tackle MRSA.

Dr Jonathan Caplin, who carried out much of the research, said: "These are very promising results.

"We have shown at least in the laboratory that this blend of thyme has a very strong killing-effect on MRSA.

"Now further work needs to be carried out to ascertain its effect in real cases."

The research has been published in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics.

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