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Nature has the answer for the global superbug crisis: Essential oils

Health professionals, scientists and world leaders are growing increasingly concerned as resistance to antibiotics proliferates at an alarming rate. This concern was brought to the forefront at an event hosted by the Royal Society in London by Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the University of Edinburgh, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, who outlined the need for a global response to this crisis to prevent simple infections from becoming deadly diseases.

Many classes of drugs are now ineffective against common infections.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

In addition to presenting their recommendations at the event, the study authors published their commentary on this frightening crisis online May 22, 2014 in the journal Nature.

The number of “Superbugs,” or bacteria that have adapted to become resistant to treatment with first line antibiotics, has been growing at such a rapid pace that the treatment of many infectious diseases is reliant on only one or two drugs. Some strains of infections have even become resistant to all known classes of drugs. And without a viable remedy for superbugs, many current medical and surgical procedures would be impossible to perform and potentially deadly.

These facts led the study authors to recommend the formation of a global organization to direct an international response. They assert that without a united effort to this worldwide concern — exacerbated by the overuse and misuse of antimicrobial drugs — one country’s actions could have universal ramifications. They further state that thus far the international response to the crisis has been meager and ineffective.

According to the study, the development of new therapies should be accelerated to prevent further resistance and combat existing superbugs.

As reported in 2012 by this examiner, a growing body of evidence suggests the leading answer to this crisis is supplied by nature in essential oils. These potent botanical extracts possess substantial antiviral and antibacterial properties proven by numerous studies. Scientific research surrounding the ability of essential oils to kill and prevent the spread of superbugs is continuing to accumulate, but the medical community has been reluctant to integrate natural alternatives to combat this alarming crisis.

Even more important than killing superbugs, evidence suggests these menacing microbes are not able to adapt to essential oils and become resistant. This is largely due to the fact that essential oils naturally have varying percentages of the dozens to hundreds of constituents they contain. Therefore the superbug is not exposed to an identical essential oil each time, thwarting its ability to adapt. Quite the opposite is true with synthetic drugs that produce the same molecular structure consistently.

A July 2012 study published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy concluded that according to published research essential oils and their constituents are effective against many species of resistant-bacteria. Another study from the June 2013 edition of the Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery reported that eucalyptus is consistently effective against multi-resistant and hospital - acquired infections. This last fact is crucial for life-saving surgeries and procedures to be performed without a secondary infection that could kill the patient. Other studies suggest that certain essentials oils could potentiate the action of antibacterial drugs when used concurrently.

Scientific research suggests that eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemongrass, oregano, tea tree, thyme and other essential oils warrant further investigation as potent antibacterial agents to prevent the further spread of superbugs.

Until the medical community, world leaders and scientists embrace these proven remedies the world will continue to travel down the path towards scraped knees becoming deadly.