Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 100–102

Microbiological safety of essential oils used in complementary therapies and the activity of these compounds against bacterial and fungal pathogens

  • Fiona Maudsley
  • K. G. Kerr

DOI: 10.1007/s005200050235

Cite this article as:
Maudsley, F. & Kerr, K. Support Care Cancer (1999) 7: 100. doi:10.1007/s005200050235


To determine the safety of plant essential oils we determined the sterility of eight of these products obtained from retail outlets. In addition, the ability of oils to support the growth of fungal and bacterial pathogens was examined. The antimicrobial activity of these products against seven bacterial species and Candida albicans was also investigated. All oils and their respective carriers were sterile. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were unable to survive in oils for longer than 6 h, whereas C. albicans was able to survive, but not multiply, in ylang ylang oil for at least 48 h.

Key words Aromatherapy Essential oils 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiona Maudsley
    • 1
  • K. G. Kerr
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UKGB
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK e-mail: Tel.: +44 113 233 5617 Fax: +44 113 233 5649GB

Personalised recommendations