The 6 Best Antimicrobial Essential Oils: Benefits, Descriptions, Precautions, and More

We share the world with countless microbes -- bacteria, fungi, and viruses -- so much so that it can be difficult to wrap your head around the idea. Microbes are all around us, and there are millions upon millions living on and in our bodies. While some of these microbes are relatively harmless and can even be beneficial to us, there are also those that can cause a wide range of diseases and health problems. Luckily, there are antimicrobial essential oils that can help us keep these germs away.

Bacteria can cause infections like tuberculosis and food poisoning. Fungi can cause things like athlete’s foot and ringworm. Viruses, meanwhile, cause the flu, the common cold, chicken pox, rubella, and a number of other conditions. We can come into contact with these microbes through our most basic functions: breathing, eating, drinking, and touching. While coming into contact with harmful microbes doesn’t always result in an infection, it can be possible in certain situations.

Contents

  • Antimicrobial Essential Oils
    • Eucalyptus
    • Tea Tree
    • Citronella
    • Sage
    • Peppermint
    • Lemongrass
  • Precautions
  • How to Use Essential Oils to Fight Microbes
    • Peppermint and Sage Toothpaste
    • Antimicrobial Melt-and-Pour Soap
    • Tea Tree and Lemongrass Hair Condition
  • Summary
  • Bibliography

There are different ways to combat harmful microbes. We have a natural immune system that can fight these microbes off, and there are also medications, vaccines, and other products that are effective against microbes. Of course, avoiding infection as much as possible is the best option. With Aroma Foundry’s Germ Buster Essential Oil Six-Pack, you can protect yourself from infections and keep yourself as healthy as possible.

We did a side-by-side comparison with two of the world's biggest essential oil brands.

Antimicrobial Essential Oils

bacteriaHarmful microbes aren't always easy to get rid of. Luckily, there are essential oils that can kill germs the all-natural way.

 

The essential oils selected for this Six-Pack all have the ability to help you fight against at least two of three different kinds of microbes: bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Some of the oils can even fight against all three. Perhaps the best thing about essential oils in this situation is that unlike medication for infections, you can combine them to be able to be more effective against a wider range of microbes.

All six of the oils in this package can combat microbes on their own, but it’s also possible to create different combinations of the oil to achieve all the effects you want.

 

1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

eucalyptusEucalyptus essential oil has both physical and psychological benefits.

 

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is an evergreen tree that is perhaps the best-known and most widely-used source for eucalyptus oil. It is native to Australia, and has also been used in Aboriginal Australian traditional medicine to treat symptoms of colds and the flu, like fever, body pains, and congestion. Eucalyptus has a long history of helping treat several kinds of illnesses and health conditions.

The essential oil is taken from the tree’s leaves. As far back as the late 19th century, eucalyptus oil was used as an antiseptic agent during surgeries, as well as for cleaning catheters. The United States also officially recognized the oil as an effective agent against insects, particularly ticks and fleas, in 1948. Eucalyptus essential oil has also been found to be able to help improve blood circulation, relieve pain, boost the immune system.

Perhaps one of the best things about eucalyptus oil is that it can help fight off bacteria and viruses, though it isn’t effective against fungi. It has been proven to be able to effectively kill 22 types of harmful bacteria, like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Some of these bacteria strains have become antibiotic-resistant, which means that antibiotics are no longer as effective against them as they should be. However, these bacteria are unlikely to build resistance to eucalyptus oil and other similarly effective antimicrobial essential oils.

Meanwhile, eucalyptus oil has also been proven to be effective against a number of viruses, particularly the swine flu (H1N1) and herpes type 1 (HSV1) viruses.

You can use eucalyptus oil in an oil diffuser, and you can also use it topically. However, if you intend to use it on your skin, be sure to dilute it first in a carrier oil. Even a small amount of eucalyptus oil can irritate your skin, so it’s best to avoid possible issues that may arise from use.

Learn more about eucalyptus essential oil benefits. 

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil

tea treeThe best tea tree essential oil comes from the trees that grow in Australia, where tea tree is endemic. Photo by John Tann

 

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a small tree species native to New South Wales and Southeast Queensland in Australia. It was so named by Lieutenant James Cook, a British explorer, because he saw Aboriginal Australians brewing tea using the leaves of the tree. Cook later began brewing the same tea as well, which reportedly helped his crew prevent scurvy.

The leaves of the tea tree aren’t just for tea, however. Many Aboriginal Australian communities have long been using the leaves to treat burns, cuts, skin conditions, and infections. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that the medicinal effects of tea tree were studied in earnest. During that time, tea tree oil rose to prominence as an effective antiseptic, even becoming the preferable alternative to carbolic acid.

Tea tree essential oil, which is extracted from the leaves through steam distillation, has been found to be able to fight against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This makes tea tree oil among the most potent antimicrobial essential oils. It can kill various strains of the Staphylococcus bacteria, some of which have developed resistance to antibiotics. Staphylococcus has over 30 strains that cause a variety of health conditions, like food poisoning, skin infections, and even pneumonia.

The oil can also effectively help get rid of certain types of fungus, notably Candida albicans, which can cause yeast infections. It can also be effective against the Pityrosporum ovale fungus, which causes dandruff. Thus, if you’ve been struggling with dandruff and can’t find the right shampoo for it, tea tree oil may be what you’re looking for.

Other than bacteria and fungus, tea tree oil can also help get rid of the herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores, as well as viruses that cause the common cold and the flu.

You can enjoy the benefits of tea tree oil through aromatherapy, and you can also apply it topically in small amounts. However, you should avoid ingesting the oil.

Learn more about tea tree essential oil benefits.

 

3. Citronella Essential Oil

citronellaCitronella essential oil may be best known for its insect-repellent properties, but it has more to offer in the germ-busting department.

 

Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) is a type of grass that belongs to the lemongrass (Cymbopogon) family. The plant is native to Southeast Asia, but it can now also be found in various parts of the world. It also has a long history of use, mainly as an ingredient in various culinary traditions as well as Chinese and Brazilian traditional medicine. The leaves have also been used to brew tea that can help treat certain ailments.

These leaves produce citronella essential oil, which you may know from its fresh and distinct scent. Just as the citronella plant has many health benefits, citronella oil can also help with various health concerns. One of its best-known abilities is also its ability to repel insects, most importantly mosquitoes that carry potentially deadly viruses. Some mosquitoes may carry the dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, and Zika fever viruses, making citronella’s insect repellent properties important in certain areas of the world.

Like other antimicrobial essential oils, citronella oil has a variety of benefits. Not only can citronella repel insects, it can also help fight bacteria and fungi that can cause a variety of illnesses. The oil can be effective in controlling the proliferation of salmonella bacteria, which causes food poisoning. Food poisoning can last up to a week, and using citronella oil can help prevent and shorten the illness.

Citronella oil can also help get rid of Candida albicans, a type of fungi that causes yeast infection in the genitals, mouth, digestive tract, and skin. Some strains of fungi, like some strains of bacteria, may have already developed resistance to medication. Thus, citronella oil can be an effective alternative.

While citronella oil is generally safe, you should avoid applying it undiluted onto your skin. Always make sure to dilute the oil first in a carrier oil, such coconut oil or jojoba oil. You also should not ingest citronella oil, or apply it near your eyes even when diluted.

Learn more about citronella essential oil benefits.

 

4. Sage Essential Oil

sageThe sage plant has many names, such as Dalmatian sage, true sage, garden sage, culinary sage, among others.

 

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has a long and storied history, stretching back thousands of years to ancient civilizations. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered sage to be sacred due to its many uses and benefits. Meanwhile, ancient Egyptians also used sage to improve fertility, while Native Americans used the herb in purification rituals. Even today, sage is still also used in culinary preparations.

The leaves of the sage plant produce sage essential oil through steam distillation. The oil has a spicy aroma, and it also has a wide range of uses. It can help with digestive, respiratory, and menstrual problems, and it can also function as a mental stimulant when necessary. Other than these benefits, sage oil is also used in the production of different cosmetics.

Sage oil’s suitability for skin care and cosmetic products has something to do with its antifungal properties. The oil has been found to be effective against a type of fungi called dermatophytes, which affect the skin, hair, and nails. It is also known to cause ringworm.

Other than fungal infections, sage oil can also be effective against viral infections. Respiratory illnesses like cough and bronchitis can be viral in nature, and sage oil can help you get rid of the infection sooner than if it’s left untreated.

Sage oil is also effective against many strains of bacteria, including those that can cause urinary tract infection, lower respiratory tract infection, skin infections, intra-abdominal infections, and septic arthritis. Other than that, the oil is also effective against Streptococcus mutans, which can cause tooth decay.

Of course, you need to be careful with using sage oil. It is safe to apply on your skin, though you should not use more than a few drops. Like any other essential oil, sage oil can cause skin irritation if you use too much of it. If you want to use more than a few drops, make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil.

Learn more about sage essential oil benefits.

 

5. Peppermint Essential Oil

peppermintPeppermint is a perennial plant, which means that it doesn't need to be replanted each year.

 

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a hybrid plant that resulted from the cross-breeding of watermint and spearmint. There is evidence that ancient civilizations, particularly the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, used peppermint for a variety of uses, including the treatment of digestive problems. Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who formalized the use of binomial scientific names for known organisms, was the first to formally classify the plant in 1753.

Though peppermint might be better known as a flavoring for toothpaste and various kinds of food, it actually also has many health benefits. Its essential oil, in particular, can help ease headaches, treat digestive problems, soothe respiratory problems, and manage stress, among other things. It can also be an effective cleaning agent as well as an insect repellent.

Peppermint essential oil has been found to be able to fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Studies have shown that peppermint oil can be effective against 22 different bacteria strains that cause digestive issues. A condition called chronic fatigue syndrome, which causes sufferers to constantly feel tired, can be linked to bacterial pathogens in the intestines. Thus, peppermint oil can be considered to be effective against chronic fatigue syndrome as well.

Other than bacterial infections, peppermint oil can also work against fungal infections. It can help stop the proliferation of fungi that cause things like ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot. While these infections are more irritating than truly harmful, it’s still best to get rid of them as soon as possible.

You can use peppermint oil in a variety of ways. You can use it with a diffuser, blend it with other antimicrobial essential oils, and dilute it with a carrier oil to apply it onto your skin. You can also ingest it in enteric-covered capsules for digestive problems. However, be sure to use just the right amount of peppermint oil, as it can be quite intense.

Learn more about peppermint essential oil benefits.

 

6. Lemongrass Essential Oil 

lemongrassLemongrass plants usually favor warm weather, and also thrive under the sun and in high humidity.

 

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a type of perennial plant native to tropical and subtropical regions. It’s likely better known as an ingredient in various dishes, lending its flavor to curries and other types of food. Its long, grass-like leaves can also be used to make lemongrass tea, which is known to have medicinal properties.

Those leaves also produce lemongrass oil. Lemongrass oil can help treat things such as indigestion, heartburn, acne, menstrual issues, inflammation, high blood pressure, and more. It is also known as an effective insect repellent due to its strong and distinctive scent.

Lemongrass essential oil is made of active compounds like terpineol, methyl heptenone, limonene, among many others. These compounds are what give lemongrass oil the capability to fight against various strains of bacteria as well as fungi.

The oil is effective against bacteria that cause problems in the stomach, colon, urinary tract, and respiratory system. It can also help treat bacterial infections such as food poisoning, typhoid fever, and even unpleasant body odor. Lemongrass oil’s antifungal properties can also be effective against fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.

While lemongrass oil is generally safe to use, you do need to be careful. Take care not to use it on your skin in its undiluted form, which means that you should always dilute it in water or with a carrier oil. Lemongrass oil has the potential to burn your skin if you use too much of it. It’s also best to apply diluted lemongrass oil onto a small patch of skin first before applying it to a larger area. This way, if you do experience a negative reaction to the oil, it will be contained in one small spot.

Lemongrass oil can also be used in a diffuser, and can be an important ingredient in many products.

Learn more about lemongrass essential oil benefits.

Aroma Foundry Germ Buster Collection

Precautions

Even though these antimicrobial essential oils are natural, it does not mean that you don’t need to be careful with them. Essential oils are highly concentrated, and they can cause different adverse reactions. Thus, before using them, you should first look into how each individual oil works.

In general, it’s best to dilute essential oils in carrier oils before you apply them topically. While some essential oils are safe for the skin if you use only a few drops, some oils should be diluted, regardless of much you’re planning to use.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use any essential oil in any amount. It is still unknown how exactly essential oils can affect pregnant women, so it’s best to avoid using the oils during pregnancy to be safe.

You also should not use essential oils on children, especially those younger than seven years old. Essential oils can be quite powerful, and it’s possible that children have not yet developed a resistance to the more intense effects.

 

How to Use Antimicrobial Essential Oils to Fight Germs

soapThere are so many things you can make with these essential oils, all of which can effectively kill harmful microbes.

 

The best thing about Aroma Foundry’s Essential Oil Six-Packs is that they’re basically a toolkit for a lot of different projects that you can do. You can always use essential oils for simple aromatherapy, and you can also find great choices for great blends in this Six-Pack. However, if you’re looking to spend a weekend having fun with a little project or two, the Six-Pack can make things easier for you. All the essential oils you need for antimicrobial products are in one neat little package.

The combinations of essential oils below are all antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Check them out and see which ones you like best!

 

Peppermint and Sage Toothpaste

Regular toothpaste may make your breath fresh and your mouth feel cool and clean, but you can take it up a notch or two by making your own toothpaste. After all, regular toothpaste has fluoride, and you may be looking for an alternative that doesn’t have ingredients like that. If so, you can try making this Peppermint and Sage Toothpaste. It’s possible that you already have the ingredients in your kitchen, and you’ll also need peppermint and sage oil from the Six-Pack.

The combinations of antimicrobial essential oils below are all antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Here are the ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops of sage essential oil
  • Distilled water (up to desired consistency)

Mix together the baking soda, sea salt, and the essential oils in a glass bowl. Add some water, maybe about a tablespoon or two, then mix again to see what the consistency is like. Keep adding water bit by bit until you achieve the desired consistency.

Store the mixture in a glass screw top jar. Since you’re using all-natural and 100% pure essential oils, it’s best to use jars made of ultraviolet glass, which can block visible light that can damage these materials. Infinity Jars has a great collection of jars and various other types of bottles that can fit a variety of needs and are all made of durable ultraviolet glass.

 

Antimicrobial Melt-and-Pour Soap

Making soap can be a fun little endeavor. You can choose to go the major DIY route and study how to make cold process soap, which can be complicated. However, you can also walk the easier path and make glycerin melt-and-pour soap instead.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs clear glycerin melt-and-pour soap base
  • 40 drops of citronella essential oil
  • 40 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • Spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
  • Soap molds in any shape or size of your choice

Cut up your soap base into roughly one-by-one inch cubes. Place them in a microwave-safe container and microwave the contents until melted. You can also melt the soap over the stove, as long as you use a pan that you won’t need to use for cooking later on.

Once the soap has melted, add your antimicrobial essential oils. It’s best to prepare the oils beforehand before beginning this process so you’ll be able to simply pour the right amount of oils in. Stir gently but thoroughly.

Pour the soap into your molds and spray the top surface with the alcohol to remove bubbles. You can then wait for your soaps to harden. When it does, carefully loosen the soaps around the edges before popping them out of the mold. Once the soaps are done, store them in a glass apothecary jar.

 

Tea Tree and Lemongrass Hair Conditioner

Dandruff has many causes, and one of them is the growth of a particular type of fungus. If you have dandruff, it’s possible that you already tried many remedies, to no avail. Thus, it may be worth it to try this Tea Tree and Lemongrass Hair Conditioner. This concoction is very easy to make, and you may already have some of the ingredients right in your kitchen.

  • 6 to 8 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 6 to 8 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water

Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle. As much as possible, use a bottle made of ultraviolet glass. Infinity Jars offers a variety of jars and bottles made of durable UV glass that can extend the shelf life of all-natural materials, so you can look through the products to see if there’s something you like.

Shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Spray the contents on your scalp and hair, and simply shake the bottle again whenever you need to use it.

Find all the essential oils mentioned here from our online shop and get started with your very own DIY projects!

 

Summary

Germ Buster Essential Oil Six-Pack

Some microbial strains have already developed a resistance to the usual medication and remedies, which can be quite disconcerting. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to wait for scientists to come up with new drugs that can finally be effective against microbes. You can take a more proactive approach and find a safe and proven alternative to medication. Let these antimicrobial essential oils keep harmful microbes away.

Aroma Foundry’s Germ Buster Essential Oil Six-Pack carries curated oils that can be effective against various kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Keep yourself infection-free with Aroma Foundry!

 

Bibliography

  1. Ks3 Bitesize Science 6http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks3/science/organisms_behaviour_health/disease
  2. Antibacterial, Antifungal, and Antiviral Essential Oils and How To Use Them https://www.theresaneoforthat.com/antibacterial-antifungal-and-antiviral-essential-oils-and-how-to-use-them/
  3. Herbal Oil: Eucalyptus Oil Benefits and Uses https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/eucalyptus-oil.aspx
  4. How To Make Antifungal, Antibacterial, and Antiviral Tea Tree Oil At Home https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/tea-tree-oil.aspx
  5. 12 Incredible Health Benefits Of Tea Tree Oil (backed By Evidence) https://naturallydaily.com/health-benefits-of-tea-tree-oil/
  6. Herbal Oil: Citronella Oil Benefits and Uses https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/citronella-oil.aspx
  7. 11 Health Benefits Of Citronella Oil (backed By Scientific Evidence) https://naturallydaily.com/citronella-oil/
  8. Enterobacter Cloacae https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Enterobacter_cloacae
  9. Sage Oil: 12 Timeless Uses and Benefits That Can Improve Your Life https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/sage-oil.aspx
  10. Herbal Oil: Peppermint Oil Benefits and Uses https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/peppermint-oil.aspx
  11. 12 Uses and Health Benefits Of Peppermint Oil https://naturallydaily.com/peppermint-oil/
  12. Herbal Oil: Lemongrass Oil Benefits and Uses https://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/lemongrass-oil.aspx
  13. Risks and Dangers Of Essential Oils | Wellness Mama https://wellnessmama.com/26519/essential-oils-risks/
  14. Homemade Toothpaste: A Natural Recipe That Is Simple and Effective https://www.diynatural.com/homemade-toothpaste/
  15. How To Make Homemade Glycerin Soaps https://newleafwellness.biz/2014/04/02/make-homemade-glycerin-soaps/
  16. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro Pattnaik S, Subramanyam VR, Kole C - Microbios - 1996
  17. Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects of three essential oil blends Amandine Brochot, Angèle Guilbot, Laïla Haddioui, Christine Roques - Microbiology Open - 2017
  18. Safety, efficacy and provenance of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil C. F. Carson T. V. Riley - Contact Dermatitis - 2001
  19. Essential Oil of Common Sage (Salvia officinalis L.) from Jordan: Assessment of Safety in Mammalian Cells and Its Antifungal and Anti-Inflammatory Potential M. S. Abu-Darwish, C. Cabral, I. V. Ferreira, M. J. Gonçalves, C. Cavaleiro, M. T. Cruz, T. H. Al-bdour, L. Salgueiro - BioMed Research International - 2013
  20. Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Property of Sage (Salvia) to Prevent and Cure Illnesses such as Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Dementia, Lupus, Autism, Heart Disease, and Cancer Mohsen Hamidpour, Rafie Hamidpour, Soheila Hamidpour, and Mina Shahlari - Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine - 2014
  21. The treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with enteric-coated peppermint oil: a case report. (Peppermint Oil) Alan C. Logan, Tracey M. Beaulne - Alternative Medicine Review - 2002
View all resources
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