Tea tree oil, silver combo can make for effective antiseptics

March 30th, 2009 - 1:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 30 (ANI): A combination of tea tree oil and silver can make for an effective antiseptic for skin wounds, says a new study.

The research team led by Wan Li Low from the University of Wolverhampton showed that mixing tea tree oil and silver (in the form of silver nitrate) or putting them in liposomes, (small spheres made from natural lipids), greatly increases their antimicrobial activity and minimise side effects.

During the study, the researchers found that low concentrations of two agents significantly increased their antimicrobial activity.

They focused on bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and the yeast Candida albicans, which cause skin infections.

To reach the conclusion, researchers used microscopic spherical bodies called liposomes, made of phospholipids, the naturally occurring lipids or fats in the cell wall membranes, to deliver the silver and tea tree oil mix to infected wounds.

This lead to a controlled release and therefore, a potential to use lower, less toxic, concentrations of the antimicrobial agents to treat infected wounds.

It can also be used for treating antibiotic resistant strains such as MRSA.

Current treatments using traditional silver-based creams and dressings use relatively high metal concentrations.

The creams containing lower amounts of the agents could provide safer and readily available over-the-counter antiseptic compounds for effective treatment without damaging the surrounding skin.

The findings are to be presented at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate. (ANI)

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