Because of my own "near death experience" from having MRSA in my bloodstream, I've been eager to find ways that the general public can protect themselves against these potentially deadly strains of Staph.
In 2006, Debi Rodriguez, one of Jane Buckle's instructors, and a nurse/researcher at St. Clare's Hospital in Wisconsin contacted us about doing some research to see if topical blends of Lavender and Tea Tree oils could indeed kill MRSA. The answer was a resounding yes, in the laboratory. We tested a wide range of dilutions, in soap and in aloe vera, and when Debi was satisfied, our MERCY line of products was launched.
Almost two years ago St. Clare's published this article describing the sorts of success Debi has had with the MERCY product line.
We've not had the opportunity to do clinical testing to establish the effectiveness of these products; if we *did* do the testing then the government would probably insist that we were selling drugs, not cleansers and skincare products, so it is probably just as well. In the five years since we've made the MERCY products available we've had amazing feedback, some of which has been shared in this blog and in our newsletter. We know MERCY can make a difference in people's lives.
Fast forward. In the Spring of 2009, Maggie Tisserand contacted us with information about some of the testing that had been done on her new essential oil blend, named "Benchmark Thyme" - a blend of several different cultivars, designed to give the gentleness of Thyme Linalol, with the antibacterial effectiveness of Tea Tree oil. At that time, Maggie told us of research indicating that Benchmark Thyme was more effective than Tea Tree oil at killing the bacteria causing MRSA. But we could not see the research; she was keeping it for her book.
I was frustrated, and a bit skeptical, but we brought in our first couple of kilos of Benchmark Thyme. Some clinicians started working with it, and reported successful results, but with the known efficacy of our MERCY products, we saw no need to change any formulas. For quite a long time, Nature's Gift was the only North American source for the oil.
The book does, indeed, show that Benchmark Thyme has a faster "kill rate" than does Tea Tree Oil. More than that it gives both the health care professional and the layman good solid *valuable* information on how to protect themselves against this "superbug."
I remember after my hospitalization with MRSA my doctor prescribing an antibacterial ointment to be put in my nostrils, to lower the bacterial count. Maggie suggests using any one of several antibacterial essential oils, Benchmark Thyme, of course, being one of them, but others - Manuka, Fragonia, Tea Tree, Clary Sage - also being effective. A 1% dilution, in Jojoba, applied with a cotton swab nightly can "decolonize" the nostrils, a common place that MRSA hides. As time allows, I will repost more of Maggie's suggestions. If you can't (or shouldn't) wait, please order the book from her at the link below.
With the increasing incidents of "community based" MRSA (as opposed to MRSA caught in a hospital) it become more and more important that we take responsibility for our own wellbeing, and be proactive against this major threat. Maggie gives suggestions for defending our selves, with formulas for "aromatic waters" to gargle and wash wounds, blends and dilutions for both washing and treating broken skin to prevent infection, methods to keep our environment safe, concerns about pets, infants, the elderly. This appears to be a valuable handbook.
Personally, I've been excited to read the alternative treatments suggested. Because of my wellknown allergy/sensitivity to Lavender essential oil, I can't use our MERCY line of products; so finding other suggestions has been a gift. More important though, the MERCY products have a stronger dilution of the essential oil blend than I am comfortable having people use on a daily basis. If, by working with the Benchmark Thyme, or with some of the other suggested essential oils, we can come up with an equally effective blend in lower dilutions; or even just blends that are as effective using different oils, so that people can 'trade off' occassionally - this would be a good thing.
I've sent the book to Debi. I've sent some Benchmark Thyme to Debi. Now we wait for her to go into the lab and see what happens.
Maggie Tisserand's book, Aromatherapy vs MRSA, is available directly from Maggie at this link. We contemplated bringing the book in but given the cost of shipping, the disastrous exchange rates, it will be just as effective for our clients and friends to order direct from the UK.