Tea-tree oil (oil of Melaleuca alternifolia) has recently received much attention as a natural remedy for bacterial and fungal infections of the skin and mucosa. As with most naturally occurring agents, claims of effectiveness have been only anecdotal; however, several published studies have recently demonstrated tea-tree oil's antibacterial activity. This study was conducted to determine the activity of tea-tree oil against 58 clinical isolates: Candida albicans (n = 10), Trichophyton rubrum (n = 8), Trichophyton mentagrophytes (n = 9), Trichophyton tonsurans (n = 10), Aspergillus niger (n = 9), Penicillium species (n = 9), Epidermophyton floccosum (n = 2), and Microsporum gypsum (n = 1). Tea-tree oil showed inhibitory activity against all isolates tested except one strain of E floccosum. These in vitro results suggest that tea-tree oil may be useful in the treatment of yeast and fungal mucosal and skin infections.

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