Many of the natural compounds in the essential oil of Eucalyptus citriodora may prevent the airborne spread of the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), according to a study from the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy. Several of the compounds in the eucalyptus oil inhibited the airborne spread of the infection by 90 percent, while the major component of the oil was only weakly active, at 18 percent.
The scientists used an array of analytical laboratory tests to measure the airborne spread of TB from contagious patients. They also identified 32 active airborne compounds within the essential oil of eucalyptus and studied the impact of the interaction of multiple components in artificial mixtures.
The researchers undertook the study because “the rapid emergence of multi- and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has created a pressing public health problem… and represents a new constraint in the already challenging disease management of TB.”