12 January - 20 June 2016

Oregano oil effective against norovirus

26 Feb 14

Research at the University of Arizona has indicated that the answer to Norovirus may lie in oregano oil, or more specifically carvacrol, a substance within the oil. The suggestion is that this compound could be used both as a food and also a surface sanitiser.

The researchers utilised a mouse form of the virus due to its similarities in antimicrobial resistance. Norovirus’ known resistance to many antimicrobials stems from the protein capsid (tough layers of proteins which encapsulate the virus), made worse by high environmental stability leading to easy spread. Researchers evaluated both oregano oil and carvacrol as possible antimicrobials. The carvacrol appeared to act directly on the capsid and cause it to break down. This in turn provides an opportunity for another antimicrobial to enter the centre of the virus and destroy it. The virus is unlikely to develop resistance thanks to the route of action and the material is both safe and non-corrosive.

All in all, it’s an attractive option, particularly for hospitals, but it is important to remember that carvacrol won’t be a solution to everything. Its speed of action is slower than most other antimicrobials and realistically, it wouldn’t be used alone, but as part of a routine cleaning process. As for a pizza dominated diet, this isn’t a good idea; in fact, concentrated carvacrol could actually cause a burning sensation and numbness of the tongue. [Eurekalert], [ScienceDaily]

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