An anti-microbial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganism
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

s such as bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, fungi, or protozoans. Antimicrobial drugs either kill microbes (microbiocidal) or prevent the growth of microbes (microbiostatic). Disinfectants are antimicrobial substances used on non-living objects or outside the body.

The history of antimicrobials begins with the observations of Pasteur
Pasteur could refer to* Louis Pasteur , French chemist and microbiologist who invented:**Pasteurization**The pasteur pipette, both named after him-Things and places named after Louis Pasteur:* Pasteur Institute* Pasteur point, level of oxygen...

 and Joubert, who discovered that one type of bacteria could prevent the growth of another. They did not know at that time that the reason one bacterium failed to grow was that the other bacterium was producing an antibiotic. Technically, antibiotics are only those substances that are produced by one microorganism that kill, or prevent the growth, of another microorganism. Of course, in today's common usage, the term antibiotic is used to refer to almost any drug that attempts to rid your body of a bacterial infection. Antimicrobials include not just antibiotics, but synthetically formed compounds as well.

The discovery of antimicrobials like penicillin
Penicillin is a group of antibiotics derived from Penicillium fungi. They include penicillin G, procaine penicillin, benzathine penicillin, and penicillin V....

 and tetracycline paved the way for better health for millions around the world. Before penicillin became a viable medical treatment in the early 1940s, no true cure for gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain...

, strep throat
Strep throat
Streptococcal pharyngitis, streptococcal tonsillitis, or streptococcal sore throat is a type of pharyngitis caused by a group A streptococcal infection. It affects the pharynx including the tonsils and possibly the larynx. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes...

, or pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 existed. Patients with infected wounds often had to have a wounded limb removed, or face death from infection. Now, most of these infections can be cured easily with a short course of antimicrobials.

However, with the development of antimicrobials, microorganisms have adapted and become resistant to previous antimicrobial agents. The old antimicrobial technology was based either on poisons or heavy metals, which may not have killed the microbe completely, allowing the microbe to survive, change, and become resistant to the poisons and/or heavy metals.

Antimicrobial nanotechnology is a recent addition to the fight against disease causing organisms, replacing heavy metals and toxins and may some day be a viable alternative.

Infections that are acquired during a hospital visit are called "hospital acquired infections" or nosocomial infections. Similarly, when the infectious disease is picked up in the non-hospital setting it is considered "community acquired".

Main classes

There are mainly two classes of antimicrobial drugs:
  1. Those obtained from natural sources:
    1. Beta-lactam
      A β-lactam ring, is a four-membered lactam. It is named as such, because the nitrogen atom is attached to the β-carbon relative to the carbonyl...

       antibiotic (such as penicillins, cephalosporins)
    2. Protein synthesis inhibitors (such as aminoglycosides, macrolides, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol
      Chloramphenicol is a bacteriostatic antimicrobial that became available in 1949. It is considered a prototypical broad-spectrum antibiotic, alongside the tetracyclines, and as it is both cheap and easy to manufacture it is frequently found as a drug of choice in the third world.Chloramphenicol is...

      , polypeptides
      Polypeptide antibiotics
      Polypeptide antibiotics are diverse class of antibiotics used for eye, ear or bladder infections in addition to aminoglycosides. They are too toxic to be suitable for systemic administration, but can safely be administered topically on the skin...

  2. Synthetic agents:
    1. Sulphonamides, cotrimoxazole, quinolones
    2. Anti-virals
    3. Anti-fungals
    4. Anti-cancer
      Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

    5. Anti-malarial
      Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

    6. Anti-tuberculosis
      Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

    7. Anti-leprotic
      Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

    8. Anti-protozoal
      Antiprotozoal agent
      Antiprotozoal agents is a class of pharmaceuticals used in treatment of protozoan infection.Protozoans have little in common with each other and so agents effective against one pathogen may not be effective against another...



Antibiotics are generally used to treat bacterial infections. The toxicity
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage a living or non-living organisms. Toxicity can refer to the effect on a whole organism, such as an animal, bacterium, or plant, as well as the effect on a substructure of the organism, such as a cell or an organ , such as the liver...

 to humans and other animals from antibiotics is generally considered to be low. However, prolonged use of certain antibiotics can decrease the number of gut flora
Gut flora
Gut flora consists of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of animals and is the largest reservoir of human flora. In this context, gut is synonymous with intestinal, and flora with microbiota and microflora....

, which can have a negative impact on health. Some recommend that, during or after prolonged antibiotic use, one should consume probiotics and eat reasonably to replace destroyed gut flora.

The term antibiotic originally described only those formulations derived from living organisms, but is now applied also to synthetic
Chemical synthesis
In chemistry, chemical synthesis is purposeful execution of chemical reactions to get a product, or several products. This happens by physical and chemical manipulations usually involving one or more reactions...

 antimicrobials, such as the sulfonamide
Sulfonamide (medicine)
Sulfonamide or sulphonamide is the basis of several groups of drugs. The original antibacterial sulfonamides are synthetic antimicrobial agents that contain the sulfonamide group. Some sulfonamides are also devoid of antibacterial activity, e.g., the anticonvulsant sultiame...


The discovery, development, and clinical use of antibiotics during the 20th century has decreased substantially the mortality from bacterial infections. The antibiotic era began with the pneumatic application of nitroglycerine drugs, followed by a “golden” period of discovery from about 1945 to 1970, when a number of structurally diverse, highly effective agents were discovered and developed. However, since 1980 the introduction of new antimicrobial agents for clinical use has declined, in part because of the enormous expense of developing and testing new drugs. Paralleled to this there has been an alarming increase in bacterial resistance
Antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic. While a spontaneous or induced genetic mutation in bacteria may confer resistance to antimicrobial drugs, genes that confer resistance can be transferred between bacteria in a...

 to existing agents.

Antibiotics are among the most commonly used drugs. For example, 30% or more hospitalized patients are treated with one or more courses of antibiotic therapy. However, antibiotics are also among the drugs commonly misused by physicians, e.g. usage of antibiotic agents in viral respiratory tract infection
Respiratory tract infection
Respiratory tract infection refers to any of a number of infectious diseases involving the respiratory tract. An infection of this type is normally further classified as an upper respiratory tract infection or a lower respiratory tract infection...

s. The inevitable consequence of widespread and injudicious use of antibiotics has been the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, resulting in a serious threat to global public health. The resistance problem demands that a renewed effort be made to seek antibacterial agents effective against pathogenic bacteria resistant to current antibiotics. One of the possible strategies towards this objective is the rational localization of bioactive phytochemical
Phytochemicals are biologically active chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants . Phytochemicals are the molecules responsible for the color and organoleptic properties . For example, the deep purple color of blueberries and the smell of garlic...



Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used specifically for treating viral
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

 infections. Like antibiotics, specific antivirals are used for specific viruses. They are relatively harmless to the host, and therefore can be used to treat
Pharmacotherapy is the treatment of disease through the administration of drugs. As such, it is considered part of the larger category of therapy....

 infections. They should be distinguished from viricides, which actively deactivate virus particles outside the body.

Most of the antivirals now available are designed to help deal with HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

; herpes viruses
The Herpesviridae are a large family of DNA viruses that cause diseases in animals, including humans. The members of this family are also known as herpesviruses. The family name is derived from the Greek word herpein , referring to the latent, recurring infections typical of this group of viruses...

, best known for causing cold sores and genital herpes, but actually causing a wide range of diseases; the hepatitis B and C
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus . The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years...

 viruses, which can cause liver cancer, and influenza A
Influenzavirus A
Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and some mammals and is the only species of Influenzavirus A. Influenzavirus A is a genus of the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses. Strains of all subtypes of influenza A virus have been isolated from wild birds, although disease is uncommon...

 and B
Influenzavirus B
Influenzavirus B is a genus in the virus family Orthomyxoviridae. The only species in this genus is called "Influenza B virus".Influenza B viruses are only known to infect humans and seals, giving them influenza...

 viruses. Researchers are now working to extend the range of antivirals to other families of pathogens.

Antiviral drugs work by inhibiting the virus before it enters the cell, stopping it from reproducing, or, in some cases, preventing it from exiting the cell. However, like antibiotics, viruses may evolve to resist the antiviral drug.


An antifungal drug is medication
A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.- Classification :...

 used to treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot
Athlete's foot
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, and itch of affected areas. It is caused by fungi in the genus Trichophyton and is typically transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses...

, ringworm, candidiasis
Thrush redirects here. For the hoof infection see Thrush .Candidiasis or thrush is a fungal infection of any of the Candida species , of which Candida albicans is the most common...

 (thrush), serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal
Cryptococcus is a genus of fungus. Species grow in culture as yeasts. The perfect forms or teleomorphs of Cryptococcus species are filamentous fungi in the genus Filobasidiella...

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs...

, and others.

Antifungals work by exploiting differences between mammalian and fungal cells to kill off the fungal organism without dangerous effects on the host. Unlike bacteria, both fungi and humans are eukaryote
A eukaryote is an organism whose cells contain complex structures enclosed within membranes. Eukaryotes may more formally be referred to as the taxon Eukarya or Eukaryota. The defining membrane-bound structure that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is the nucleus, or nuclear...

s. Thus, fungal and human cell
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

s are similar at the molecular level, making it more difficult to find a target for an antifungal drug to attack that does not also exist in the infected organism. Consequently, there are often side effects
Adverse effect (medicine)
In medicine, an adverse effect is a harmful and undesired effect resulting from a medication or other intervention such as surgery.An adverse effect may be termed a "side effect", when judged to be secondary to a main or therapeutic effect. If it results from an unsuitable or incorrect dosage or...

 to some of these drugs. Some of these side effects can be life-threatening if the drug is not used properly.
Antimicrobials and Home Mold remediation - Anti-fungal treatments are frequently sought-after to treat mold growth in damp or wet home materials that exhibit mold growth. Note that most home mold problems are moisture/water-caused and the solution for conquering the mold growth is most dependent upon the water/moisture control and removal/discarding of the mold-damaged materials. Cleaning mold-damaged materials may result in a visually acceptable appearance but most cleaning methods do not kill mold or prevent its return. For this reason, moisture management is the primary focus for mold prevention. Generally, Relative Humidity levels in the home above 54% will support mold growth on most cellulose containing materials (fabrics, carpeting and carpet backing, wood, paper, boxes, dust and lint). Mold also readily grows on most latex paints and leather.

Antimicrobials used in home remediation follow a variety of chemistry and functions. One common method of mold remediation utilizes Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking soda) as a blasting medium much in the way that sand is used to blast (clean) surfaces under the propulsion of compressed air. This 'Soda Blasting' makes a large cloud of dust that is pH Alkalai and its residue that permeates the wood and painted surfaces is also naturally antimicrobial as a result of the high pH and the presence of Sodium Bicarbonate. If used alone, repeated wetting can wash away the Sodium Bicarbonate residue and mold can return to the materials if the water source is not managed. Dry ice (frozen Carbon Dioxide (CO2)) is also used as a blasting agent where clean-up is more restrictive (i.e. attics) and while the dry ice blasting leaves no antimicrobial residue, it does prep the blasted surface to receive one as a secondary step. One popular, professional anti-microbial (Serum) is often applied after or without blasting by soda or dry ice and in one of its variants, is a mix of Hydrogen Peroxide and thin surface coating that neutralizes the mold (making it non-viable) and encapsulating the surface to prevent spore release. Other anti-microbial surface treatments typically contain variants of metals known to suppress mold growth; i.e. pigments or solutions involving Copper, Silver, Zinc or other metals (some of which can be toxic to humans if improperly applied). Most antimicrobial solutions are professionally applied and are not sold to the public.

Many people use either white vinegar or laundry bleach as an inexpensive anti-microbial solution. These liquids are best used in combination and they can be safely combined. When combined in equal amounts (i.e. 2 cups bleach + 2 cups vinegar in 2 gallons of warm water + 2 drops of dish soap), these make a solution known as "Acidified Bleach" and it is considerably more effective as an antimicroboial and as a disinfectant. On porous foundation surfaces, a secondary step of scrubbing with Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) or Spic-N-Span is capable of leaving behind a phosphate or carbonate reside that will be antimicrobial. The key to successful foundation cleaning with longer-lasting results hinges on leaving the cleaner residue on the wall and force-drying the area with a fan to drive off the water. Long-term success requires that the water source be corrected and that the area's relative humiidity be kept as far below 54% as possible.

Antimicrobials and paints - Kitchen and Bath paint formulations are often manufactured with the understanding that these areas are often cleaned and may experience elevated humidity levels from bathing/cooking. As a result, leading manufacturers often design Kitchen and Bath formulations to be less porous, more scrubable, and often, the paint formulation is adjusted to be more antimicrobial than other interior paints. During color mixing, some stores also offer the option of buying and adding an antimicrobial packet to the paint as a booster. It is ill-advised to use a normal latex paint on a foundation since this naturally moist area will readily cause mold to grow on latex. Foundation painting should be done with products designed for that purpose and when applied over virgin masonry, these products perform very well.


Antiparasitics are a class of medications which are indicated for the treatment of infection by parasites
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host . These are now called macroparasites...

, such as nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, infectious protozoa
Protozoa are a diverse group of single-cells eukaryotic organisms, many of which are motile. Throughout history, protozoa have been defined as single-cell protists with animal-like behavior, e.g., movement...

, and amoeba
Amoeba is a genus of Protozoa.History=The amoeba was first discovered by August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof in 1757. Early naturalists referred to Amoeba as the Proteus animalcule after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape...

e. Like antifungals, they must kill the infecting pest without serious damage to the host.

Non-pharmaceutical antimicrobials

A wide range of chemical and natural
Natural is an adjective that refers to Nature.Natural may refer too:In science and mathematics:* Natural transformation, category theory in mathematics* Natural foods...

 compounds are used as antimicrobials. Organic acids are used widely as antimicrobials in food products, e.g. lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

, citric acid
Citric acid
Citric acid is a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic, or sour, taste to foods and soft drinks...

, acetic acid
Acetic acid
Acetic acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH3CO2H . It is a colourless liquid that when undiluted is also called glacial acetic acid. Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar , and has a distinctive sour taste and pungent smell...

, and their salts, either as ingredients, or as disinfectants. For example, beef carcasses often are sprayed with acids, and then rinsed or steamed, to reduce the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7.

Traditional healers long have used plants to prevent or cure infectious disease. Many of these plants have been investigated scientifically for antimicrobial activity, and a large number of plant products have been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. A number of these agents appear to have structures and modes of action that are distinct from those of the antibiotics in current use, suggesting that cross-resistance
Cross-resistance is the tolerance to a usually toxic substance as a result of exposure to a similarly acting substance. It is a phenomenon affecting e.g. pesticides and antibiotics. As an example rifabutin and rifampin cross react in the treatment of tuberculosis. This sort of resistance is also...

 with agents already in use may be minimal. So, it is worthwhile to study plants and plant products for activity against resistant bacteria.
Copper-alloy surfaces have natural intrinsic properties to effectively and quickly destroy microbes, including
E. coli
Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms . Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls...

O157:H7, methicillin
Meticillin or methicillin is a narrow-spectrum beta-lactam antibiotic of the penicillin class. It should not be confused with the antibiotic metacycline.-History:Methicillin was developed by Beecham in 1959...

-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus is a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive coccal bacterium. It is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus is the most common species of...

(MRSA), Staphylococcus
Staphylococcus is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria. Under the microscope they appear round , and form in grape-like clusters....

, Clostridium difficile
Clostridium difficile
Clostridium difficile , also known as "CDF/cdf", or "C...

, influenza A virus, adenovirus
Adenoviruses are medium-sized , nonenveloped icosahedral viruses composed of a nucleocapsid and a double-stranded linear DNA genome...

, and fungi
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 has approved the registration of 355 different antibacterial copper alloys that kill E. coli O157:H7, methicillin
Meticillin or methicillin is a narrow-spectrum beta-lactam antibiotic of the penicillin class. It should not be confused with the antibiotic metacycline.-History:Methicillin was developed by Beecham in 1959...

-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus is a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive coccal bacterium. It is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus. S. aureus is the most common species of...

(MRSA), Staphylococcus
Staphylococcus is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria. Under the microscope they appear round , and form in grape-like clusters....

, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in less than 2 hours of contact. As a public hygienic measure in addition to regular cleaning, antimicrobial copper alloys are being installed in healthcare facilities and in a subway transit system.

Essential oils

The antimicrobial properties of 21 plant essential oils and two essences were investigated against five food-borne pathogens, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella enteriditis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. The oils of bay, cinnamon, clove and thyme were the most inhibitory, each having a bacteriostatic concentration of 0.075% or less against all five pathogens. ( A. Smith-Palmer, J. Stewart and L. Fyfe. Antimicrobial properties of plant essential oils and essences against five important food-borne pathogens. Letters in Applied Microbiology 1998. 26. 118-122)

Many essential oil
Essential oil
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils or aetherolea, or simply as the "oil of" the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove...

s are included in pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

s as having antimicrobial activity, including:
  • Cinnamon
    Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

  • Clove
    Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world...

     oil - stomatology
    Stomatology is the branch of medicine and dentistry relating to the mouth and mouth disease. It was practiced by physicians as a medical specialty in the early 20th century in the United States but these concerns are now largely handled by dentists....

  • Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

  • Garlic
    Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

  • Oregano oil
  • Lavender oil
    Lavender oil
    Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished, lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL; and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula...

  • Leleshwa
    Tarchonanthus camphoratus
    Tarchonanthus camphoratus , is a shrub or small tree, native to eastern and Southern Africa and Arabia....

  • Lemon
    The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

  • Lemon myrtle
    Lemon myrtle
    Backhousia citriodora is a flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae, genus Backhousia. It is endemic to subtropical rainforests of central and south-eastern Queensland, Australia, with a natural distribution from Mackay to Brisbane...

  • Mint
    Mentha is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae . The species are not clearly distinct and estimates of the number of species varies from 13 to 18. Hybridization between some of the species occurs naturally...

     oil - in medicine, cosmetics (tooth paste etc.)
  • Neem
    Azadirachta indica is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil...

  • Nigella sativa
    Nigella sativa
    Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to south and southwest Asia. It grows to tall, with finely divided, linear leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven...

     (Black cumin) oil Onion
    The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

     oil (Allium cepe) - phytoncides, in phytotherapy
    Phytotherapy is the study of the use of extracts from natural origin as medicines or health-promoting agents.Traditional phytotherapy is often used as synonym for herbalism and regarded as "alternative medicine" by much of Western medicine, although effects of many substances found in plants have...

  • Peppermint
    Peppermint is a hybrid mint, a cross between the watermint and spearmint . The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world...

  • Sandalwood
    Sandalwood is the name of a class of fragrant woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods they retain their fragrance for decades. As well as using the harvested and cut wood in-situ, essential oils are also extracted...

     oil - in cosmetics
  • Sideritis or Greek Mountain Tea
    Sideritis is a genus of flowering plants well known for their medicinal properties...

  • Tea tree oil
    Tea tree oil
    Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, is a pale yellow colour to nearly clear essential oil with a fresh camphoraceous odor. It is taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia...

     - in cosmetics, medicine
  • Thyme
    Thyme is a culinary and medicinal herb of the genus Thymus.-History:Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage...


Cations and elements

Many heavy metal cations such as Hg2+, Cu2+, and Pb2+ have antimicrobial activities, but are also very toxic to other living organisms, thus making them unsuitable for treating infectious diseases. Colloidal silver
Colloidal silver
The medical uses of silver include its incorporation into wound dressings to treat external infections, and its use as an antiseptic and disinfectant in medical appliances...

 is commonly used as an antimicrobial in alternative medicine without clear scientific proof of effectiveness. To keep surfaces clean, in addition to regular cleaning, antimicrobial copper-alloys are used in a wide range of products to kill E. coli O157:H7, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in less than 2 hours of contact.

External links

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