Antibiotic resistance is an increasing crisis within the healthcare industry. Antibiotics used to eliminate bacterial infections in humans are often in the form of synthetic chemicals. When a new antibiotic is introduced to humans, it takes an average of three years for bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotic, due to improper use of antibiotics. Essential oils are naturally occurring organic compounds that are extracted from plants and have been recognized by the homeopathic community as potential alternatives for pharmaceutical treatment. Several essential oils exhibit similar properties to antibiotics in that they are able to prevent the further growth of bacteria. Using the Kirby-Bauer Disk Diffusion Susceptibility Test Protocol, three essential oils were tested for their ability to prevent bacterial growth. Essential oils tested included lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), oregano (Origanum vulgare) and lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus). Each essential oil was tested with a Gram-negative bacterium (Escherichia coli) and a Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus epidermidis). The antibiotic amoxicillin was used as a positive control to compare the effectiveness of essential oils. Each experiment was completed with five replicates per treatment group. The results for the ANOVA (SPSS version 27) showed a significant difference in the average zone of inhibitions for each essential oil (F=66.844, sig.=0.000). Lemongrass essential oil was excluded from the ANOVA as it promoted growth. A Tukey post-hoc test was completed and revealed that lavender and amoxicillin performed similarly, while oregano performed more effectively than both lavender and amoxicillin. This experiment demonstrates that essential oils can just as effective or more effective than antibiotics for both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Further research is needed to determine which organic compound is responsible for the antibiotic properties of essential oils as there are multiple compounds in essential oils. Once these compounds have been identified and isolated, their use in pharmaceutical applications can further researched.

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