Study: tea tree and coconut vinegar for inhibiting biofilm growth and killing G. vaginalis

This study looked at 58 isolates of Gardnerella vaginalis, the main bacteria identified in association with bacterial vaginosis, using tea tree and coconut vinegar solution in a lab. Out of the 58 isolates, 38 strains created biofilms, so the researchers tested these strains.

Study into tea tree and coconut vinegar results

Ten of the strains tested with tea tree oil had biofilms inhibited – that is, the growth of biofilm was inhibited, but they did not test its ability to break down a biofilm that was already there, which is an important difference – and the vinegar inhibited 11 of the 38 strains.

That is about a 25-30 per cent success rate in only inhibiting the biofilms. This is useful, but bacterial vaginosis requires the breakdown of an existing biofilm, so any testing needs to state this specifically, otherwise the solutions may be useful only at preventing an infection, rather than treating an existing biofilm.

In terms of the tea tree oil and coconut vinegars’ success rate at killing the planktonic bacteria in the lab, the tea tree oil killed 74 per cent of the G. vaginalis strains and the coconut vinegar killed 80 per cent.

Conclusions of the study

Tea tree oil and coconut vinegar may be somewhat useful in certain dilutions at inhibiting biofilm formation and killing planktonic bacteria, particularly G. vaginalis, but they were not tested for their ability to dissolve a biofilm that currently exists.


  • International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology, Volume-8, Issue-2, April-June-2017 Coden IJABFP-CAS-USA DOI: 10.21276/Ijabpt,, ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIBIOFILM ACTIVITY OF TEA TREE OIL AND COCONUT VINEGAR AGAINST GARDNERELLA VAGINALIS. Kumari Nisha and and Beena Antony

Original price was: USD $9.95.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Original price was: USD $9.99.Current price is: USD $0.00. ex GST/VAT/TAX
Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)