Plant extracts and essential oils (EOs) are characterized by their antibacterial properties against various bacterial pathogens, including staphylococci. Some strains of these bacteria are resistant against the adverse effects of the environment including antibiotics, e. g. methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). EOs alone cannot substitute for antibiotics but their treatment may be useful to intensify and strengthen the effects of antibiotics on pathogenic staphylococci. In this work, we tested the antibacterial effects of the essential oils of Mentha species with menthol as one of the effective substances against different strains of S. aureus. Two in vitro methods were used, the qualitative disc diffusion assay and the quantitative minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of selected essential oils. Peppermint oil from Mentha piperita, spearmint oil from Mentha spicata var. crispa and cornmint oil from Mentha arvensis were tested in this study against the various strains of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The oils were dissolved in DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) and diluted at the following ratios: 1 : 1, 1 : 2, 1 : 5, and 1 : 10. Based on the results determined by the agar disc diffusion test, the highest antibacterial properties were observed in spearmint oil against S. aureus CCM 4223 at 1 : 2 ratio where the inhibition zone varied at a range of 35.67 ± 6.81 mm. We determined also the MIC of all the oils where concentrations of the oils were as follows: 1 %; 0.5 %; 0.25 %; 0.125 % and 0.0625 %. The lowest concentrations of essential oils that possessed inhibitory effects on the growth of S. aureus varied between 0.125 % and 0.25 %.
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