Tea tree oil (TTO) is a popular topical used to treat skin infections. However, its poor aqueous solubility and stability have substantially limited its widespread application, including oral administration that might be therapeutic for enteric infections. In this study, mechanical ultrasonic methods were used to prepare TTO nanoemulsion (nanoTTO) with a mean droplet diameter of 161.80 nm ± 3.97, polydispersity index of 0.21 ± 0.01, and zeta potential of -12.33 ± 0.72 mV. The potential toxicity of nanoTTO was assessed by studying the oral median lethal dose (LD50) and repeated 28-day oral toxicity to provide a reference for in vivo application. Results showed that nanoTTO had no phase separation under a centrifugation test and displayed good stability during storage at -20, 4 and 25 °C over 60 days. Repeated-dose 28-day oral toxicity evaluation revealed no significant effects on growth and behavior. Assessments of hematology, clinical biochemistry, and histopathology indicated no obvious adverse effects in mice at 50, 100 and 200 mg/mL. These data suggest that nanoTTO can be considered a potential antimicrobial agent by oral administration due to its inhibitory effect on bacteria and relatively lower toxicity.
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