Antibacterial and antifungal activity of juniper berry oil and its selected components

Phytother Res. 2003 Mar;17(3):227-31. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1110.


Juniper berry oil is stated to possess a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities and its monographs are included in some National Pharmacopoeias. The antibacterial and antifungal activity of the oil was reported by some authors. In our study we estimated the antibacterial and antifungal activity of three different juniper berry oils and their main components. All the micro-organisms used in this experiment were isolated from patients of Regional Hospital of Gdańsk and some of them showed resistance against commonly used antibiotics. Only one of the oils (labelled A) revealed good antimicrobial properties. None of the single oil components was a stronger antibacterial and antifungal inhibitor than the oil A itself. Our data suggest that the antimicrobial activity of juniper oil A is the result of either the specific composition of the oil A (highest concentration of (-)-alpha-pinene, p-cymene and beta-pinene) or activity of a single non-identified compound. The presence of an adulterant in the oil was excluded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds / pharmacology
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Cymenes
  • Fruit
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Juniperus*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Terpenes / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds
  • Cymenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • 4-cymene
  • beta-pinene
  • alpha-pinene