Background: Helicobacter pylori is an important pathogen responsible for gastroduodenal diseases in humans. Although the eradication of H. pylori using antibiotics often improves gastroduodenal diseases, resistance to the antibiotics is emerging.
Materials and methods: The antimicrobial effect of essential oils and the development of resistance to the essential oils were evaluated in vitro and in vivo.
Results: Thirteen essential oils used in this study completely inhibited the growth of H. pylori in vitro at a concentration of 0.1% (v/v). Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass) and Lippia citriodora (lemon verbena) were bactericidal against H. pylori at 0.01% at pH 4.0 and 5.0. Resistance to lemongrass did not develop even after 10 sequential passages, whereas resistance to clarithromycin developed under the same conditions. In in vivo studies, the density of H. pylori in the stomach of mice treated with lemongrass was significantly reduced compared with untreated mice.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that the essential oils are bactericidal against H. pylori without the development of acquired resistance, suggesting that essential oils may have potential as new and safe agents for inclusion in anti-H. pylori regimens.