Chemical composition and antifungal activity of the essential oil of Origanum virens on Candida species

Planta Med. 2003 Sep;69(9):871-4. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-43203.


The composition and the antifungal activity of the essential oil of Origanum virens on Candida species were studied. The essential oil was obtained from the aerial parts of the plant by hydrodistillation and analyzed by GC and GC-MS. The oil was characterized by its high content of carvacrol (68.1 %) and its biogenetic precursors, gamma-terpinene (9.9 %) and p-cymene (4.5 %). The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimal lethal concentration (MLC) were used to evaluate the antifungal activity against Candida strains (7 clinical isolates and 3 ATCC type strains). The inhibition of germ tube formation and flow cytometry, using the fluorescent probe propidium iodide (PI), were used to evaluate their mechanisms of action. MIC and MLC values were similar for most tested strains, ranging from 0.16 to 0.32 microL/mL. Concentrations lower than MIC values strongly prevent germ tube formation. The fungicidal effect is primarily due to an extensive lesion of the membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candida / classification
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use
  • Origanum*
  • Phytotherapy*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • origanum oil