Background: The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of Dead Sea magnesium chloride (MgCl(2)), citrus oil, and their combination were investigated. Citrus oil is composed of monoterpenes, in particular D-limonene, which is known to inhibit growth of bacteria, fungi, and certain parasites.
Methods: Inhibition of Porphyromonas gingivalis in vitro was used to evaluate the antibacterial effect of a mixture of Dead Sea magnesium chloride and citrus oil and of each of the components. A subcutaneous chamber model in mice was used to assess the anti-inflammatory effect of the mixture and the individual components. Leukocyte migration, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) secretion, and interleukin (IL)-10 secretion were determined. Hydrocortisone was used as a positive control.
Results: Citrus oil had an antibacterial effect with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1 mg/ml, whereas MgCl(2) at concentrations up to 10 mg/ml did not exhibit any antibacterial activity. However, a mixture of 10 mg/ml MgCl(2) and 0.25 mg/ml citrus oil dramatically increased inhibition of bacterial growth. The combination of MgCl(2) and the citrus oil resulted in lower levels of TNF-alpha and leukocyte migration while maintaining the levels of IL-10 compared to the control.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that a mixture of citrus oil and MgCl(2) could be used as a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.