Citrus oil and MgCl2 as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents

J Periodontol. 2006 Jun;77(6):963-8. doi: 10.1902/jop.2006.050278.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Interleukin-10 / analysis
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Magnesium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / drug effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Plant Oils
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Interleukin-10