Protective activity of geranium oil and its component, geraniol, in combination with vaginal washing against vaginal candidiasis in mice

Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Aug;31(8):1501-6. doi: 10.1248/bpb.31.1501.


In order to evaluate an effective administration method of essential oils for vaginal candidiasis, efficacy of vaginal application of essential oils against murine experimental candidiasis was investigated. The effect on vaginal inflammation and Candida growth form was also studied. Vaginal candidiasis was established by intravaginal infection of C. albicans to estradiol-treated mice. These mice intravaginally received essential oils such as geranium and tea tree singly or in combination with vaginal washing. Vaginal administration of clotrimazole significantly decreased the number of viable C. albicans cells in the vaginal cavity by itself. In contrast, these essential oils did not lower the cell number. When application of geranium oil or geraniol was combined with vaginal washing, the cell number was decreased significantly. The myeloperoxidase activity assay exhibited the possibility that essential oils worked not only to reduce the viable cell number of C. albicans, but also to improve vaginal inflammation. The smear of vaginal washing suspension suggested that more yeast-form cells appeared in vaginal smears of these oil-treated mice than in control mice. In vitro study showed that a very low concentration (25 microg/ml) of geranium oil and geraniol inhibited mycelial growth, but not yeast growth. Based on these findings, it is estimated that vaginal application of geranium oil or its main component, geraniol, suppressed Candida cell growth in the vagina and its local inflammation when combined with vaginal washing.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / pathology
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / therapy*
  • Clotrimazole / therapeutic use
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Female
  • Geranium / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mycelium / drug effects
  • Mycelium / growth & development
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Terpenes / administration & dosage
  • Terpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Vagina / drug effects
  • Vagina / microbiology
  • Vagina / physiology*


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Peroxidase
  • Clotrimazole
  • geraniol