In vitro activity of essential oils extracted from plants used as spices against fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp

Can J Microbiol. 2008 Nov;54(11):950-6. doi: 10.1139/w08-097.


In the present study, the antifungal activity of selected essential oils obtained from plants used as spices was evaluated against both fluconazole-resistant and fluconazole-susceptible Candida spp. The Candida species studied were Candida albicans, Candida dubliniensis, Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, and Candida krusei. For comparison purposes, they were arranged in groups as C. albicans, C. dubliniensis, and Candida non-albicans. The essential oils were obtained from Cinnamomum zeylanicum Breyn, Lippia graveolens HBK, Ocimum basilicum L., Origanum vulgare L., Rosmarinus officinalis L., Salvia officinalis L., Thymus vulgaris L., and Zingiber officinale. The susceptibility tests were based on the M27-A2 methodology. The chemical composition of the essential oils was obtained by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy and by retention indices. The results showed that cinnamon, Mexican oregano, oregano, thyme, and ginger essential oils have different levels of antifungal activity. Oregano and ginger essential oils were found to be the most and the least efficient, respectively. The main finding was that the susceptibilities of fluconazole-resistant C. albicans, C. dubliniensis, and Candida non-albicans to Mexican oregano, oregano, thyme, and ginger essential oils were higher than those of the fluconazole-susceptible yeasts (P<0.05). In contrast, fluconazole-resistant C. albicans and Candida non-albicans were less susceptible to cinnamon essential oil than their fluconazole-susceptible counterparts (P<0.05). A relationship between the yeasts' susceptibilities and the chemical composition of the essential oils studied was apparent when these 2 parameters were compared. Finally, basil, rosemary, and sage essential oils did not show antifungal activity against Candida isolates at the tested concentrations.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal*
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Spices / analysis


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • Fluconazole