Malassezia furfur is a lipodependent, dimorphic and saprophyte fungus which causes pityriasis versicolor, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis in humans. The drugs available to treat this fungal infection are few. These drugs are highly toxic and are costly when used in prolonged treatments. For these reasons, it is necessary to find new compounds to treat these infections. Ilex paraguariensis St Hilaire is a plant that grows in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the aqueous extract of Ilex paraguariensis on the growth of M. furfur. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was employed to identify and isolate compounds of I. paraguariensis and the agar-well diffusion method was used to assess the antifungal activity of the extract. The fungicidal/fungistatic effect was evaluated by the modified Thompson assay. The results demonstrated that the aqueous extract of Ilex paraguariensis (1000 mg/ml) possesses inhibitory activity against M. furfur. This antimalassezial activity was equivalent to 2.7 microg/ml of ketoconazole. Therefore, the topical use of Ilex paraguariensis extract as alternative antifungal agent can be suggested.
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