Anti-candidal activity of essential oils alone and in combination with amphotericin B or fluconazole against multi-drug resistant isolates of Candida albicans

Med Mycol. 2012 Jan;50(1):33-42. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2011.582890. Epub 2011 Jul 15.


Therapy for candidiasis is becoming problematic due to the toxicities of currently available antifungal agents and the increasing prevalence of resistance among the etiologic agents. Therefore, new antifungals and alternative approaches are needed. In this study, 20 fluconazole-resistant strains of Candida albicans were found to have varying levels of resistance to other azoles, i.e., itraconazole (MIC of 4-128 μg/ml) and ketoconazole (2-256 μg/ml). In addition, 13 of these isolates appeared resistant to amphotericin B (32-128 μg/ml). A total of 21 plant essential oils were screened for their antifungal activity against these multi-drug resistant isolates. The oils of Cymbopogon martini, i.e., citral and cinnamaldehyde, exhibited strong inhibitory activity with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC(50)) ranging from 90-100 μg/ml. The test oils were more effective than fluconazole and amphotericin B in inhibiting azole- and amphotericin B-resistant, as well as amphotericin B-susceptible isolates. The test oils and especially eugenol, exhibited significant synergy with fluconazole or amphotericin B against the test isolates. These findings suggest the possible effective use of certain oils alone or in combination with fluconazole or amphotericin B, against multi-drug resistant isolates of C. albicans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Cymbopogon / chemistry*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Fungal / drug effects*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Amphotericin B
  • Fluconazole