Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities of essential oils from five selected herbs

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(10):1977-83. doi: 10.1271/bbb.110377. Epub 2011 Oct 7.


Eucalyptus bridgesiana, Cymbopogon martinii, Thymus vulgaris, Lindernia anagallis, and Pelargonium fragrans are five species of herbs used in Asia. Their essential oils were analyzed by GC-MS, and a total of 36 components were detected. The results of our study indicated that, except for the essential oil of P. fragrans, all of the essential oils demonstrated obvious antimicrobial activity against a broad range of microorganisms. The C. martinii essential oil, which is rich in geraniol, was the most effective antimicrobial additive. All of the essential oils demonstrated antioxidant activities on 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging assay, β-carotene/linoleic acid assay, and nitric oxide radical scavenging assay. Furthermore, the T. vulgaris essential oil, which possesses plentiful thymol, exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. For P. acnes-induced secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the essential oils of P. aeruginosa, C. martinii, and T. vulgaris reduced the TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-8 secretion levels of THP-1 cells.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase / metabolism
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / analysis
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors / analysis
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Magnoliopsida / chemistry*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / analysis
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipoxygenase Inhibitors
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase