Trypanocidal action of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) against Trypanosoma evansi in vitro and in vivo used mice as experimental model

Exp Parasitol. 2014 Jun:141:21-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2014.03.007. Epub 2014 Mar 19.


This study aimed to evaluate the Trypanosoma evansi susceptibility to tea tree oil (TTO - Melaleuca alternifolia) and tea tree oil nanocapsules (TTO nanocapsules) in vitro and in vivo tests. In vitro, we observed a mortality curve of trypomastigotes proportional to dose, i.e., the TTO and TTO nanocapsules have trypanocidal effect. Treatment with TTO in vivo was assessed in experiments (I and II). For Experiment I, T. evansi infected mice were treated with TTO and/or combinations of essential oil with chemotherapy (diminazene aceturate - D.A.). Treatment with TTO at a dose of 1mLkg(-1) was able to extend animal longevity, but had no curative efficacy. However, when TTO was combined with D.A. a disease curative efficacy of 100% for disease was observed, a much better result than the D.A. treatment (33.3%). In Experiment II, T. evansi infected mice were treated with TTO nanocapsules with doses of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9mLkg(-1). Animals treated with 0.9mLkg(-1) showed higher longevity however without curative effect. Active compounds present in natural products, such as M. alternifolia, may potentiate the treatment of trypanosomosis when associated with other trypanocidal drugs.

Keywords: TTO; Trypanocidal effect; Trypanosoma evansi.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nanocapsules
  • Rats
  • Tea Tree Oil / administration & dosage
  • Tea Tree Oil / chemistry
  • Tea Tree Oil / pharmacology*
  • Tea Tree Oil / therapeutic use
  • Trypanocidal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Trypanocidal Agents / chemistry
  • Trypanocidal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Trypanocidal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Trypanosoma / drug effects*
  • Trypanosomiasis / drug therapy*


  • Nanocapsules
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • Tea Tree Oil