Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory and antifungal drugs

Libyan J Med. 2014 Sep 19;9:25431. doi: 10.3402/ljm.v9.25431. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Background: Volatile oils obtained from lemon grass [Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf, Poaceae family] are used in traditional medicine as remedies for the treatment of various diseases.

Aims: In the present study, lemon grass essential oil (LGEO) was evaluated for its in vivo topical and oral anti-inflammatory effects, and for its in vitro antifungal activity using both liquid and vapor phases.

Methods: The chemical profile of LGEO as determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed two major components: geranial (42.2%), and neral (31.5%). The antifungal activity of LGEO was evaluated against several pathogenic yeasts and filamentous fungi using disc diffusion and vapor diffusion methods.

Results: LGEO exhibited promising antifungal effect against Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, and Aspergillus niger, with different inhibition zone diameters (IZDs) (35-90 mm). IZD increased with increasing oil volume. Significantly, higher anti-Candida activity was observed in the vapor phase. For the evaluation of the anti-inflammatory effect, LGEO (10 mg/kg, administered orally) significantly reduced carrageenan-induced paw edema with a similar effect to that observed for oral diclofenac (50 mg/kg), which was used as the positive control. Oral administration of LGEO showed dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity. In addition, topical application of LGEO in vivo resulted in a potent anti-inflammatory effect, as demonstrated by using the mouse model of croton oil-induced ear edema. To our knowledge, this is the first such report to be published. The topical application of LGEO at doses of 5 and 10 µL/ear significantly reduced acute ear edema induced by croton oil in 62.5 and 75% of the mice, respectively. In addition, histological analysis clearly confirmed that LGEO inhibits the skin inflammatory response in animal models.

Conclusion: RESULTS of the present study indicate that LGEO has a noteworthy potential for the development of drugs for the treatment of fungal infections and skin inflammation that should be explored in future studies.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory effect; antifungal activity; aromatherapy; citral; essential oil; lemon grass.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspergillus niger / drug effects
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Candida tropicalis / drug effects
  • Cymbopogon / chemistry*
  • Ear
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Edema / pathology
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Mice
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology

Substances

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils