Alternative treatment of vaginal infections – in vitro antimicrobial and toxic effects of Coriandrum sativum L. and Thymus vulgaris L. essential oils

J Appl Microbiol. 2015 Sep;119(3):697-710. doi: 10.1111/jam.12883. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Aims: The aims of study were to examine the antibacterial potential of two commercial essential oils (EOs) from coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) against vaginal clinical strains of bacteria and yeast and their chemical composition.

Methods and results: Antimicrobial activities of commercial essential oils were determined using macro-diffusion (disc, well) and micro-dilution method in 96-well micro plates against twelve clinical strains of bacteria: Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus sp., Staph. aureus ATCC 25923, ATCC 6538 and E. coli 25922 and two clinical Candida albicans strains, including ATTC 10231. Spectrophotometric method was used for determination on C. albicans growth. An antimicrobial effect of EOs was strain specific. Bactericidal activity was higher for coriander EO (minimal inhibitory concentration (MICs) 0·4-45·4 μl ml(-1)) against almost all tested bacteria, except multiple resistant strains of Eneterococcus sp. and Proteus sp. Thyme EO showed slightly better fungicidal activity reaching MIC at 0·11 mg ml(-1) for all C. albicans strains. The effect of EOs on biofilm-forming ability was tested for two strains of Staph. aureus and E. coli, as well as on C. albicans filamentation ability. Brine shrimp lethality bioassay revealed thymus oil total toxicity and coriander oil intoxicity (LC50 = 2·25 mg ml(-1)). The chemical composition of oils was analysed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry showing oxygenated monoterepenes as dominant constituents.

Conclusions: The results provide in-vitro scientific support for the safety possible use of Coriander EO against E. coli, Staph. aureus and C. albicans vaginal infections in alternative gynaecological treatment.

Significance and impact of study: To examine EOs as possible constituent of naturally based antimicrobial agents in vaginaletes for safety gynaecological application.

Keywords: Artemia salina; Coriandrum sativum L., cytotoxicity; EOs; antimicrobial activity; infection; vaginal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Artemia / drug effects
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biological Assay
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Candida albicans / physiology
  • Coriandrum / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Thymus Plant / chemistry*
  • Vaginal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Vaginal Diseases / microbiology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Oils, Volatile