Plants belonging to Melaleuca genus (Myrtaceae family) are native to Oceania, where they have been used for ages by Aborigine people in Australian traditional medicine, mainly because of their broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Although, M. linariifolia, M. dissitiflora, and other species of Melaleuca can also be used, the tea tree oil, an essential oil obtained from M. alternifolia shows the longest history of medicinal uses. Tea tree oil contains for the 80-90% several monoterpenes (terpinen-4-ol, α-terpinene, 1,8-cineol, p-cymene, α-terpineol, α-pinene, terpinolene, limonene, and sabinene). Sesquiterpenes and aromatic compounds further compose this oil. The essential oil of Melaleuca spp. has been reported to possess effective antibacterial and antifungal properties in vitro. In particular, data show that 1,8-cineol, terpinen-4-ol and methyl eugenol play the key role in mediating this oil's antimicrobial activity. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Keywords: Australian traditional medicine; Myrtaceae; methyl eugenol; tea tree oil; terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-cineol.
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.