Chemical composition, antioxidant, antimicrobial and Antiproliferative activities of essential oil of Mentha spicata L. (Lamiaceae) from Algerian Saharan atlas

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jul 3;18(1):201. doi: 10.1186/s12906-018-2274-x.


Background: Mentha spicata (M. spicata) is a member of Lamiaceae that spreads mainly in the temperate and sub-temperate zones of the world. It is considered as a rich source of essential oils, which is widely used in pharmaceutical industries and food production. The objectives of the current study were to evaluate chemical composition, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities associated with the essential oil of M. spicata cultivated in Algerian Saharan Atlas.

Methods: The aerial parts of M. spicata were subjected to hydrodistillation to produce the oil. Chemical identification of the oil composition was conducted by GC and GC-MS analyses. The antioxidant activity of the hydrodistilled oil was studied using DPPH, ABTS radical scavenging and ferric-reducing power assay. Antimicrobial potential was characterized against two microorganisms, signifying Gram positive, and Gram negative bacteria, and one Candida species. The microdilution method was employed to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The oil's antiproliferative effects against three human tumor cell lines were also investigated using the MTT assay, and the toxic doses that yielded 50% reduction of cell viability (LD50) were reported.

Results: Chemical analysis of the essential oil composition revealed 44 unique compounds with oxygenated monoterpenes (67.2%), followed by monoterpene hydrocarbons (20.8%), as the most abundant chemical components. Essential oil of M. spicata demonstrated moderate antioxidant activities as well as moderate to weak antimicrobial activities with best susceptibility observed for Gram positive bacteria towards the oil. In addition, anticancer activities that are associated with the oil against three human cancer cell lines were observed with LD50 values of 324 μg/mL, 279 μg/mL, 975 μg/mL against T47D, HCT-116 and MCF-7 cell lines, respectively.

Conclusion: The results suggest that M. spicata essential oil may have potential value as a bioactive oil, for nutraceutical and medical applications, with its antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiproliferative activities.

Keywords: Antimicrobial; Antioxidant; Antiproliferative; Chemical composition; Essential oil; M. spicata.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Northern
  • Algeria
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants* / chemistry
  • Antioxidants* / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mentha spicata / drug effects*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile* / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils