Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) extracts: Potential therapeutic benefits for periodontal infections

Anaerobe. 2020 Feb:61:102089. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2019.102089. Epub 2019 Aug 17.


Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a traditional aromatic plant for which several pharmacological properties have been associated. In this study, the antibacterial activity of two cardamom extracts (fruit and seeds), rich in volatile compounds, against major periodontal pathogens was evaluated. Moreover, the ability of the extracts to exert anti-inflammatory activity was tested. Both cardamom fruit and seed extracts exerted an antibacterial effect against Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and Prevotella intermedia (minimum inhibitory concentrations: 0.5% [v/v], 0.25%, 0.062%, 0.125%, respectively and minimum bactericidal concentrations: 1%, 0.25%, 0.062%, 0.25%, respectively). The cell membrane of P. gingivalis was disrupted by a treatment with cardamom extracts suggesting the bactericidal mode of action. The extracts also inhibited biofilm formation although it correlated with a growth reduction. Moreover, the cardamom extracts significantly decreased the secretion of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-8 by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated macrophages. Evidence were brought that the anti-inflammatory activity may result from inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway. This study is the first to provide evidence that cardamom fruit and seed extracts through their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may be therapeutic agents of interest against periodontal infections.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Antibacterial agents; Cardamom; Essential oil; Macrophages; Periodontal disease.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Elettaria / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Periodontitis / diagnosis
  • Periodontitis / drug therapy
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts