Therapeutic Applications of Essential Oils from Native and Cultivated Ecuadorian Plants: Cutaneous Candidiasis and Dermal Anti-Inflammatory Activity

Molecules. 2023 Aug 5;28(15):5903. doi: 10.3390/molecules28155903.


Essential oils are a complex mixture of aromatic substances whose pharmacological actions, including antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activities, have been widely reported. This study aimed to evaluate the anti-Candida and dermal anti-inflammatory activity of essential oils from native and cultivated Ecuadorian plants. Essential oils from Bursera graveolens, Dacryodes peruviana, Mespilodaphne quixos, and Melaleuca armillaris were isolated by hydrodistillation and were characterized physically and chemically. Its tolerance was analyzed by in vitro and in vivo studies. The antifungal activity was studied against Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, and Candida parapsilosis, whereas the anti-inflammatory effect was evaluated by a mouse ear edema model. The main compounds were limonene, α-phellandrene, (E)-methyl cinnamate, and 1,8-cineole, respectively. All essential oils showed high tolerability for skin application, antifungal activity against the three Candida strains, and anti-inflammatory efficacy by decreasing edema and overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Dacryodes peruviana essential oil showed the highest antifungal activity. On the other hand, Dacryodes peruviana and Melaleuca armillaris showed the greatest anti-inflammatory potential, decreasing edema by 53.3% and 65.25%, respectively, and inhibiting the overexpression of TNF-α, IL-8, IL-17A, and IL-23. The results suggest that these essential oils could be used as alternative therapies in the treatment of both cutaneous candidiasis and dermal inflammation.

Keywords: Bursera graveolens; Candida albicans; Candida glabrata; Candida parapsilosis; Dacryodes peruviana; Melaleuca armillaris; Mespilodaphne quixos; essential oil; skin inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Candida
  • Candida albicans
  • Candidiasis* / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis* / microbiology
  • Ecuador
  • Mice
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Oils, Volatile* / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry


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

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.