Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory and antifungal drugs
Background: Volatile oils obtained from lemon grass [Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf, Poaceae family] are used in traditional medicine as remedies for the treatment of various diseases.
Aims: In the present study, lemon grass essential oil (LGEO) was evaluated for its in vivo topical and oral antiinflammatory effects, and for its in vitro antifungal activity using both liquid and vapor phases.
Methods:The chemical profile ofLGEOas determined bygas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed twomajor components: geranial (42.2%), and neral (31.5%). The antifungal activity of LGEOwas evaluated against several pathogenic yeasts and filamentous fungi using disc diffusion and vapor diffusion methods.
Results: LGEO exhibited promising antifungal effect against Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, and Aspergillus niger, with different inhibition zone diameters (IZDs) (35-90 mm). IZD increased with increasing oil volume. Significantly, higher anti-Candida activity was observed in the vapor phase. For the evaluation of the antiinflammatory effect, LGEO (10 mg/kg, administered orally) significantly reduced carrageenan-induced paw edema with a similar effect to that observed for oral diclofenac (50 mg/kg), which was used as the positive control. Oral administration of LGEO showed dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity. In addition, topical application of LGEO in vivo resulted in a potent anti-inflammatory effect, as demonstrated by using the mouse model of croton oil-induced ear edema. To our knowledge, this is the first such report to be published. The topical application of LGEO at doses of 5 and 10 mL/ear significantly reduced acute ear edema induced by croton oil in 62.5 and 75% of the mice, respectively. In addition, histological analysis clearly confirmed that LGEO inhibits the skin inflammatory response in animal models.
Conclusion: Results of the present study indicate that LGEO has a noteworthy potential for the development of drugs for the treatment of fungal infections and skin inflammation that should be explored in future studies.
Keywords: lemon grass; essential oil; antifungal activity; anti-inflammatory effect; citral; aromatherapy