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Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of orally administered Cymbopogon citratus, Zingiber officinale and Syzygium aromaticum essential oils (EOs) in mice infected with Trypanosoma cruzi.
Methods: Three experiments were conducted with 48 Swiss mice each. The animals were inoculated with 2 x 106 metacyclic trypomastigotes of T. Cruzi Y-strain and allocated into the following groups (N = 12): 1) untreated control; 2) treated with benznidazole (BZ); 3) treated with EO 100 mg/kg; and 4) treated with EO 250 mg/kg. The groups were evaluated by fresh blood test, blood culture, conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR and cure rate (CR).
Results: All the animals were completely infected with T. cruzi. Treatment with C. citratus and Z. officinale EOs altered some of the parameters derived from the parasitemia curve, but CRs did not differ from BZ. Treatment with S. Aromaticum EO, on the other hand, not only altered all the parameters derived from the parasitemia curve, similar to BZ, but at the dose of 100 mg/kg, CR was also significantly higher than BZ.
Conclusion: The results indicate that the essential oils tested, especially S. aromaticum, exhibited anti- Trypanosoma cruzi effect and therefore should be investigated for the treatment of Chagas disease.
Keywords: Chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, Cymbopogon citratus, Zingiber officinale, Syzygium aromaticum, Essential oils, Chemotherapy