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Juniper Berry Essential Oil and Candida

Juniper berry essential oil has an exceptionally pleasing aroma. It blends well with many other oils, and we like to use it in small amounts with oils like Pine, Black Spruce and Balsam Fir. But Juniper is more than just a fine aromatic – several scientific studies have noted its action against Candida fungus. Study: [...]

Juniper berry essential oil has an exceptionally pleasing aroma. It blends well with many other oils, and we like to use it in small amounts with oils like Pine, Black Spruce and Balsam Fir. But Juniper is more than just a fine aromatic – several scientific studies have noted its action against Candida fungus.

Study: Antimicrobial activity of juniper berry essential oil
Pepeljnjak S, Kosalec I, Kalodera Z, Blazevi? N.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Juniper essential oil (Juniperi aetheroleum) was obtained from the juniper berry, and the GC/MS analysis showed that the main compounds in the oil were alpha-pinene (29.17%) and beta-pinene (17.84%), sabinene (13.55%), limonene (5.52%), and mircene (0.33%). Juniper essential oil was evaluated for the antimicrobial activity against sixteen bacterial species, seven yeast-like fungi, three yeast and four dermatophyte strains. Juniper essential oil showed similar bactericidal activities against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species, with MIC values between 8 and 70% (V/V), as well as a strong fungicidal activity against yeasts, yeast-like fungi and dermatophytes, with MIC values below 10% (V/V). The strongest fungicidal activity was recorded against Candida spp. (MIC from 0.78 to 2%, V/V) and dermatophytes (from 0.39 to 2%, V/V).

Study: Antifungal activity of Juniperus essential oils against dermatophyte, Aspergillus and Candida strains.
Cavaleiro C, Pinto E, Gonçalves MJ, Salgueiro L.
Laboratory Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy/CEF, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.

AIMS: The increasing resistance to antifungal compounds and the reduced number of available drugs led us to search therapeutic alternatives among aromatic plants and their essential oils, empirically used by antifungal proprieties. In this work the authors report on the antifungal activity of Juniperus essential oils (Juniperus communis ssp. alpina, J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus and J. turbinata). METHODS AND RESULTS: Antifungal activity was evaluated by determination of MIC and MLC values, using a macrodilution method (NCCLS protocols), on clinical and type strains of Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophytes. The composition of the oils was ascertained by GC and GC/MS analysis. All essential oils inhibited test dermatophyte strains. The oil from leaves of J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus is the most active, with MIC and MLC values ranging from 0.08-0.16 microl ml(-1) to 0.08-0.32 microl ml(-1), respectively. This oil is mainly composed of alpha-pinene (65.5%) and delta-3-carene (5.7%).

CONCLUSIONS: J. oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus leaf oil proved to be an emergent alternative as antifungal agent against dermatophyte strains. delta-3-Carene, was shown to be a fundamental compound for this activity.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Results support that essential oils or some of their constituents may be useful in the clinical management of fungal infections, justifying future clinical trials to validate their use as therapeutic alternatives for dermatophytosis.

Editor’s note: Geranium essential oil (asperum species) is also considered a potent antimicrobial against the Candida fungus.

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