Comparative Study on the Antiviral Activity of Selected Monoterpenes Derived from Essential Oils

Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Phytotherapy Research (Impact Factor: 2.66). 11/2009; 24(5):673-9. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2955
Source: PubMed


Essential oils are complex natural mixtures, their main constituents, e.g. terpenes and phenylpropanoids, being responsible for their biological properties. Essential oils from eucalyptus, tea tree and thyme and their major monoterpene compounds alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, alpha-pinene, p-cymene, terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, thymol, citral and 1,8-cineole were examined for their antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in vitro. These essential oils were able to reduce viral infectivity by >96%, the monoterpenes inhibited HSV by about >80%. The mode of antiviral action has been determined, only moderate antiviral effects were revealed by essential oils and monoterpenes when these drugs were added to host cells prior to infection or after entry of HSV into cells. However, both essential oils and monoterpenes exhibited high anti-HSV-1 activity by direct inactivation of free virus particles. All tested drugs interacted in a dose-dependent manner with herpesvirus particles thereby inactivating viral infection. Among the analysed compounds, monoterpene hydrocarbons were slightly superior to monoterpene alcohols in their antiviral activity, alpha-pinene and alpha-terpineol revealed the highest selectivity index. However, mixtures of different monoterpenes present in natural tea tree essential oil revealed a ten-fold higher selectivity index and a lower toxicity than its isolated single monoterpenes.

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Available from: Akram Astani, Jan 14, 2016
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    • "The volatile oil components of EOs are chemically derived from terpenes, and their oxygenated derivatives , terpenoids, which are aromatic and aliphatic acid esters and phenolic compounds (Solórzano-Santos and Miranda-Novales, 2012). Worldwide, EOs have been considered as alternatives to treat infectious diseases and agents and several EOs have documented to possess pharmacologically important activities like antibacterial, antifungal (Freires et al., 2014; Zeidán-Chuliá et al., 2014; Joycharat et al., 2014; Khan et al., 2012; Safaei-Ghomi and Ahd, 2010) and antiviral (Astani et al., 2010) properties. Unlike conventional antibiotics that target a single pathway, EOs target several processes in a microbial cell because of the heterogeneous groups of chemical compounds present in them. "
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