, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 2227-2238
Date: 06 Aug 2009

Biological activities of the essential oils and methanol extract of tow cultivated mint species (Mentha longifolia and Mentha pulegium) used in the Tunisian folkloric medicine

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The composition of the essential oils and methanolic extracts of two cultivated mint species (M. longifolia and M. pulegium), as well as the in vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of the essential oil and methanol extract of Mentha longifolia and Mentha pulegium were compared. GC-MS analysis of the essential oil identified 41 compounds constituting 96.66 and 96.13% of the total oil from M. longifolia and M. pulegium, respectively. The later oils were rich on pulegone (47.15 and 61.11%, respectively). Moreover, 1,8 cineole (11.54%), menthone (10.7%), α-pinene (3.57%), α-terpineol (3.17%) and d-cadinene (3.53%) were only present in M. longifolia oil, while isomenthone (17.02%), and piperitone (2.63%), were characteristic of M. pulegium oil. Shoot extract of the two species showed significantly different contents in total polyphenols (89.1 and 37.41 mg GAE/g DW), flavonoids (63.93 and 33.83 mg CE/g DW) and tannins (1.47 and 3.07 mg CE/g DW), respectively in M. longifolia and M. pulegium. The essential oils showed strong antimicrobial activity against all 16 microorganisms tested, whereas the methanol extracts were inactive. Moreover, the essential oils showed higher antioxidant activity than the methanolic extracts against the DPPH and superoxide radical scavenging. In fact, antioxidant activities of the oils were the same for both M. longifolia and M. pulegium against DPPH (IC50 = 9 and 10 μg/ml, respectively) and 2-fold and 4-fold higher than shoot extracts (IC50 = 20 and 48 μg/ml, respectively). Moreover, both oils showed the same antioxidative abilities as compared to the positive control (butylated hydroxytoluene). In the same way, the capacity to inhibit superoxide anion was very significant for the two oils (0.1 μg/ml for M. longifolia and 0.11 μg/ml for M. pulegium).