Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the medicinal plant Mentha cervina L. grown in Portugal
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Mentha cervina is a medicinal plant traditionally used in Portugal in folk medicine, in different gastric disorders and inflammations of the respiratory tract. In order to validate those traditional uses, M. cervina essential oils (EOs) were characterized by GC and GC–MS and their antimicrobial activity was tested against 23 bacterial strains (including multiresistant strains). The EOs were dominated by the monoterpenes pulegone (52–75%), isomenthone (8–24%), limonene (4–6%), and menthone (1–2%). The antibacterial activity of these EOs was compared to that of the main components standards. The most effective antibacterial activity was expressed by the EOs against the Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli and Acinetobacter baumanni, with MIC values of 1 mg/ml. The EOs complex mixtures were more active than the individual aromatic components supporting the hypothesis that the EOs antibacterial activity is a function of the synergistic effect of their different aromatic components. These results show the potential role of M. cervina EOs as antibacterial agents and validate the traditional use of this plant.