Evandri MG, Battinelli L, Daniele C, Mastrangelo S, Bolle P, Mazzanti G
Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2005
Essential oils from Melaleuca alternifolia (tea-tree oil) and Lavandula angustifolia (lavender oil) are commonly used to treat minor health problems. Tea-tree oil possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, and is increasingly used for skin problems. Lavender oil, traditionally used as an antiseptic agent, is now predominantly used as a relaxant, carminative, and sedative in aromatherapy. Despite their growing use no data are available on their mutagenic potential. In this study, after determining the chemical composition of tea-tree oil and lavender oil, by gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry, we investigated their mutagenic and antimutagenic activities by the bacterial reverse mutation assay in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 strains and in Escherichia coli WP2 uvrA strain, with and without an extrinsic metabolic activation system. Neither essential oil had mutagenic activity on the two tested Salmonella strains or on E. coli, with or without the metabolic activation system. Conversely, lavender oil exerted strong antimutagenic activity, reducing mutant colonies in the TA98 strain exposed to the direct mutagen 2-nitrofluorene. Antimutagenicity was concentration-dependent: the maximal concentration (0.80 mg/plate) reduced the number of histidine-independent revertant colonies by 66.4%. Lavender oil (0.80 mg/plate) also showed moderate antimutagenicity against the TA98 strain exposed to the direct mutagen 1-nitropyrene. Its antimutagenic property makes lavender oil a promising candidate for new applications in human healthcare.
Evandri MG, Battinelli L, Daniele C, et al. The antimutagenic activity of Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil in the bacterial reverse mutation assay. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005;43(9):1381-1387.