Oil of bitter orange: new topical antifungal agent

Ramadan W, Mourad B, Ibrahim S, Sonbol F
International Journal of Dermatology, 1996


Superficial dermatophyte infection is one of the most common dermatologic diseases. Some of these infections are extremely resistant to therapy.

Sixty patients participated in this study; they were classified into three groups (20 patients in each). All groups had comparable numbers of patients with tinea corporis, cruris, and pedis. Group 1 was treated with a 25% emulsion of oil of bitter orange (OBO) three times daily; group 2 was treated with 20% OBO in alcohol three times daily and group 3 was treated with pure OBO, once daily. Clinical and mycologic examinations were performed before therapy and every week until a complete cure had occurred.

In group 1, 80% of patients were cured in 1 to 2 weeks and 20% in 2 to 3 weeks. In group 2, 50% were cured in 1 to 2 weeks, 30% in 2 to 3 weeks and 20% in 3 to 4 weeks. In group 3, 25% of patients did not continue the trial. Of the remaining patients, 33.3% were cured in one week, 60% in 1 to 2 weeks, and 6.7% in 2 to 3 weeks. Oil of bitter orange produced no side effects except mild irritation seen with the use of the pure form.

An in vitro study showed that OBO (natural product) exerts fungistatic and fungicidal activity against a variety of pathogenic dermatophyte species. It is a promising, cheap, and available topical antifungal therapeutic agent.


Ramadan W, Mourad B, Ibrahim S, et al. Oil of bitter orange: new topical antifungal agent. Int J Dermatol. 1996;35(6):448-449.

[maxbutton id=”1049″]