Leishmaniasis remains as one of the most important neglected diseases in the world and, after all these years, its treatment is still a problem, mainly because of the side effects caused by the first- and second-line drugs and the indiscriminate treatment, which leads to increasing cases of parasite resistance. The search for alternative therapies for the treatment of leishmaniasis is extremely important. In this context, the use of natural products arises as a promising alternative, combining the empirical knowledge disseminated in the population with researches that aim to scientifically prove the therapeutic effects of plants. Based on this, the use of medicinal plants is considered a desirable and accessible tool in the treatment of these diseases and considered by pharmacognosy as a valuable source for the development of new drugs and as adjuvant for conventional therapies.
Part of the book: Leishmaniases as Re-emerging Diseases
There are many food-borne pathogens in the wild and they are considered the cause of serious public health problems in both developed and developing countries. The use of natural products, such as antimicrobial compounds, has been increasing, in an attempt to control bacteria present in foods, mainly pathogens resistant to conventional antibiotics. This chapter is intended to provide the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of essential oils of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon), Origanum vulgare (oregano), Zingiber officinale (ginger), Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), Citrus latifolia (tahiti lemon) and Curcuma longa (saffron) as well as to determinate its chemical composition. The oils had been extracted by hydrodistillation with a Clevenger type apparatus and the antimicrobial activity was performed against standard strains Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. The antioxidant activity was carried out using the ABTS [2,2-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)] method. The essential oils presented a mixture of mono- and sesquiterpenes. The best minimum inhibitory concentration was determined to C. zeylanicum against S. aureus. O. vulgare antioxidant activity presented inhibition of 90.74% and EC50 of 14 μg mL−1. These results demonstrate that the essential oils analyzed presented efficient antibacterial activity and antioxidant action being able to satisfy the demand of use as control of microorganisms in the food.
Part of the book: Essential Oils
Zingiber officinale Roscoe, commonly known as gengibre, ajengibre, jengibre dulce (Brazil, Argentina, and Spain), ginger (United States and England), and gingembre (France), is a perennial herbaceous plant that produces a fleshy and articulated rhizome, with rough brownish epidermis. As a medicinal plant, ginger is one of the oldest and most popular in the world. Several properties of the ginger have been verified in scientific experiments, with emphasis to the antimicrobial activity. Ginger essence oil has been investigated by several in vitro microbiological techniques, in which most of its essential oils presented antimicrobial activity against all selected bacteria. The antimicrobial effect is attributed mainly to several phytochemicals, such as camphene, phellandrene, zingiberene, and zingerone. This review provides an overview of the experimental evidence for the antimicrobial potential of Z. officinale.
Part of the book: Ginger Cultivation and Its Antimicrobial and Pharmacological Potentials
Essential oils are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry for their antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and insecticidal properties. Their anticancer activity has been increasingly explored as the natural constituents of essential oils play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. The chemical composition of essential oils includes monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, oxygenated monoterpenes, phenolic sesquiterpenes, and others. Several mechanisms of action such as antioxidant, antimutagenic, antiproliferative, enhancement of immune functions, modulation of multidrug resistance, and synergistic mechanism of volatile constituents are responsible for their chemotherapeutic properties. This review focuses on the activity of essential oils and their chemical composition in regard to breast cancer.
Part of the book: Essential Oils