Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3553

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluation of essential oils from 22 Guatemalan medicinal plants for in vitro activity against cancer and established cell lines

Andrew Byron Miller
  • Andrew Byron Miller
  • College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT USA.
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Rex Gordon Cates
  • Rex Gordon Cates
  • College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT USA.
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Kim O’Neill
  • Kim O’Neill
  • College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT USA.
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Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria
  • Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria
  • Secretaria General del Consejo, Superior Universitario de Centroamerica (CSUCA), Ave. Las Americas 1-03, Zona 14, Interior Club Los Arcos, Guatemala City, Guatermala.
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Luis Vicente Espinoza
  • Luis Vicente Espinoza
  • Benson Agriculture and Food Institute, Welfare Services, Salt Lake City, Utah (UT), USA.
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Ballantines Fabrizio Alegre
  • Ballantines Fabrizio Alegre
  • College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT USA.
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Jose Vicente Martinez
  • Jose Vicente Martinez
  • Facultad de Agronomía, Edificio T-8, Ciudad Universitaria, Zona No.12, Guatemala City, Guatemala.
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Dany Raul Arbizu
  • Dany Raul Arbizu
  • Benson Institute Guatemala, Chiquimula, Guatemala.
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  •  Received: 24 October 2017
  •  Accepted: 21 December 2017
  •  Published: 17 January 2018

Abstract

Plant species which produce essential oils are important in the healthcare of rural Guatemalans. Steam distilled essential oils from 22 medicinal plant species were analyzed for activity against tongue, skin, and stomach cancer cell lines using a neutral red assay, Vero C1008 cells to assess cytotoxicity, and [3H]-thymidine incorporation assay to assess inhibition of cancer cell proliferation. IC50, CC50, and therapeutic indices were determined. IC50 values indicated that all oils showed inhibitory activity against one or more cancer cell lines.  Highly inhibitory IC50 values (0.10 μL/mL or less) indicated that Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle (Rutaceae) oil was significantly inhibitory to all three cancer cell lines, Origanum vulgare L. (Lamiaceae) and Teloxys ambrosioides (L.) W. A. Weber (Chenopodiaceae) oils were highly inhibitory to two cell lines, and Lippia graveolens Kunth (Verbenaceae) oil was highly inhibitory to one cell line.  TI values equal to or greater than one showed significantly higher cytotoxicity to cancer cells compared to the Vero cell line for Ruta chalepensis L. (Rutaceae), Citrus limetta Risso (Rutaceae), C. aurantium L. (Rutaceae), Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae), and O. vulgare.  Essential oils from L. graveolens, O. vulgare, and T. ambrosioides yielded high percentages (>96%) of decreased cell proliferation at low oil concentration (0.05 μL/mL). Results indicate that essential oils were more toxic to cancer cells than to cells from an established cell line, and such oils can be highly suppressive to DNA synthesis and cancer cell growth. 

Key words:  Essential oils, medicinal plants, IC50, anticancer activity, Guatemala.