The aerial parts of Achillea fragrantissima (Forssk.) Sch. Bip., wildly grown in Egypt, yielded 0.8 and 1.5% (v/w) of essential oils prepared by hydrodistillation (HD), or by conventional volatile solvent extraction method (preparation of the “absolute”, SE), respectively. The volatile components of this essential oil were determined by GC–MS analyses. Twenty eight compounds were identified in the HD sample, among which caryophyllene oxide (23.50%), 1-terpinen-4-Ol (11.15%), viridiflorol and guaienol (9.84%) were the main components. Meanwhile, 21 compounds were detected in the SE sample; 1-terpinen-4-Ol (30.90%), p-cymen-3-Ol (21.22%) were the main components. The anticancer activity of the prepared oils was evaluated against human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and colon cancer cell line (HCT116). The oil prepared by hydrodistillation revealed an IC50 0.51 µg/ml for MCF-7 and 0.62 µg /ml for HCT116, while that prepared by volatile solvent extraction had a value of 0.80 µg/ml for MCF-7 and 0.91 µg /ml for HCT116.
Key words: Achillea fragrantissima, cytotoxic and terpinen-4-ol.
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