Achillea millefolium (yarrow) is a traditionally used plant to treat wounds. The present study was conducted to evaluate the anti-acne activity of Achillea ‘Moonshine’, a hybrid variety of Achillea. The plant was extracted in four solvents- petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, ethanol and water. These extracts were screened for anti-microbial, free radical scavenging, anti-tyrosinase, anti-inflammatory activity and cytotoxicity assays necessary to characterize its anti-acne activity. The most promising activity was determined in the petroleum ether extract. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) value for the petroleum ether extract was 0.83 mg/ml against Propionibacterium acnes and 0.37 mg/ml against Staphylococcus. The minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) value for petroleum ether was 0.83 and 0.75 mg/ml for P. acnes and S. epidermidis respectively. Though the ethyl acetate had a high flavonoid and phenolic content it was observed that the IC50 values for the petroleum ether extract for free radical scavenging activity was 64.81 µg/ml which was higher than ethyl acetate. Petroleum ether also showed tyrosinase inhibition at 0.033 mg/ml. The extract was also able to decrease the inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α and IL-8, and showed no cytotoxicity against dermal fibroblasts. These results suggest presence of active anti-acne phytochemicals in the petroleum ether extract making it a novel plant candidate for the treatment of acne.
Key words: Anti-acne, Achillea ‘Moonshine’, petroleum ether extract.
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