Essential oil from plants belonging to several species has been extensively used as natural resources in the prevention and treatment of a large number of diseases. The medicinal and aromatic plants of genus Etlingera produces high percentages of essential oil from its every organ and is recommended for a variety of health problems by traditional systems of medicine in south-east Asia. Essential oils from this genus demonstrated promising antimicrobial properties. As antibiotic resistance is emerging at an alarming rate, many infectious diseases have become difficult to treat. Thus, the genus Etlingera can be considered as a good source of essential oils, and extensive studies of biological activities of these oils may lead to the identification of new compounds which can be used in modern medicine, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, primarily as antimicrobial agents. This review summarizes the characteristics of essential oil of Etlingera species with particular attention to the chemical composition and antimicrobial activities from the data in the recent literature.
Key words: Etlingera, essential oil, chemical composition, antimicrobial activity.
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