The essential oils isolated from Tagetes minuta L. flowers and Ocimum basilicum L. herb were analyzed by GC/MS and assessed for antioxidant and in vitro and in vivo anticancer activities. Also biological effects of these essential oils on normal mice were studied. The major components of marigold essential oil were cis-β-ocimene (54.82%), cis-tagetone (11.50%) and trans-tagetenone (10.78%), cistagetenone (7.10%), dihydrotagetone (6.50%) and limonene (3.82%). The major components of basil essential oil were estragole (75.45%), 1,8-cineole (7.56%), linalool (5.01%), trans-anethole (3.72%) and methyleugenol (3.48%). The DPPH· scavenging activities of both essential oils were determined. 50% effective concentration (EC50) of marigold essential oil (86.35 μg/ml) was higher than basil essential oil (80.84 μg/ml). The anticancer activity of the two essential oils on two human promyelocytic leukemia cell lines (HL-60 and NB4) and experimental animals model cancer cell line (EACC) were investigated in vitro. The results indicated that the anticancer activity of marigold essential oil was higher than basil essential oil against NB4 and EACC cell lines, while basil essential oil was higher than marigold essential oil against HL-60 cell line. In in vivo study, pre-initiation treatments with the both essential oils were more effective than initiation and post-initiation treatments, respectively on the tumor (EACC) transplanted female mice. Biological effects of both essential oils on normal mice indicated that all the obtained values in all experimental animals were within the normal range.
Key words: Tagetes minuta, Ocimum basilicum, essential oils, antioxidant, anticancer.
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