Thymus mastichina (L.) L. and Cistus ladanifer L. for skin application: Chemical characterization and in vitro bioactivity assessment
J Ethnopharmacol. 2022 Oct 12:115830. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2022.115830. Online ahead of print.
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Thymus mastichina (L.) L. (TM) and Cistus ladanifer L. (CL) are two Portuguese autochthonous species with traditional skin application in folk medicine. TM is majorly known for its antiseptic and wound healing properties, as an external anti-inflammatory agent and for its application in folk cosmetics and hygiene products. Its use in acne vulgaris has also been reported. CL is traditionally used in remedies for wounds, ulcers and other skin ailments such as psoriasis and eczema. Its application has been found useful due to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, wound healing and antiseptic properties.
AIM OF THE STUDY: With this work, we aimed to investigate relevant bioactivities related with the traditional application of TM and CL essential oils (EOs) and hydrolates (by-products of EO production) in skin ailments. Specifically their in vitro antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, wound healing and antimicrobial properties were evaluated. The chemical composition of both EOs and respective hydrolates was also characterized.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Chemical characterization of EOs and hydrolates was performed by GC-FID and GC-MS. Cellular biocompatibility was evaluated using the MTT assay in macrophages (RAW 264.7) and fibroblasts (L929) cell lines. Anti-inflammatory activity was investigated by studying nitric oxide (NO) production by macrophages with griess reagent. Wound healing potential was evaluated with the scratch-wound assay. The antioxidant potential was studied by the DPPH scavenging method. Antimicrobial activity was evaluated by broth microdilution assay against relevant microbial strains and skin pathogens, namely Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Cutibacterium acnes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans and Aspergillus brasiliensis.
RESULTS: The major compounds present in TM and CL EOs were 1,8-cineole and α-pinene, respectively. 1,8-cineole and E-pinocarveol were the major compounds in the correspondent hydrolates. CL EO presented the highest anti-inflammatory potential (EC50 = 0.002% v/v), still with significant cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.012% v/v). TM preparations presented anti-inflammatory potential, also presenting higher biocompatibility. The same profile was present on fibroblasts regarding biocompatibility of the tested preparations. CL EO and hydrolate increased fibroblasts’ migration by 155.7% and 148.4%, respectively. TM hydrolate presented a milder activity than CL hydrolate, but wound healing potential was still present, increasing cell migration by 125.1%. All preparations presented poor antioxidant capacity. CL EO presented higher antimicrobial activity, with MICs ranging from 0.06% v/v to 2% v/v, against different microorganisms.
CONCLUSIONS: Anti-inflammatory and skin repairing potential were present for CL preparations. TM hydrolate presented an interesting biocompatible profile on both cell lines, also presenting anti-inflammatory potential. Furthermore, EOs from both species presented antimicrobial activity against a panel of different microorganisms. These in vitro bioactivities support some of their traditional skin applications, specifically regarding their antiseptic, wound healing and anti-inflammatory uses.