Composition and leishmanicidal activity of the essential oil of <i>Vernonia polyanthes</i> Less (Asteraceae)

<p>The composition of the essential oil (EO) from leaves of <i>Vernonia polyanthes</i> and the evaluation of its leishmanicidal potential are reported here for the first time. The oil obtained by hydrodistillation was analysed by combination of GC and GC/MS. Thirty-five compounds were identified, representing 91.8% of the oil composition. The oil consists primarily of monoterpenes (37.1%), sesquiterpenes (26.3%) and oxygenated sesquiterpenes (23.9%), myrcene (34.3%), zerumbone (15.8%), bicyclogermacrene (8.9%), α-humulene (4.8%) and germacrene D (4.3%) being the major constituents. Activity against <i>Leishmania infantum</i> was determined using the tetrazolium dye (MTT) colorimetric method. The oil, as well as zerumbone, one of its major constituents, showed significant leishmanicidal activity, with IC<sub>50</sub> values of 19.4 and 9.0 μg/ml, respectively. Cytotoxicity in macrophages cells was evaluated using the MTT colorimetric assay. The EO showed the CC<sub>50</sub> < 10 μg/ml to macrophages cells.</p>