Grasas y Aceites, Vol 66, No 2 (2015)

Essential oils from Egyptian aromatic plants as antioxidant and novel anticancer agents in human cancer cell lines

M. M. Ramadan
Chemistry of Flavour and Aroma Department National Research Centre, Egypt

M. M. Ali
Biochemistry Department, National Research Centre, Egypt

K. Z. Ghanem
Food Science and Nutrition Department, National Research Centre - Clinical Nutrition Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Science, Jazan University, Saudi Arabia

A. H. El-Ghorabe
Chemistry of Flavour and Aroma Department National Research Centre - Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Al-GohfUniversity, Saudi Arabia


Inhibitors of tumor growth using extracts from aromatic plants are rapidly emerging as important new drug candidates for cancer therapy. The cytotoxicity and in vitro anticancer evaluation of the essential oils from thyme, juniper and clove has been assessed against five different human cancer cell lines (liver HepG2, breast MCF-7, prostate PC3, colon HCT116 and lung A549). A GC/MS analysis revealed that α-pinene, thymol and eugenol are the major components of Egyptian juniper, thyme and clove oils with concentrations of 31.19%, 79.15% and 82.71%, respectively. Strong antioxidant profiles of all the oils are revealed in vitro by DPPH and β-carotene bleaching assays. The results showed that clove oil was similarly potent to the reference drug, doxorubicin in prostate, colon and lung cell lines. Thyme oil was more effective than the doxorubicin in breast and lung cell lines while juniper oil was more effective than the doxorubicin in all the tested cancer cell lines except prostate cancer. In conclusion, the essential oils from Egyptian aromatic plants can be used as good candidates for novel therapeutic strategies for cancer as they possess significant anticancer activity.


Anticancer; Antioxidant; Clove Juniper; Thyme

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