Efficiency of Calamintha officinalis essential oil as preservative in two topical product types


A. Nostro, Dipartimento Farmaco-Biologico, Sezione Microbiologia, Facoltà di Farmacia, Università di Messina, Villaggio Annunziata, 98168, Italy (e-mail: atnostro@pharma.unime.it).


Aims:  To verify the efficiency of Calamintha officinalis essential oil as natural preservative in two current formulations.

Methods and Results:  The 1·0 and 2·0% (v/v) C. officinalis essential oil was assayed for its preservative activity in two product types (cream and shampoo). The microbial challenge test was performed following the standards proposed by the European Pharmacopoeia Commission (E.P.) concerning topical preparations using standard micro-organisms and in addition wild strains, either in single or mixed cultures were used. The results clearly demonstrated that the C. officinalis essential oil at 2·0% concentration reduced the microbial inoculum satisfying the criterion A of the E.P. in the cream formulation and the criterion B in the shampoo formulation. Standard and wild strains showed a behaviour similar, both in cream and in shampoo formulation, with no significant difference (gerarchic variance, P > 0·05).

Conclusion: C. officinalis essential oil confirmed its preservative properties but at higher concentration than that shown in previous studies on cetomacrogol cream.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  The nature of the formulation in which an essential oil is incorporated as preservative could have considerable effect on its efficacy.