Abstract: In the present study, we reported a comparative analysis of the chemical composition and pharmacological properties of the essential oils obtained from 2 Mexican oreganos, Poliomintha longiflora and Lippia graveolens. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) profiles of the oils showed high amounts of oxygenated monoterpenes, mainly carvacrol (%[mg/100 g dry matter]) (18.36 [459.0] in P. longiflora and 13.48 [164.7] in L. graveolens). In addition, these oils contained marked quantities of p-cymene (14.09 [352.2] and 7.46 [37.3], respectively), β-caryophyllene oxide, β-caryophyllene, and carvacrol acetate. Headspace analyses of the leaves of both species using different coated fibers revealed that γ-terpinene, eucalyptol, and p-cymene were the principal light volatile components. Chromatographic fingerprints and a suitable analytical method for quantifying the main components of both essences were established using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as analytical tool. The essential oils of both species were not toxic in the acute toxicity studies in mice performed according to the Lorke procedure (DL50 > 5000 mg/kg). The oils and the major constituents, carvacrol and p-cymene, displayed a moderate in vitro antibacterial activity, with minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging from 128 to 512 μg/mL. In addition, these samples demonstrated a marginal antispasmodic activity in vivo and provoked a concentration-dependent inhibition of the carbachol- and histamine-induced contractions using the isolated guinea-pig ileum preparation. In particular, p-cymene exerts good selective inhibitory activity on the carbachol-induced contractions (IC50= 9.85 μg/mL).
Practical Application: The analytical methods using GC-MS and HPLC techniques will be useful for establishing quality control as well as preclinical pharmacological and toxicological parameters of the crude drug P. longiflora, which is widely used as substitute of L. graveolens for medicinal and flavorings purposes. This overall information will be also useful for elaborating scientific and pharmacopoeic monographs of this very Mexican medicinal plant.