Monday, 21 September 2015

Chemical composition and functional properties of essential oils from Mentha species

Volume 76, 15 December 2015, Pages 557–564


Mentha essential oils are rich in oxygenated monoterpenes.
The better antioxidant essential oils present piperitenone oxide as the major constituent.
Mentha spicata (Ciudad del Leste mint), which showed the best antifungal activity, contains pulegone as main constituent.


The plants of the genus Mentha are widely used in cooking, cosmetics and popular medicine. The present work analyzes the chemical composition of the essential oils of several Mentha species, and evaluates some functional properties such as antioxidant, anticholinesterase and antifungal, to corroborate their medicinal use. The oils obtained by hydrodistillation showed higher levels of the monoterpenes limonene, isomenthone, menthol, menthofuran, d-neoisomenthol, 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), d-carvone, linalool, linalyl acetate, piperitenone oxide and pulegone. The essential oil of Mentha longifolia (Himalayan silver mint) stood out for its antioxidant activity with IC50 of 0.86 ± 0.01 mg/mL by the DPPH method and 0.64 ± 0.02 mg/mL by the method of β-carotene/linoleic acid system. Mentha piperita oils (chocolate mint) and Mentha spicata (menthol mint) showed good inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, with enzyme inhibition zones of 1.0 cm and 0.9 cm, respectively. The antifungal activity of Mentha essential oils showed moderate activity against Trichophyton rubrum and Microsporum canis, and the oil of M. spicata (Ciudad del Leste mint) showed MIC and MFC near to the control. The major components of the essential oils could be responsible for evaluated activities, which are associated with the medicinal properties reported for Mentha species.

Graphical abstract

Image for unlabelled figure


  • Essential oil;
  • Mentha;
  • Antioxidant;
  • Biological properties

Corresponding author. Fax: +55 85 31019645.