Essential oils and major compounds of Hedychium coronarium Koenig (Zingiberaceae) against pathogenic yeast of Candida and Cryptococcus genus
Among the major causative agents of invasive fungal infections stands out the opportunistic yeasts of Candida and Cryptococcus. Regarding the problem of the high incidence of infections by these agents and the difficulty of treating the low stockpile of antifungal drugs and the high toxicity of most therapies, the search for new antifungal compounds has been highlighted in recent decades. Hedychium coronarium, popularly known as “lírio-do-brejo” or “gengibre-branco” features several previously reported biological activities, including antimicrobial activity. Compound 1.8-cineole is the major compound in essential oil extracted from roots of H. coronarium, while caryophyllene oxide presents itself as the major in essential oil extracted from leaves of this plant. Our data show strong antifungal activity of compounds, against species of Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis, Candida krusei, Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii, with minimal inhibitory concentration and minimal fungicidal concentration equal to 0.2 % (v/v) for essential oil extracted from roots, while the essential oil extracted from leaves showed no activity against yeasts. The caryophyllene oxide showed higher antifungal activity for Cryptococcus spp. Thus, our results showed that the essential oil of rhizome is a promising antifungal agent against pathogenic yeasts.