Hydrodistilled oils of the fresh aerial parts of Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. cultivated in Egypt were prepared from samples collected along the four seasons. The percentage yields of these essential oils were 0.50%, 0.52%, 0.60%, and 0.47% of the dry weight for winter, spring, summer, and autumn samples. GC/MS analyses of all samples revealed a qualitative and quantitative variability in the oil composition. The total number of compounds identified was 46 among which 15 were common in all samples. The oxygenated compounds constituted about 45%, 46%, 63%, and 44% of the total composition of the oils for winter, spring, summer, and autumn samples, respectively. Carvone was the major constituent in spring, summer, and autumn samples (about 31%, 56%, and 35%, respectively), while limonene (ca. 26%) was the major constituent of the winter sample followed by carvone (ca. 25%). The essential oil of the highest yield (full-flowering summer sample), with the highest oxygenated constituents and carvone contents, was screened for certain biological activities. It exhibited analgesic and acute anti-inflammatory activities (75% and 82% relative to indomethacin). It also showed a potent in vivo antioxidant activity (96% relative to vitamin E). In addition, it exerted moderate cytotoxic, hepatoprotective, and in vitro antioxidant activities. Moreover, the oil had a potent antifungal activity against Candida albicans (MIC = 4 microg/ml), Saccharomyces cerevisiae (MIC = 5.2 microg/ml), and Aspergillus niger (MIC = 6.8 microg/ml).
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