Antimicrobial Investigation of Linum usitatissimum for the Treatment of Acne

January 1, 2011 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Antimicrobial Investigation of Linum usitatissimum for the Treatment of Acne

Year: 2011
Authors: Nand, P. Drabu, S. Gupta, R.K.
Publication Name: Natural Product Communications
Publication Details: Volume 6; Number 11; Pages 1701 – 1704.


Light petroleum, dichloromethane and methanolic extracts of Linum usitatissimum were investigated using GC/MS.  The main components of  three sequential extracts were methyl linoleate (11.9 to 33.9%) and methyl linoleate (3.4 to 9.1%).  Components possessing antimicrobial activity against acne causing bacteria, namely alpha linolenic acid (7.0 to 7.1%), alpha terpinene (1.7 to 3.1%), terpinen 4ol (1.3 to 4.6%), 4 cymene (1.6 to 7.1%) and alpha pinene (1.1%), were found in varying  amounts.  Antimicrobial screening indicated that the light petroleum extract was more active against aerobic and anaerobic test strains with a MIC value of 1.25 mg/mL and a MBC of 2.5 mg/mL against S. aureus  and P. acnes.   A MIC of 2.5 mg/mL was observed against S. epidermidis. (Authors abstract)
ALA (alpha linolenic acid) accumulates preferentially in the skin and adipose tissues.  Flaxseed also contains lignans and other bioactive compounds namely phenolic acids, anthocyanin pigments, flavanols, flavones, and phytic acid, which have been reported for their antioxidant activity as they neutralize free radicals, which damage the cells.  Many clinicians believe ALA to be beneficial for overall skin vitality and epidermal integrity.  Flaxseed has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory potential and the presence of ALA decreases inflammatory eicosanoid synthesis. The antibacterial and antiinflammatory activities of L. usitatissimum have been studied but the literature lacks research concerning the utilization of these extracts in the treatment of acne.  Acne vulgaris is a multifactorial disease affecting more than 85% of adolescents, caused by hormonal, microbiological and immunological mechanisms.  It affects body parts having a large number of oil glands like face, back and trunk  where the organisms, Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis proliferate rapidly, leading  to the development of acne.  Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether the chemical components present in L.usitatissimum made it a suitable antimicrobial agent for the treatment of acne. The antimicrobial screening was carried out on the three sequential extracts using clindamycin phosphate as a positive control.  The highest zone of inhibition was observed in extracts with 7.0% ALA (14.0 ǂ 0.08 mm) against P.acnes.  This extract was found to be effective against aerobic and anaerobic test strains with an MIC of 1.25 mg/mL against S. epidermidis.  Thus the results suggest a potential treatment effect of ALA against acne causing microbes. (Editors comments)

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