Introduction: The genus Malassezia is an important skin resident of human. The present study aimed to analyze in vitro activity of the essential oils of Lavandula stoechas, Cuminum cyminum and Artemisia sieberi against clinical strains of Malassezia species.Methods: A total of 47 Malassezia strains, including Malassezia furfur, Malassezia globosa and Malassezia obtuse, were used in this study. A disk diffusion technique was selected for testing the susceptibility of Malassezia strains to the essential oils.Results: All the essential oils showed in vitro activity against Malassezia strains, with M. furfur and M. obtusa being the highest and lowest susceptible of the strains, respectively. The highest antifungal activity was associated with the essential oil of C. cyminum (mean ± SD: 50.0 ± 0.0 mm), followed by L. stoechas (mean ± SD: 46.8 ± 3.1 mm) and A. sieberi (mean ± SD: 36.9 ± 5.7 mm). The inhibition zone ranges were 12.5 to 15.6 mm (mean ± SD: 14.4 ± 1.6 mm) for ketoconazole and 11.6 to 13.3 mm (mean ± SD: 12.4 ± 0.9 mm) for fluconazole. Although all the antifungal drugs were found to possess good antifungal activities against Malassezia strains, their effects were lower than the activities shown by the essential oils tested (P < 0.05).Conclusion: These results indicated that the essential oils tested, especially the one from C. cyminum, inhibited the growth of clinical strains of Malassezia, implying its potential use in the treatment of Malassezia infections. This indicates that this plant may be useful in preparation of new drugs.
Keywords: Anti-Malassezia activity, Medicinal plants, Cuminum cyminum, Lavandula stoechas, Ketoconazole