Table 1.

Plants containing antimicrobial activitya

Common nameScientific nameCompoundClassActivitydRelative toxicitybReference(s)c
Alfalfa Medicago sativa ?Gram-positive organisms2.3
Allspice Pimenta dioica EugenolEssential oilGeneral2.5
Aloe Aloe barbadensis, Aloe vera LatexComplex mixture Corynebacterium,Salmonella, Streptococcus, S. aureus 2.7 136
Apple Malus sylvestris PhloretinFlavonoid derivativeGeneral3.0 101
Ashwagandha Withania somniferum Withafarin ALactoneBacteria, fungi0.0
Aveloz Euphorbia tirucalli ? S. aureus 0.0
Bael tree Aegle marmelos Essential oilTerpenoidFungi 179
Balsam pear Momordica charantia ?General1.0
Barberry Berberis vulgaris BerberineAlkaloidBacteria, protozoa2.0 140, 163
Basil Ocimum basilicum Essential oilsTerpenoids Salmonella, bacteria2.5 241
Bay Laurus nobilis Essential oilsTerpenoidsBacteria, fungi0.7
Betel pepper Piper betel Catechols, eugenolEssential oilsGeneral1.0
Black pepper Piper nigrum PiperineAlkaloidFungi, Lactobacillus,Micrococcus, E. coli, E. faecalis 1.0 78
Blueberry Vacciniumspp.FructoseMonosaccharide E. coli 158
Brazilian pepper tree Schinus terebinthifolius TerebinthoneTerpenoidsGeneral1.0
Buchu Barosma setulina Essential oilTerpenoidGeneral2.0
Burdock Arctium lappa Polyacetylene, tannins, terpenoidsBacteria, fungi, viruses2.3
Buttercup Ranunculus bulbosus ProtoanemoninLactoneGeneral2.0
Caraway Carum carvi CoumarinsBacteria, fungi, viruses 24, 26, 83, 193
Cascara sagrada Rhamnus purshiana TanninsPolyphenolsViruses, bacteria, fungi1.0
Anthraquinone
Cashew Anacardium pulsatilla Salicylic acidsPolyphenols P. acnes
Bacteria, fungi 91
Castor bean Ricinus communis ?General0.0
Ceylon cinnamon Cinnamomum verum Essential oils, othersTerpenoids, tanninsGeneral2.0
Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla Anthemic acidPhenolic acid M. tuberculosis, S. typhimurium, S. aureus, helminths2.3 26, 83, 193
Coumarins Viruses 24
Chapparal Larrea tridentata Nordihydroguaiaretic acidLignanSkin bacteria2.0
Chili peppers, paprika Capsicum annuum CapsaicinTerpenoidBacteria2.0 42,107
Clove Syzygium aromaticum EugenolTerpenoidGeneral1.7
Coca Erythroxylum coca CocaineAlkaloidGram-negative and -positive cocci0.5
Cockle Agrostemma githago ?General1.0
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara ?General2.0
Coriander, cilantro Coriandrum sativum ?Bacteria, fungi
Cranberry Vacciniumspp.FructoseMonosaccharideBacteria 17, 158,159
Other
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale ? C. albicans, S. cerevisiae 2.7
Dill Anethum graveolens Essential oilTerpenoidBacteria3.0
Echinacea Echinaceae angustifolia ?General 153
Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus TanninPolyphenolBacteria, viruses1.5
Terpenoid
Fava bean Vicia faba FabatinThioninBacteria
Gamboge Garcinia hanburyi ResinGeneral0.5
Garlic Allium sativum Allicin, ajoeneSulfoxideGeneral 150,187, 188
Sulfated terpenoids 250
Ginseng Panax notoginseng Saponins E. coli,Sporothrix schenckii, Staphylococcus,Trichophyton 2.7
Glory lily Gloriosa superba ColchicineAlkaloidGeneral0.0
Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis Berberine, hydrastineAlkaloidsBacteria, Giardia duodenale, trypanosomes2.0 73
Plasmodia 163
Gotu kola Centella asiatica AsiatocosideTerpenoid M. leprae 1.7
Grapefruit peel Citrus paradisa TerpenoidFungi 209
Green tea Camellia sinensis CatechinFlavonoidGeneral2.0
Shigella 235
Vibrio 226
S. mutans 166
Viruses 113
Harmel, rue Peganum harmala ?Bacteria, fungi1.0
Hemp Cannabis sativa β-Resercyclic acidOrganic acidBacteria and viruses1.0
Henna Lawsonia inermis Gallic acidPhenolic S. aureus 1.5
Hops Humulus lupulus Lupulone, humulonePhenolic acidsGeneral2.3
(Hemi)terpenoids
Horseradish Armoracia rusticana TerpenoidsGeneral
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis TerpenoidsViruses
(Japanese) herb Rabdosia trichocarpa Trichorabdal ATerpene Helicobacter pylori 108
Lantana Lantana camara ?General1.0
Lawsonia LawsoneQuinone M. tuberculosis
Lavender-cotton Santolina chamaecyparissus ?Gram-positive bacteria,Candida 1.0 213
Legume (West Africa) Millettia thonningii AlpinumisoflavoneFlavone Schistosoma 175
Lemon balm Melissa officinalis TanninsPolyphenolsViruses 245
Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla Essential oilTerpenoid Ascaris 1.5
? E. coli, M. tuberculosis,S. aureus
Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra GlabrolPhenolic alcohol S. aureus, M. tuberculosis 2.0
Lucky nut, yellow Thevetia peruviana ? Plasmodium 0.0
Mace, nutmeg Myristica fragrans ?General1.5
Marigold Calendula officinalis ?Bacteria2.7
Mesquite Prosopis juliflora ?General1.5
Mountain tobacco Arnica montana HelaninsLactonesGeneral2.0
Oak Quercus rubra TanninsPolyphenols
Quercetin (available commercially)Flavonoid 113
Olive oil Olea europaea HexanalAldehydeGeneral 120
Onion Allium cepa AllicinSulfoxideBacteria,Candida 239
Orange peel Citrus sinensis ?TerpenoidFungi 209
Oregon grape Mahonia aquifolia BerberineAlkaloid Plasmodium 2.0 163
Trypansomes, general 73
Pao d’arco Tabebuia SesquiterpenesTerpenoidsFungi1.0
Papaya Carica papaya LatexMix of terpenoids, organic acids, alkaloidsGeneral3.0 34, 168, 191
Pasque-flower Anemone pulsatilla AnemoninsLactoneBacteria0.5
Peppermint Mentha piperita MentholTerpenoidGeneral
Periwinkle Vinca minor ReserpineAlkaloidGeneral1.5
Peyote Lophophora williamsii MescalineAlkaloidGeneral1.5
Poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherrima ?General0.0
Poppy Papaver somniferum OpiumAlkaloids and othersGeneral0.5
Potato Solanum tuberosum ?Bacteria, fungi2.0
Prostrate knotweed Polygonum aviculare ?General2.0
Purple prairie clover Petalostemum PetalostemumolFlavonolBacteria, fungi 100
Quinine Cinchonasp.QuinineAlkaloid Plasmodium spp.2.0
Rauvolfia, chandra Rauvolfia serpentina ReserpineAlkaloidGeneral1.0
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis Essential oilTerpenoidGeneral2.3
Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia TanninsPolyphenolsRuminal bacteria 105
Sassafras Sassafras albidum ?Helminths2.0
Savory Satureja montana CarvacrolTerpenoidGeneral2.0 6
Senna Cassia angustifolia RheinAnthraquinone S. aureus 2.0
Smooth hydrangea, seven barks Hydrangea arborescens ?General2.3
Snakeplant Rivea corymbosa ?General1.0
St. John’s wort Hypericum perforatum Hypericin, othersAnthraquinoneGeneral1.7
Sweet flag, calamus Acorus calamus ?Enteric bacteria0.7
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare Essential oilsTerpenoidHelminths, bacteria2.0
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus Caffeic acids, tanninsTerpenoidViruses, helminths2.5
Polyphenols 245
Thyme Thymus vulgaris Caffeic acidTerpenoidViruses, bacteria, fungi2.5
ThymolPhenolic alcohol
TanninsPolyphenols
Flavones
Tree bard Podocarpus nagi TotarolFlavonol P. acnes, other gram-positive bacteria 123
NagilactoneLactoneFungi 121
122
Tua-Tua Jatropha gossyphiifolia ?General0.0
Turmeric Curcuma longa CurcuminTerpenoidsBacteria, protozoa 14
Turmeric oil
Valerian Valeriana officinalis Essential oilTerpenoidGeneral2.7
Willow Salix alba SalicinPhenolic glucoside
TanninsPolyphenols
Essential oilTerpenoid
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens TanninsPolyphenolsGeneral1.0
Woodruff Galium odoratum CoumarinGeneral3.0 26, 83,193
Viruses 24
Yarrow Achillea millefolium ?Viruses, helminths2.3
Yellow dock Rumex crispus ? E. coli, Salmonella,Staphylococcus 1.0
  • a Plants with activity only against HIV are listed in Table 6.

  • b 0, very safe; 3, very toxic. Data from reference 58.

  • c Table is based on data compiled from references 58 and 224; additional references are listed here.

  • d “General” denotes activity against multiple types of microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi, and protozoa), and “bacteria” denotes activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.