Essential oils of Artemisia abyssinica and Satureja punctata ssp. punctata from Ethiopia were analyzed by GC and GC/MS, and screened for leishmanicidal activity against promastigote and axenic amastigotes of Leishmania donovani and L. aethiopica, including toxicity studies on human monocytic leukemia cells (THP-1) and erythrocytes in vitro. GC/MS of A. abyssinica oil revealed 67 compounds (99.94%) with the major constituents yomogi alcohol (38.47%), artemisyl acetate (24.88%), and artemisia alcohol (6.70%), and oxygenated monoterpenes (84.00%) as the dominant group. The oil of S. punctata contained 67 compounds (99.49%) with the main constituents geranial (27.62%), neral (21.72%), alpha-bisabolol (13.62%), and (E)-nerolidol (4.82%), of which oxygenated mono- and sesquiterpenes (58.39 and 26.91%, resp.) showed highest abundance. Both oils showed effect on promastigotes (MIC 76.5 to 312.5 nl/ml) and amastigotes (EC(50) 4.06 to 131.00 nl/ml) of L. donovani and L. aethiopica, and varying toxicities on THP-1 cells (CC(50) 0.013 to 350 nl/ml with selectivity index between 0.001 and 28) and erythrocytes (with LC(50) 0.35 to 1.52 microl/ml). S. punctata oil exerted highest activity against both Leishmania sp. and toxicity. The revealed antileishmanial activities support further isolation and investigation of oil constituents for in vitro/in vivo evaluation.
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