Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology

Chemical composition and in vitro cytotoxic, genotoxic effects of essential oil from Urtica dioica L.

PMID 22310841


The aim of this study was to determine the chemical composition of Urtica dioica essential oil, and to evaluate its cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, using cytogenetic tests such as the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay and chromosomal aberration analysis in human lymphocyte cultures in vitro. GC-MS analysis of U. dioica essential oil identified 43 compounds, representing 95.8% of the oil. GC and GC-MS analysis of the essential oil of U. dioica revealed that carvacrol (38.2%), carvone (9.0%), naphthalene (8.9%), (E)-anethol (4.7%), hexahydrofarnesyl acetone (3.0%), (E)-geranyl acetone (2.9%), (E)-β-ionone (2.8%) and phytol (2.7%) are the main components, comprising 72.2% of the oil. A significant correlation was found between the concentration of essential oil and the following: chromosomal aberrations, micronuclei frequency, apoptotic cells, necrotic cells, and binucleated cells.