The fast development of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms increasingly threatens global health and well-being. Plant natural products have been known for centuries as alternative medicines that can possess pharmacological characteristics, including antimicrobial activities. The antimicrobial activities of essential oil (Calli oil) extracted from the Calligonum comosum
plant by hydro-steam distillation was tested either alone or when combined with lawsone, a henna plant naphthoquinone, against MDR microbes. Lawsone showed significant antimicrobial activities against MDR pathogens in the range of 200–300 µg/mL. Furthermore, Calli oil showed significant antimicrobial activities against MDR bacteria in the range of 180–200 µg/mL, Candida
at 220–240 µg/mL and spore-forming Rhizopus
fungus at 250 µg/mL. Calli oil’s inhibition effect on Rhizopus
, the major cause of the lethal infection mucormycosis, stands for 72 h, followed by an extended irreversible white sporulation effect. The combination of Calli oil with lawsone enhanced the antimicrobial activities of each individual alone by at least three-fold, while incorporation of both natural products in a liposome reduced their toxicity by four- to eight-fold, while maintaining the augmented efficacy of the combination treatment. We map the antimicrobial activity of Calli oil to its major component, a benzaldehyde derivative. The findings from this study demonstrate that formulations containing essential oils have the potential in the future to overcome antimicrobial resistance.
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