The Verbenaceae family includes 2600 species grouped into 100 genera with a pantropical distribution. Many of them are important elements of the floras of warm-temperature and tropical regions of America. This family is known in folk medicine, and its species are used as digestive, carminative, antipyretic, antitussive, antiseptic, and healing agents. This review aims to collect information about the essential oils from the most reported species of the Verbenaceae family growing in South America, focusing on their chemical composition, antimicrobial activity, and synergism with commercial antimicrobials. The information gathered comprises the last twenty years of research within the South American region and is summarized taking into consideration the most representative species in terms of their essential oils. These species belong to Aloysia
, and Stachytarpheta
genera, and the main essential oils they contain are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, such as β-caryophyllene, thymol, citral, 1,8-cineole, carvone, and limonene. These compounds have been found to possess antimicrobial activities. The synergism of these essential oils with antibiotics is being studied by several research groups. It constitutes a resource of interest for the potential use of combinations of essential oils and antibiotics in infection treatments.
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