TRADITIONAL USE, CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY OF PECTIS BREVIPEDUNCULATA ESSENTIAL OIL: A CORRELATED LEMONGRASS SPECIES IN BRAZIL
For centuries, medicinal plants have been used as source of active principles for the treatment of many conditions. Ethnobotanical studies and bioassay guided isolation procedures have been successfully used in order to investigate and confirm their medicinal prescriptions. Traditionally used in Brazil, Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass) is usually consumed as tea drink due to its calmative, anxyolitic as well as antihypertensive properties. Due to the similar lemongrass scent many species of Pectis genus have been used as infusion drinks for the same purposes as C. citratus. In Brazil, Pectis brevipedunculata, a sandy ornamental aromatic grass, is one of the ?lemongrass odor? correlated species traditionally consumed. Chemical analysis of its essential oil was performed using GC-FID and GC-MS. Such essential oil was characterized by a high percentages of citral (81.8%: neral 35.6% and geranial 46.2%), followed by limonene (2.9%) and ?-pinene (2.6%). Chemical and ethnobotanical investigations were performed involving one of the most commonly used Pectis species, known as lemongrass in order to confirm the medicinal indications compared to their chemical profile. The essential oil of P. brevipedunculata was tested against several clinical parasites. Our results were in agreement to the literature survey, suggesting the citral as the principal active constituent of the tested samples. Despite of the wide biological activities spectrum related to the major constituent presented in the essential oil of the most Pectis species, it is necessary to continue the phytochemical and pharmacological studies about the infusions constituents and validate the folk medicine.