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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter May 10, 2020

Essential oils of spontaneous species of the genus Lavandula from Portugal: a brief review

  • Jessica Vairinhos and Maria Graça Miguel EMAIL logo


Spontaneous lavender growing in uncultivated fields in Portugal have been used in traditional medicine for internal and external uses. The essential oils (EOs) of Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri are characterized by the presence of trans-α-necrodyl acetate and trans-necrodol. These EOs are able to prevent the generation and deposition of neurotoxic β-amyloid peptide in Alzheimer’s disease. The EOs also present antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-Leishmania, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifeedant effects. In the case of hydrodistillation, the predominant compound of Lavandula viridis EO was 1,8-cineole, nevertheless in the case of supercritical fluid extraction, the main constituent was camphor. In in vitro shoots EOs, 1,8-cineole and α-pinene were the most important compounds. The EOs presented anti-fungal activity particularly against Cryptococcus neoformans and dermatophytes. The antioxidant and anti-protozoal activities of L. viridis EOs were lower than L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs, with hydrodistillation being the best method for obtaining samples with higher antioxidant and anti-acetylcholinesterase activities. The presence of fenchone, 1,8-cineole and camphor was a common trace of the Lavandula pedunculata subsp. pedunculata EOs and in in vitro axillary shoots EOs. Lavandula pedunculata subsp. lusitanica EOs were predominantly constituted of fenchone and camphor. The antioxidant activity of L. pedunculata subsp. lusitanica EOs was poorer than other Lavandula EOs from Portugal.

1 Introduction

The genus Lavandula comprises 39 species, hybrids and many cultivars, all belonging to the Lamiaceae family. They are aromatic plants of great economic importance due to their uses in several industry branches (pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics, perfumery and aromatherapy), particularly Lavandula angustifolia (fine lavender), Lavandula x intermedia (lavandin), Lavandula latifolia (spike lavender) and Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender) [1], [2], [3], [4]. Since ancient times lavender has been used to perfume bathing water to help purify the body and spirit; and to alleviate insomnia; anxiety; fatigue; meteorism; flatulence; vomiting; loss of appetite; headaches; toothaches; joint pain and sores [5]. These properties have been attributed to its essential oils (EOs), nevertheless some authors in their systematic review and meta-analysis that have focused on the effect of lavender EOs in humans concluded that more attention should be paid in the interpretation of results due to the following factors: heterogeneity between studies, small number of studies and small sample sizes [6], [7], [8].

Species of the genus Lavandula are native of the Mediterranean region but have been cultivated in different regions of the world: Europe, South West Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, India and North and South America [1]. According to a review by Lesage-Meessen et al. [9], Bulgaria, the UK, France, China, Ukraine, Spain and Morocco dominate the lavender EO market.

As regards the EOs composition of Lavandula species, Lavandula angustifolia EOs are the most investigated, among the 17 species studied (L. angustifolia, L. x intermedia, L. latifolia, L. stoechas, Lavandula bipinnata, Lavandula canariensis, Lavandula coronopifolia, Lavandula dentata, Lavandula heterophylla, Lavandula gibsonii, Lavandula lanata, Lavandula luisieri, Lavandula multifida, Lavandula pedunculata, Lavandula pinnata, Lavandula pubescens, L. viridis) [1]. Linalool and linalyl acetate generally occur in high percentages in L. angustifolia, L. x intermedia and L. latifolia EOs, although may also occur in other species but are only detected in very few examples. The percentages of those monoterpenes vary according to the plant part being used, geographical region or chemotype. For example, linalool and linalyl acetate have been also found in some examples of L. stoechas from Tunisia. Generally, these oxygen-containing monoterpenes are not present in L. stoechas EOs [1].

In Portugal it is possible to find the ornamental L. dentata, the industrial grown L. angustifolia and the spontaneous L. latifolia Medik. (spike lavender; Portuguese common name: “alfazema-brava”) (Figure 1), L. multifida L. (ternleaf lavender or Egyptian lavender; Portuguese common name: “alfazema-de-folhas-recortadas”) (Figure 2); L. stoechas subsp. luisieri (Rozeira) Rozeira (Portuguese common name: “rosmaninho” or “rosmaninho-menor”) (Figure 3), L. pedunculata (Miller) Cav. (French lavender; Portuguese common name: “rosmaninho-maior”) and L. viridis L’Her. (green lavender or white lavender; Portuguese common names: “rosmaninho-menor”, “rosmaninho-verde” or “rosmaninho-branco”) (Figure 4) [10]. Prazeres [11] considered it possible to detect three distinct taxa: Lavandula sampaiana (Rozeira) Rivas Mart., L. pedunculata (Mill.) Cav. subsp. lusitanica (Chaytor), and L. stoechas subsp. luisieri (Rozeira) Rozeira, after a combined analysis of morphometric, morphological and micromolecular studies, using genetic variability by inter simple sequence repeats (ISSR) molecular markers. However, other authors [12] consider that L. pedunculata should be treated as a subspecies of L. stoechas and L. stoechas subsp. luisieri should be treated as a distinct species due to the results obtained by plastid trnK-matK markers analysis. Chemically, the composition of L. stoechas L. EOs is considerably different from those of L. stoechas subsp. luisieri. Lavandula stoechas L. EOs is predominantly constituted of fenchone and camphor [13], and morphologically, Upson and Andrews [14] had also reported dissimilar characters (bracts, indumentum and form of the corolla tube) for L. stoechas subsp. luisieri).

Figure 1: Lavandula latifolia by António Crespí (from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).
Figure 1:

Lavandula latifolia by António Crespí (from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).

Figure 2: Lavandula multifida (from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).
Figure 2:

Lavandula multifida (from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).

Figure 3: Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri (by Thistle Garden from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).
Figure 3:

Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri (by Thistle Garden from UTAD Botanical Garden, Digital Flora of Portugal).

Figure 4: Lavandula viridis from Botanical Garden, Flora Digital de Portugal.
Figure 4:

Lavandula viridis from Botanical Garden, Flora Digital de Portugal.

The chemical composition of the EOs of the spontaneous species of the Lavandula genus growing in Portugal is reviewed in the present work as well as their biological properties, taking into account the name of the species used by the authors.

2 Lavandula latifolia Medik.

Lavandula latifolia is an aromatic shrub, 30–80 cm tall, that grows wild in Mediterranean regions (former Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal) [15]. This species generally grows on calcareous soils and presents a cylindrical spike with violet flowers measuring 8–10 mm [15], [16]. According to Herraiz-Peñalver et al. [17], L. latifolia has been used as an antispasmodic, as a sedative, as an antihypertensive agent, as an antiseptic, in healing and as an anti-inflammatory. In Spain, this species has been of great interest as traditionally it has been used in cosmetics, for preparing bath salts, room sprays or disinfectants and in perfumery [15], [17]. In spite of the description of L. latifolia occurring throughout the Iberian Peninsula, it has been particularly in Spain that most studies have been done, not only for evaluating the chemical composition, but also for the determination of some biological properties. The literature showed that Spanish L. latifolia EOs are relatively homogenous due to the fact that the major compounds are always 1,8-cineole, linalool and camphor independent of the collection region or season [15], [17], [18], [19], but in different proportions, that permitted classifying such oils in three different groups according to their high, intermediate or low proportion of linalool, which, in turn, were correlated to the Supra-, Meso- and Thermo-Mediterranean bioclimatic belts where the populations were located, respectively [20].

There is a publication with Portuguese and Spanish researchers [21] who describe the antioxidant activity and chemical composition of L. latifolia EO, but it is not clear what the origin of the sample was. Also, in this case, 1,8-cineole (7), linalool (9) and camphor (6) (Figure 5) were the major constituents of the EO. This sample was able to reverse the oxidation and improved the oxidative stability of soybean oil when submitted to microwave heating. More peer-reviewed publications concerning Portuguese L. latifolia EOs were not found, which may indicate the low distribution of this plant in the country.

Figure 5: Main compounds (>5%) present in at least one species EO of the genus Lavandula from Portugal. (1) Myrcene; (2) cis-β-ocimene; (3) carvacrol; (4) β-bisabolene; (5) fenchone; (6) camphor; (7) 1,8-cineole; (8) α-pinene; (9) linalool; (10) bornyl acetate; (11) eremophylene; (12) trans-α-necrodol; (13) trans-α-necroyl acetate; (14) lavandulyl acetate; (15) tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopenten-2-enone; (16) cis-necrodyl acetate; (17) β-selinene; (18) linalool oxide;(19) E-caryophyellene; (20) lavandulol; (21) selina-3,7(11)-diene; (22) camphene; (23) Δ3-carene; (24) myrtenol; (25) verbenone.
Figure 5:

Main compounds (>5%) present in at least one species EO of the genus Lavandula from Portugal. (1) Myrcene; (2) cis-β-ocimene; (3) carvacrol; (4) β-bisabolene; (5) fenchone; (6) camphor; (7) 1,8-cineole; (8) α-pinene; (9) linalool; (10) bornyl acetate; (11) eremophylene; (12) trans-α-necrodol; (13) trans-α-necroyl acetate; (14) lavandulyl acetate; (15) tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopenten-2-enone; (16) cis-necrodyl acetate; (17) β-selinene; (18) linalool oxide;(19) E-caryophyellene; (20) lavandulol; (21) selina-3,7(11)-diene; (22) camphene; (23) Δ3-carene; (24) myrtenol; (25) verbenone.

3 Lavandula multifida L.

Lavandula multifida (fern leaf lavender, Egyptian lavender) is a species of the section Pterostoechas occurring commonly along the Mediterranean coast (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Spain, Portugal). In Italy, the plant has been found in the hot and arid climatic conditions of Calabria and Sicily [22], [23], whereas in Tunisia the plant can be found in upper semi-arid bioclimates, particularly in open calcareous garrigues [24]; and in Morocco it also grows on calcareous soils and on the borders of rivers of temporary drainage, between 800 and 2000 m altitude [25]. In Portugal, L. multifida grows in the southern region (Sesimbra, Arrábida and Mértola) [23]. Generally, L. multifida populations are reduced and fragmented due to the human impact on its natural habitat [22]). Owing to this negative fact, Panuccio et al. [26] have developed germination strategies in order to preserve the genetic biodiversity of autochthon L. multifida plants.

Lavandula multifida is a semi-evergreen perennial shrub growing 30–100 cm tall, with triangular pinnatisect leaves and a flower spike composed of blue or purple flowers that can measure 10–12 mm [16], [27], [28], generally used in folk medicine in decoctions against rheumatism, colds and as a digestive [23].

Zuzarte et al. [23] studied two essential oils collected in two regions of Portugal (Sesimbra/Arrábida and Mértola) and both were predominantly constituted of carvacrol (3) and cis-β-ocimene (2) (Table 1). The relative high percentage of this compound was responsible for completely inhibiting filamentation in Candida albicans (Table 1). Both essential oils were able to prevent the growth of Candida strains, Cryptococcus neoformans, dermatophytes, and Aspergillus strains, but particularly, Cr. neoformans and dermatophyte (Table 1). The high amounts of carvacrol in Portuguese L. multifida EOs are in accordance to those reported from Moroccan [25], [48], and Algerian samples [49], nevertheless they must be considered different since cis-β-ocimene (2) also occurs in relatively high amounts, not observed for the Moroccan and Algerian samples. According to Khadir et al. [50] and Messaoud et al. [51], the EOs obtained from L. multifida collected in several places of Algeria or Tunisia, respectively, were predominantly constituted of carvacrol (3) and β-bisabolene (4). This profile was also previously reported by Chograni et al. [52] who found those compounds in samples collected in different places in Tunisia, however, in the same country, Msaada et al. [53] reported linalool-rich samples. Such results are in accordance with previous reports, such as [54] who considered that populations of L. multifida are not strictly grouped according bioclimates or geographic location.

Table 1:

Main compounds (>5%) of the essential oils of spontaneous species of the genus Lavandula from Portugal and their properties.

OriginPlant partCompoundsBiological propertiesReference
Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri
Sesimbra/Arrábida-MértolaAerial partsMyrcene (1)a (5.7–5.5)b, cis-β-ocimene (2) (27.4–27.0), carvacrol (3) (42.8–41.5), β-bisabolene (4) (5.6–5.0)The EO was effective against dermatophytes and Cr. neoformans, with MIC and MLC values of 0.16 μL/mL and 0.32 μL/mL, respectively. The EO completely inhibited filamentation in Ca. albicans at 0.08 μL/mL, with cis-β-ocimene being the main compound responsible for this inhibition (0.02 μL/mL). The mechanism of action of EO leads to cytoplasmic membrane disruption and cell death[24]
Lavandula pedunculata
Ludo, Faro (Algarve)Subsp. lusitanica: fenchone (5) (41.9), camphor (6) (34.6)Poorer antioxidant activity (DPPH scavenging activity and prevention of lipid peroxidation) than L. stoechas subsp. luisieri[29]
Gambelas, Faro (Algarve)Aerial partsSubsp. lusitanica: fenchone (5) (38.0), camphor (6) (40.6)The bioactive compounds of polar extracts (3-O-caffeoylquinic acid, 4-O-caffeoylquinic, 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid, rosmarinic acid, luteolin, apigenin) were more efficient free-radical scavengers (peroxyl and ABTS), Fe2+ chelators and inhibitors of malondialdehyde production than EO, while the EO was the most active against acetylcholinesterase[30]
Mirandela/Bragança and Guarda and CoimbraAerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (2.4–55.5%), fenchone (5) (1.3–59.7%), camphor (6) (3.6–48.0%)A significant antifungal activity of the oils was found against dermatophyte strains (E. floccosum FF9, T. mentagrophytes FF7, Microsporum canis FF1, T. rubrum CECT 2794 and M. gypseum CECT 2908), particularly the EO with the highest content of camphor with MIC and MLC values ranging from 0.32 to 0.64 μL/mL[31]
Plant A (1,8-cineole/camphor chemotype) was collected in Trás-os-Montes region

Plant B (fenchone chemotype) in Coimbra region
Aerial parts and in vitro plantletsSample A – Plantlet A

α-Pinene (8) (6.9–13.6), 1,8-cineole (7) (24.0–18.0), linalool (9) (5.2–8.3), camphor (6) (32.4–12.5), bornyl acetate (10) (0.1–10.4), eremophillene (11) (1.5–5.5)

Sample B-Plantlet B

α-Pinene (8) (4.8–10.2), 1,8-cineole (7) (2.4–7.1), fenchone (5) (48.7–49.7), camphor (6) (3.6–11.6)
Not determined[32]
Not reportedPlant – in vitro plantlet1,8-Cineole (7) (9.8–7.1), fenchone (5) (48.6–34.0), camphor (6) (14.1–7.2)Not determined[33]
Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri
Serra-do-Açor, near the village of PiodãoAerial partstrans-Necredol (12) (8.4), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (16.0), lavandulyl acetate (14) (6.1), 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopent-2-enone (15) (5.2)Inhibition of BACE-1, a key enzyme in the generation and deposition of neurotoxic β-amyloid peptide (Ab) in Alzheimer’s disease, particularly to the presence of the monoterpenic ketone 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopent-2-enone[34]

trans-α-Necrodyl acetate (13) (1.8–20.3), 1,8-cineole (7) (2.7–40.0), camphor (6) (8.2–20.8), lavandulyl acetate (14) (nd–7.2)

trans-α-Necrodyl acetate (13) (5.1–18.7), 1,8-cineole (7) (6.3–16.4), camphor (6) (1.1–42.9)
Escherichia coli (MIC: 22 mg/mL; MBC: 22 mg/mL);

Staphylococcus aureus (MIC: 22 mg/mL; MBC: 22 mg/mL);

Salmonella spp. (MIC: 22 mg/mL; MBC: 22 mg/mL)

E. coli (MIC: 22 mg/mL; MBC: 22 mg/mL); S. aureus (MIC: 11 mg/mL; MBC: 11 mg/mL);

Salmonella spp. (MIC: 22 mg/mL; MBC: 22 mg/mL)
ÉvoraLeaves1,8-Cineole (7) (18.8), trans-necrodyl acetate (13) (15.6), E-caryophyllene (19) (6.0), isoborneol (10.0), trans-necrodol (12) (10.1), lavandulol (20) (11.0)Bacterial isolates from mastitic sheep milk origin:

E. coli (MIC: 500 ->4000 μg/mL)

S. epidermidis (MIC: 1 000 –>4000 μg/mL)
Vila Velha Rodão


Casal da Fraga








Fenchone (5) (36.77), linalool (9) (6.25), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (10.27)

Fenchone (5) (19.16), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (19.38)

Fenchone (5) (12.99), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (22.84)

Linalool (9) (5.38), trans-α-necrodol (12) (11.51), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (48.22), sesquiterpene acetate C17H28O3 (5.57)

Camphor (6) (9.31), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (9.40)


2-cyclopenten-1-one (5.69) (15), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (8.92)

Camphor (6) (7.67), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (29.99), cis-α-necrodyl acetate (16) (7.69), β-selinene (17) (12.82)

Linalool oxide (18) (6.45), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (25.23), β-selinene (9.31)
1,8-Cineole and 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylen-2-cyclopenten-1-one exhibited a significant correlation with antifeedant effects against Spodoptera littoralis; 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylen-2-cyclopenten-1-one, camphor, bornyl acetate and 1,8-cineole against R. padi. When two compounds were used, the best results were found for R. padi using a combination of camphor and 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylen-2-cyclopenten-1-one[37]
Collection of plant extracts of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of CoimbraAerial partstrans-α-Necrodyl acetate (13) (19.0), trans-α-necrodol (12) (8.4), lavandulyl acetate (14) (6.1), 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylen-

cyclopenten-2-enone (5.2) (15)
The EO significantly reduced iNOS (inducible nitric oxide synthase) by 54.9 and 81.0%, respectively) and phosphorylated IκB-α by 87.4% and 62.3%, respectively, in primary human chondrocytes and the intestinal cell line, C2BBe1, stimulated with IL-1β or IFN-γ, IL-1β and TNF-α, respectively[38]
Piódão - Cabo de S. VicenteAerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (6.4-33.9), fenchone (5) (nd–18.2), linalool (9) (6.2–3.0), α-trans-necrodol (12) (7.1–4.5), trans-necrodyl acetate (13) (17.4–3.2), lavandulyl acetate (14) (7.6–2.2)For dermatophytes, MIC values ranged from 0.16 to 0.32 μL/mL for sample from Piódão and 0.32–0.64 μL/mL for sample from Cabo de S. Vicente. For Aspergillus strains, MIC values ranging from 0.32 to2.5 and 1.25–10 μL/mL, for samples from Piódão and Cabo de S. Vicente, respectivley. For Candida spp. and C. neoformans, the oils showed very similar activity with MIC ranging from 0.64 to 2.5 μL/mL, for both samples. Furthermore, MIC and MLC values were very similar for both samples, except for Aspergillus strains

In general, for concentrations as low as MIC/64 (0.01–0.02 μL/mL) for sample from Piódão and MIC/32 (0.02–0.04 μL/mL) for sample from Cabo de S. Vicente, more than 50% of germ tube formation were inhibited
Sagres (Algarve)Aerial partstrans-α-Necrodol (12) (8.4), 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylen-cyclopenten-2-enone (15) (5.2),trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (16.0), lavandulyl acetate (14) (6.1)T. rubrum (MIC: 200 - >400 μg/mL)

T. mentagrophytes (MIC: 200–400 μg/mL)

T. interdigitale (>400 μg/mL)

Positive interaction of EO with terbinafine against the terbinafine-resistant T. rubrum ATCC MYA-4438 in all fixed-ratio concentrations (synergistic activity between the drug and EO)
Beira AltaAerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (18.9), necrodane derivatives (36.0), lavandulyl acetate (14) (7.2)EO exhibited anti-Leishmania effects (IC50=31–263 μg/mL). At concentrations corresponding to IC50 values, EO-exposed Leishmania infantum promastigotes suffered marked ultrastructural modifications: presence of aberrant-shaped cells, mitochondrial and kinetoplast swelling, and autophagosomal structures. L. luisieri EO exerted its leishmanicidal activity through different mechanisms, but mainly through unleashing apoptosis[41]
Montenegro, Salir, Vila Real de S. António (Portugal)Aerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (25.7-34.3), fenchone (5) (0.2-6.6), trans-α-necrodol (12) (2.8-8.2), trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) (11.3-17.5), 2,3,5,5-tetramethyl-4-methylen-2-cyclopenten-1-one (15) (2.4-5.1)L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs namely those from Salir and Vila Real de S. António showed moderate antioxidant capacity, determined through the capacity for scavenging DPPH free radicals, since at 1000 mg/L the antioxidant index attained 57 and 40%, respectively, after 30 min

In thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay, the inhibition percentages were 66% and 69%, at 500 mg/L, for samples from Salir and Vila Real de S. António
ÉvoraAerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (18.80), trans-α-necrodyl-acetate (13) (16.16), E-caryophyllene (19) (6.00), trans-α-necrodol (12) (10.63), lavandulol (20) (11.68)High ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation and showed an effect against a wide spectrum of microorganisms, such as Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and pathogenic yeasts

The analgesic effect studied in rats was dose dependent, reaching a maximum of 67% at 60 min with the dose of 200 mg/kg. The anti-inflammatory activity with 200 mg/kg caused an inhibition in carrageenan-induced rat paw edema (83%), higher than dexamethasone 1 mg/kg (69%)
Casal da Fraga, Mata, Penamacor, Vila Velha de RódãoAerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (0-5), fenchone (5) (0-36.7), linalool (9) (0-6.2), camphor (6) (0-9.7), necrodol (0-11.4), trans-α-necrodyl-acetate (13) (0-49.9)Not determined[43]
Lavandula viridis
AlgarveAerial partsα-Pinene (8) (9.2), 1,8-cineole (7) (29.7), linalool (9) (9.0), camphor (6) (10.0), selina-3,7(11)-diene (21) (6.6)L. viridis EO displayed less activity against L. infantum (IC50/24 h=263 μg/mL) than L. luisieri EO[41]
Vale das Águas (Aljezur, Algarve)Aerial partsα-Pinene (8) (9.0), camphene (22) (7.7), 1,8-cineole (7) (33.3), camphor (6) (20.4)L. viridis EOs had lower antioxidant activity in all assays than L. luisieiri[29]
Barranco do Velho, Salir (Algarve)Aerial parts1,8-Cineole (7) (34.5-42.2), camphor (6) (13.4), α-pinene (8) (9.0), linalool (9) (6.7–7.9)Dermatophytes and Cr. neoformans were the most sensitive fungi (MIC and MLC values ranging from 0.32 to 0.64 μL/mL), followed by Candida species (at 0.64–2.5 μL/mL). For most of these strains, MICs were equivalent to MLCs, indicating a fungicidal effect of the essential oil. The oil was shown to completely inhibit filamentation in Candida albicans at concentrations below the respective MICs (as low as MIC/16). Flow cytometry suggested a mechanism of action leading to cytoplasmic membrane disruption and cell death[44]
S. Bartolomeu de Messines (Algarve)Aerial parts, in vitro shoot cultures, and micropropagatedα-Pinene (8) (8.8-14.4), Δ3-carene (23) (0.1-6.5), 1,8-cineole (7) (18.2–25.1), linalool (9) (traces-5.3), camphor (6) (9.1–15.7)Not determined[45]
S. Bartolomeu de Messines (Algarve)In vitro shoot cultures and micropropagated plantsHeadspace solid phase micro-extraction:

α-Pinene (8) (0.3–8.3), camphene (22) (0.1–5.0), 1,8-cineole (51.9–74.0), camphor (6) (2.9–15.3), selina-3,7(11)-diene (21) (nd–6.7)
Not determined[46]
S. Bartolomeu de Messines (Algarve)Aerial partsHydrodistillation:

1,8-Cineole (7) (21.31)

Supercritical fluid extraction:

1,8-cineole (7) (nd–7.81), cis-linalool oxide (nd-10.49), trans-linalool oxide (nd-13.17), camphor (6) (1.61–22.48), epoxy-linalool (nd–6.80), myrtenol (24) (nd–5.38), verbenone (25) (0.84–13.97)
The EO had higher capacity for scavenging acetylcholinesterase activity (411.33 μg/mL) than the extracts obtained by supercritical fluid extraction. All extracts obtained by this procedure had worse capacity for scavenging peroxyl and DPPH free radicals than the EO (468.85 μmol trolox equivalent/g and 56.03%, respectively)[47]
  1. INF-γ, interferon-γ; IL-1β, interleukin-1β; IC50, half maximal inhibitory concentration; MBC, minimum bactericidal concentration; MIC, minimum inhibitory concentration; MLC, minimum lethal concentration; TNF-α, tumor necrosis factor-α. a(number of the chemical structure); b(percentage of the compound in the EO).

4 Lavandula pedunculata (Miller) Cav.

Lavandula pedunculata is an aromatic shrub that can reach up to 70 cm in height that presents long-stalked spikes that can reach to 24 cm. The ovoid or subcylindrical shape of spikes measure 10–35×8–17 mm and are constituted of 6–8 mm lilac flowers [16], [55]. This species is native to the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa and Turkey [32], [56], [57]. In Portugal, Franco [16] considered three subspecies for L. pedunculata: subsp. pedunculata in northwest Portugal, subsp. sampaiana in north and central Portugal and subsp. lusitanica in central and south Portugal. In Portuguese folk medicine, the infusion of the flowered parts L. pedunculata was used for anxiety, insomnia, anorexia, coughs, bronchitis and as a tonic; and in Madeira and the Porto Santo Islands (Portugal), the whole plant had the same applications, and the smoke produced by burning the leaves was also used for treating apoplexy, for long-term use [58], [59].

In spite of the presence of L. pedunculata in subsp. sampaiana in north and central Portugal, its chemical composition had not been evaluated as far as we know, only in Spain was it found as a doctoral thesis [60] in which it was reported that Spanish L. pedunculata in subsp. sampaiana EOs were predominantly made up of camphor (4.3–84.4%).

Lavandula pedunculata subsp. lusitanica EOs were predominantly made up of fenchone and camphor, according to the works developed by two Portuguese research teams [29], [30]. For L. pedunculata subsp. pedunculata EOs, the presence of fenchone at relatively high concentrations along with 1,8-cineole (7) and camphor (6) was a common trace element with the exception of one type in which 1,8-cineole (7) and camphor (6) were the major compounds of the EOs (Table 1). As Zuzarte et al. [32] considered that plant micropropagation was able to guarantee a large-scale production in controlled conditions, in a short period of time, without negative impacts on habitats, they developed techniques of in vitro propagation of L. pedunculata and determined the chemical composition of plantlet EOs and compared them to those of the parent plants. The authors concluded that in vitro axillary shoot proliferation was a rapid method for the multiplication of this species without loss of EO characteristics (Table 1).

The antioxidant activity of L. pedunculata subsp. lusitanica EOs was poorer than other Lavandula EOs from Portugal, independent of the method used, according to the study developed by Matos et al. [29]. Similar results were observed by Costa et al. [30] who reported that polar compounds present in L. pedunculata subsp. lusitanica extracts were more efficient as antioxidants than the EOs, nevertheless they were less active as anti-acetylcholinesterase (Table 1). Ferreira et al. [59] also reported that L. pedunculata EOs, at 0.5 and 1 mg/mL were more active for inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity than the ethanolic extracts, nevertheless decoctions at 5 mg/mL had better anti-acetylcholinesterase activity than the EOs. Alcoholic extracts and decoctions were always better antioxidants than EOs [59]. The antifungal activity of L. pedunculata subsp. pedunculata EOs was evaluated and they were more active against dermatophyte strains (Epidermophyton floccosum FF9, Trichophyton mentagrophytes FF7, Microsporum canis FF1, Trichophyton rubrum CECT 2794 and Microsporum gypseum CECT 2908), particularly those with the highest percentage of camphor (Table 1). The antimycotic activity was also performed by Baptista et al. [61] who tested 12 fungi belonging to the Basidiomycota and Ascomycota divisions, and the authors found that L. pedunculata EOs had better activity against three fungi (Candida guillermondii, Cr. neoformans and Rhodotorula rubra), along with hexane extracts.

5 Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri (Rozeira) Rozeira

Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri is a perennial shrub that can reach up to 60 cm tall with short-stalked spikes (0–3 cm), made up of small lilac flowers, involving a dense indumentum composed of several types of secretory hairs. The narrow and oblong-lanceolate leaves are opposite with different sizes and of gray colour [61]. In Portugal and in folk medicine, the aerial parts or flower head of L. stoechas subsp. luisieri have been described for the treatment of blood circulation, heart-burn, seasickness, as a nasal decongestant and as an anti-dermatosic [62].

EOs of L. stoechas subsp. luisieri have been reported as being mainly made up of necrodane derivatives, particularly trans-α-necrodyl acetate in relative amounts, and trans-necrodol, although in a very few cases, this compound has not been detected (Table 1). The presence of these irregular monoterpenoids in relative high amounts in L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs has been described as being characteristic of the Portuguese species whereas 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopent-2-enone (15) is characteristic of the Spanish L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs [63]. Lavandulyl acetate (14) and fenchone (5), camphor (6), 1,8-cineole (7) and linalool (9) are other compounds that regularly appear in the Portuguese L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs (Table 1). In samples from the Algarve, the presence of trans-α-necrodyl acetate (13) was in concentrations higher than 5%, nevertheless it was not the major compound in the EO, in this case, 1,8-cineole (7) predominated in the L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs, in contrast to the remaining samples from Northern Portugal (Table 1). 2,3,4,4-Tetramethyl-5-methylene-cyclopent-2-enone (15) has also been reported in several samples with percentages higher than 5%, in one work it was described as being able to inhibit BACE-1, a key enzyme in the generation and deposition of neurotoxic β-amyloid peptide (Ab) in Alzheimer’s disease [34]. González-Coloma et al. reported that L. luisieri had antifeedant effects against Spodoptera littoralis and Rhopalosiphum padi along with camphor (6), bornyl acetate (10) and 1,8-cineole [37] (Table 1).

Antibacterial (Gram-negative and Gram-positive), anti-fungal (particularly dermatophytes), anti-Leishmania, antioxidant (prevention of lipid peroxidation, capacity for scavenging free radicals), anti-inflammatory [reduction of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and phosphorylated IκB-α; in vivo assays caused an inhibition in carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema] activities have been detected in L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs from Portugal (Table 1). With very few exceptions, the authors did not relate the activities found with the components of the EOs.

6 Lavandula viridis L’Her.

According to Franco [16], L. viridis is a xerophytic aromatic shrub which can reach up to 40 cm tall, with ovoid-cylindrical spikes made up of white flowers that can measure between 6 and 8 mm. This aromatic species is endemic to the southwest Iberian Peninsula (degraded soils of Alentejo and Algarve), Madeira and the Azores Islands [29], [45], [64]. In folk medicine and in Portugal, infusions of L. viridis have been used in the treatment of flu, headaches and for circulatory disturbances, whereas EOs were used as sedative and analgesics [65].

The predominant volatile compound present in L. viridis EO from Portugal was 1,8-cineole (7), independent on the region where the plants had been collected (Table 1) if the extraction method had been hydrodistillation. In the case of supercritical fluid extraction, the main constituent was camphor (Table 1). Camphor (6) was always the second most important compound in the EOs samples obtained by hydrodistillation, with the concentration ranging from 10 to 20.4%, whereas the percentages of 1,8-cineole (7) ranged from18.2 to 74.0% (Table 1). In the sample obtained by supercritical fluid extraction, the most important compounds observed in the volatile sample were camphor (6) (1.61–22.48) and verbenone (25) (0.84–13.97%) (Table 1). The microprogation of L. viridis was performed and in vitro shoot cultures and microprogated plants have also been a target of study [46], [64]. In shoot cultures, authors [64] reported that 1,8-cineole (7) and α-pinene (8) were the most important compounds. Camphor (6) was the third most important volatile compound in the in vitro shoots EOs.

When antioxidant and anti-protozoal activities of L. viridis EOs were compared to those of L. luisieri, it was verified that they were less active (Table 1). When different extraction methods were used for obtaining the volatile fractions and EOs, Costa et al. [47] verified that hydrodistillation was the best method for obtaining samples with higher antioxidant and anti-acetylcholinesterase activities than the volatile samples obtained by supercritical fluid extraction (7). In vitro anti-fungal activities of L. stoechas subsp. luisieri EOs were also studied, and they were active against Cryptococcus neoformans, and the dermatophytes (Trichophyton verrucosum CECT 2992, T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale CECT 2958, T. rubrum CECT 2794 and Microsporum gypseum CECT 2908) [44].


The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT; Portugal, under the project the Project UIDB/05183/2020.

  1. Funder Name: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Funder Id:, Grant Number: UIDB/05183/2020.

  2. Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Received: 2020-03-01
Revised: 2020-04-20
Accepted: 2020-04-24
Published Online: 2020-05-10
Published in Print: 2020-07-28

©2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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