Houttuynia THUNB. (Saururaceae) has been used for dozens of years in China for the treatment of cough, leucorrhea and ureteritis. The essential oils from the two species: Houttuynia emeiensis and Houttuynia cordata sold in China under one trade name ‘Yuxingcao’, obtained by hydrodistillation, were analyzed by GC-MS. The results show that fifty-five components were identified and methyl nonyl ketone (2.10—40.36%), bornyl acetate (0.4—8.61%) and β-myrcene (2.58—18.47%) were the most abundant components in oil, but the percentage of most of compounds in different species and parts varied greatly. The two fold broth dilution and agar dilution method were used to study essential oil of two Houttuynia THUNB. species for their antibacterial properties against microorganisms, Staphylococcus aureus and Sarcina ureae. The two fold dilution method was allowed to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of essential oil from different parts and species. Results showed that all essential oils possessed antibacterial effect, with MIC values in the range of 0.0625×10−3 to 4.0×10−3 ml/ml. However, essential oil from different parts and species differed clearly in their antibacterial activities. The essential oil from the aboveground part of the cultivated Houttuynia emeiensis exhibited higher activity than both parts of the wild and cultivated Houttuynia cordata when used on Staphylococcus aureus (MIC=0.25×10−3 ml/ml) and Sarcina ureae (MIC=0.0625×10−3 ml/ml), and had the same activity as the positive control ampicillin sodium.
2006 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan