Propionibacterium acnes play an important role in the pathogenesis of acne by inducing certain inflammatory mediators and comedogenesis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of herbal extracts against P. acnes. Among the ten tested herbs, methanolic extracts of rose (Rosa damascene), duzhong (Eucommia ulmoides Oliv.), and yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) were found to inhibit the growth of P. acnes with respective minimum inhibitory concentrations of 2, 0.5, and 1 mg/ml. In addition, duzhong and yerba mate extracts reduced the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-8, and IL-1β by human monocytic THP-1 cells pretreated with heat-killed P. acnes at a concentration of 0.1 mg/ml. Our results suggested that duzhong and yerba mate extracts possess both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects against P. acnes and can possibly be used as therapeutic agents for acne.
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