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Leishmanicidal activity of α-bisabolol from Tunisian chamomile essential oil

Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease caused by several species of obligating intramacrophage protozoan parasite (Herwaldt 1999; Shirian et al. 2013). Currently, more than 20 species of Leishmania are known to be infectious to humans and are transmitted by the bite of infected phlebotome sand flies. Three types of leishmaniasis have been reported: visceral leishmaniasis (VL), often called kala azar, cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2004). CL is the most common form and present a spectrum of clinical manifestations ranging from small skin nodules to massive destruction of the mucous tissues (Handler et al. 2015; López-Arencibia et al. 2015), while VL is the most severe form because parasites migrate to vital organs. It is characterized by prolonged fever, splenomegaly, hypergamma globulinemia,and pancytopenia (Boelaert et al. 2000; Desjeux 1996; Peters et al. 1990).

Leishmaniasis is considered by the World Health Organization as a major neglected tropical disease causing morbidity throughout the world (WHO 2013). Leishmania is endemic in large areas of the tropics, subtropics, and the Mediterranean basin (Herwaldt 1999) and affects mostly the poorest people on earth (Boelaert et al. 2009). It is associated with malnutrition, displacement of the population, poor housing, weak immune systems, and lack of financial resources (Bashaye et al. 2009).